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For Genuinely Inclusive Swimwear, “Riot Swim Is the Blueprint”

For Genuinely Inclusive Swimwear, “Riot Swim Is the Blueprint” Image
  • Posted on 02nd Aug, 2022 17:17 PM

Founder Monti Landers on building the community-first brand and her label's newest collection.

To Riot Swim founder Monti Landers, the key to "having it all" is keeping your priorities in check. As a mom of two, a wife, and an entrepreneur—in that order, per Landers—the buzzy swimwear designer tells BAZAAR.com her straightforward approach to a well-balanced life is actually quite refreshing in a society where "hustle culture" runs rampant. "You have to know how to separate [everything]," Landers explains. "I always say, 'Find what's most important to you, put that first, and you'll always win.'" With the quick-burn success of her brand as proof, she's clearly doing something right.

Founded in 2016, Riot Swim is named for the Houston native's rebellious spirit. And though the brand's core DNA is rooted in customers looking and feeling their best regardless of societal standards, Riot Swim is ultimately about representation. The brand is revered for its expansive size and fit chart. Above that, it takes pride in not only an inclusive product offering, but showcasing and celebrating all body types in its imagery. No matter who the Riot Swim girl is, she feels seen on the brand's website and its runway.

Jason Koerner

Landers and I have followed each other on social media for a few years, but we hadn't met in real life until last month, when we were chatting backstage before the designer's first runway show during Paraiso Miami Swim Week. But in a way, keeping up with the designer via Instagram sometimes feels like you know her personally. According to Landers, that's absolutely intentional.

In fact, she cites her engagement on social media as one of the reasons why Riot Swim remains so appealing to its audience. "I've always tried to take a hands-on approach," she says. "We are a community-based brand, so I just make sure that I include them on every single part of the process. When it comes to the samples, I'm posting like, 'Hey, what do you guys think about this?' Or, 'What do you want to see next?' And it makes them feel like it's also their brand."

In terms of Riot Swim's actual collections, each swim (and athleisure) style is made from a flexible technical material that's designed to contour to your shape, while simultaneously offering support and comfort. Those looking to get maximum wear out of their Riot Swim pieces can take them beyond the beach. One-pieces, like everyone's favorite Echo style, double as bodysuits; bikini tops moonlight as bralettes under blazers and other light layers.

Riot Swim

Finding inspiration in styles from the '90s, some of the brand's most popular creations include super-high-cut bottoms to lengthen the leg, and thongs, which have led to the rise of the hashtag #RelaxItsJustAss—a movement calling on everyone to embrace their backsides.

As for the latest runway collection, dedicated Riot Swim fans can expect a lot of the same silhouettes with a few twists. There are string-detailed tankinis and one-pieces, along with a selection of mesh styles to align with swim's current penchant for all things semi-sheer. But for Landers, new designs are about identifying what Riot Swim does best and figuring out ways to make it even better. "Riot Swim is the blueprint," she says. "And I think that's what people really love about us. We're not here to follow any trends; we set them."

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