Summertime means sunshine and pool weather, but for many women for the thought of wearing a swimsuit is terrifying and frustrating.
Arizona mother and civil engineer Lensa Kitilla suffered from back acne, also called bacne, as a teenager, which left scars. Her scars led to a feeling of embarrassment when it came to wearing traditional swimwear styles that offered little to no coverage over large parts of the body, especially the upper back. After years of looking to find stylish swimwear that also covered her back, Kitilla decided to design one herself.
Kitilla, who has no fashion design background, created swimsuit designs on engineering software. She then took her designs to a local seamstress for production. After receiving compliments and being asked where she got her swimsuit, Kitilla realized there were other women like her who desire stylish and fashionable swimwear with back coverage.
“It’s more of a personal journey and I know it’s not just me,” she said.
Kitilla is launching her swimwear line, KennaSwims, “to target a market that wants coverage to their upper back area and still be stylish.” Kitilla’s unique designs cover-up scars, blemishes, and tattoos that would otherwise be exposed by traditional swimwear designs.
As a mom, Kitilla wanted to create a brand that is modest but remains fashionable and sexy.
“Today, people show too much skin,” she said, adding that she wanted to create swimwear that could be an alternative for teenagers and women. Her designs make use of sheer fabrics, which allude to showing skin, while still remaining covered. She wants her brand to make modesty fun.
Kitilla’s goal is to create a lasting brand that provides an alternative to the conventional swimwear and addresses a need for many women who do not feel comfortable wearing the commonly available swimwear styles. To reach her goal, KennaSwims is currently being funded on crowd-funding site Kickstarter through June 23. Kitilla is still looking for more backers to reach her goal of $15,000. On Kickstarter, people can pledge to back KennaSwims starting at $1. Depending on how much someone pledges, backers get a reward, such as a swimsuit. Kitilla plans on expanding production and keep the manufacturing of the swimwear in the United States.