Swim with Melisa Denizeri

How a swim wear designer uses Econyl fabrics, made out of recycled yarns to create classic, minimalist  swimwear that have the essence of her culture and personality and a super comfy fit. The Istanbul raised designer lives now in New York where she has found her own swimwear line. We had a chat with Melizsa Denizeri

The designer Melisa Denizeri, picture by © Olgac Bozalp


IRMA: You have spend your childhood in Turkey and your summers around the Aegean sea, studied fashion at Parsons School of Design in NYC, started a shoe collection and had a fairy tale wedding in Istanbul covered by Vogue. Tell us how you started DENIZERI swimwear, your latest venture?
MELISA DENIZERI: Thank you so much! I have been longing to connect my culture/upbringing with the work that I create today. Growing up I had a special interest in collecting swimwear and was quite particular about the pieces. They needed to offer comfort but also be fun and effervescent. As I was continuing to work with other brands, I started researching concepts and development for my collection for about 2 years trying to find the right fabrics and make the connections with factories that seemed to be the right fit. I wanted to work on something that brought me joy but also shared more than just design but an essence of culture and personality.

IRMA: Why Swim wear and what is your concept about colors and materials?
MELISA DENIZERI: I have been passionate about this category as I was brought up sailing in the summers in the South of Turkey. My dad would take my mother, sister and me on a sailboat for about a week- we would be in our swimsuits all day, in an out of the water. We would all participate in the sailing- I would drop the anchors and my sister would tie the ropes. So it was quite active. The colors of my childhood are incredibly vibrant, so I wanted to bring that into the collection. Regarding materials they needed to be resilient to active travel and high quality and long lasting. I also sourced Econyl fabrics which are spun from recycled yarn- however recycled fabrics cannot be recycled once again so my message is to pass these pieces along generations. From mothers to daughters to cousins and so on…

IRMA: How about vintage and memories from the past?
My memories from our trips play a significant part in my collection. I started designing my pieces imagining the pieces my mother wore when I was young. More so than vintage, I play with memory and take it from there.


IRMA: You once said: “Turkish women are always swimming or dining or sailing; It’s a very mobile and movement-based lifestyle of leisure.’ Is that why your swimwear is the most comfortable to wear this summer? 
MELISA DENIZERI: I hope so 🙂 That is my goal. I always picture my aunt in our summer timeshare, lounging by the pool and then going up to her kitchen to cook dinner, cigarette in hand, still wearing her swimsuit. I really try to work on comfort first.

IRMA: We love your sportive style, a lifeguard-inspired maillot made from SPF 50+–equipped Italian fabric. How would you style this piece for lunch at the board de la mer ?
MELISA DENIZERI: Thank you so much! I actually rotate the Ege Bikini top as a bikini but also a Sports Bra- you can wear it playing tennis outside or do some Yoga. I often pull up some comfortable shorts while I am having lunch, or a long gauze button down shirt.


IRMA: Any plans this summer?
MELISA DENIZERI: I did have plans this summer however they are currently on hold due to what is happening right now. I will be going to Turkey in August to sail with my family and hopefully a Yoga Retreat with Love Yoga in Portugal.


IRMA: A hidden spot, a favorite beach club in Turkey?
MELISA DENIZERI: I love Bozburun Yacht Club, the sea is incredible and the food is delicious. It is a quiet hotel – I hope it stays that way 🙂


IRMA: Women always struggle with their body image- especially swimwear is a real challenge for most women. You show models of all kinds of shapes and size in your look book. Is there a massage you would like to communicate?
MELISA DENIZERI: First of all, women should not feel alone in this struggle. I find that can be a healthy way to start. That women of all sizes tend to fixate on how they look. Having more open conversations about this, and moving away from a single body ideal and expanding representation is important. And I think the industry has come a long way. Moving away from how you look to how you feel and circulating the thought pattern from there, has been important for myself.


IRMA: Are you planning a more beach lounge wear collection? Thinking of kaftans light beach shirts?
MELISA DENIZERI: I would love to start with functional accessories! Hats, pouches and bags and perhaps small capsule around essentials. But for now, I am focusing on perfecting the swim collection.