by Felicity Carter

Minimalism at its best, Series the Label is the new swimwear label you should be wearing. Founded only last year by New Yorker Marina Malafis, she focuses on the four pillars of her brand: quality, style, fit and consistency to produce a line of swim pieces that are both classic and contemporary. The collection is designed, developed and made in New York, it would only seem right then that the color palette consists only of black, playing to the timeless nature of the pieces and of course, its cool confidence.

Tell us about Series the Label... 

The name was inspired by the definition of the word “ series”, which is defined as "a number of things of related nature or same class, coming one after another". Similar to our brand message which is to create a line of swimwear that its core value will reflect quality, style, fit and consistency. The brand is based in New York, where all the designs are created, developed and manufactured. I love New York, and I wanted our brand to reflect the energy and vibe of this city. Black is somewhat of an iconic color here and what better way to represent that with the debut SS18 Collection all in black.

I have always been a big fan of fashion, but I was never the type to follow the trends. I would invest in key statement pieces that I could wear season after season. However, when it came to swimwear, finding a great quality suit that not only fit well but also had a sense of style was not always easy to come across. Especially in black. Swimsuits were either very minimal in design and lacked structure and support (especially for a mom of two active little boys!), were loud in print/color or over-designed and too complicated to wear. I would always find myself buying just a random solid style season after season. I had a drawer full of semi-decent suits that were just there.

I studied fashion design in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology out of high school. Designing has always been my passion, even as a young girl. Now, almost 20 years later, a mom and wife, life is different, but I thought I could do this, even at this time in my life, it's never too late.

Why swimwear?

I may be a New Yorker, but I’m also Greek and summers on the Mediterranean were part of growing up. Designing swimwear was just not only out of pure necessity for me but also a natural choice. I remember while trying to find a suit for a summer vacation, I came across a brand that was selling neoprene bathing suits. The fit was great, and the thickness of the neoprene really smoothed out the silhouette, but once I got on the beach with my kids, I started to sweat! I couldn’t wait to get it off. I thought, there has to be a fabric out there that is breathable and comfortable to wear, but has the same bonded fit and feel! Most important be functional for days in the sun. So I started sourcing fabrics, visiting trade shows, researching factories, until I came across the fabric we are using now. The bonded material we found from Italy really checked off all those boxes. It really creates a feeling of empowerment when on, as it just sculpts and smooths out the silhouette. Yet, its functional to wear in and out of the water. It also has extra comfort, won’t pill, dries quickly, has UV protection, resistant to salt and chlorinated water and most important, travels well as the fabric does not wrinkle. I started to sketch a few key styles, found a pattern maker and factory to make a few samples for me to test and from that moment on, a collection was evolving. The label was born.

How would you sum up its aesthetic?

I would say that the line has an understated design approach, is bold and structured, yet has a subtle sensuality that is very empowering. The pieces are also easy to wear. The two pieces are sold separately, which I feel is very important as all bodies are different and it lets our customer decide what top would work best with what bottom for them.

Who is your customer?

She’s timeless and possesses an effortless style. She’s a jet-setter and can take her STL black swimsuit anywhere she travels, regardless of destination, she works it into her resort wear. She doesn’t follow trends, yet understands and appreciates quality and craftsmanship. She is smart, confident, sexy, feminine and knows what looks best on her.

Which is your favorite piece from the line?

I have to say that I love them all, but I especially love the Gramercy Maillot. It has an incredible fit, covers the right spots and has the perfect plunge in the front. The wider straps create a really elegant look and the fact that the material of our suits is matte bonded, it doubles as a bodysuit for evenings out. It doesn’t look like you are wearing a swimsuit to dinner.

What’s your five-year plan? How do you see it evolving?

I really want to focus on building the debut collection and adding one or two new styles every season. These are our core suits, and I don’t plan on eliminating them. We’ve had a demand already for our suits in white, so we plan on introducing white for High Summer.

Currently, I'm sourcing really beautiful soft cottons, silk, and linens to develop a collection of kaftans and coverups, which I hope to introduce for Resort ’19.

In five years? I hope that Series the Label builds a global presence in the market. Ultimately, I would love for it to evolve into a brand that offers more than just swimwear but all things related to destination wear, including sandals. But for now, baby steps.

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