While there’s an almost overwhelming selection of swimwear available, the search for the perfect suit often ends in lukewarm feelings. Sydney-based Postcard Swimwear offers a different kind of service: custom pieces that are designed using artwork and photography submitted by customers. “My whole philosophy behind Postcard Swimwear has been, ‘create the things you wish existed,’” Ashlee Cam, the one-woman show behind Postcard, tells CH. And with her new venture, Cam is making that dream come true. “Now everyone can be a fashion designer!” she says.
After picking from three swimsuit options, customers upload high-resolution artwork or photography, positioning it as desired using Postcard’s interactive design tool. It’s a highly flexible process; customers can even use different images on the top, bottom, front and back. Then, the design is sent off to an Australian-based printing team that prints the artwork onto the fabric before it’s taken to Postcard’s factory down the road and turned it into swimwear. Cam is committed to supporting local industry, making Postcard as unique in ethic as it is in design. “Our fabric supplier is based in Sydney, Australia,” Cam explains. “We even got our tags and packaging printed locally. I love to support Australian industry and know I can always trust the quality.”
CH teamed up with NYC-based artist Peter Gerakaris to put Postcard to the test—and the results were smashing. While Gerakaris is an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans across mediums, he has never designed directly for fashion, making this a new experiment. Using one of his pre-existing works, “Rappstraction Remix” (2015), Gerakaris used the design tool to properly configure the design on a one-piece suit. “When approaching this, I had to ask myself, ‘How do I maintain aesthetic and thematic quality when I’m relying on others to translate my artwork into a new, wearable medium—from a painting to a bathing suit?’” Gerakaris says. “In this case, collaborating with [Postcard] enabled me to reach outside my comfort zone and produce something I could never do alone.” Gerakaris recently created Tropicália, an immersive, mixed-media 1,000 ft mural for the Cornell Tech groundbreaking on Roosevelt Island—which also served as a well-suited backdrop to capture the Postcard-Gerakaris collaboration.
Cam envisions regular collaborations with artists as Postcard grows, saying that she wants to “push the boundaries” with those who have never had their work printed on clothing before. “I want to change the way their art is viewed by the world,” she says. “We bring it to life as a wearable object rather than being constrained to a wall, a magazine or a screen.” Gerakaris agrees: “I also love the idea of the human body as a canvas or ‘site’ on which artistic transformation happens.”
“Behind the scenes, I’m the only full time employee, but I have fortunately been able to surround myself with an amazing mix of artists, photographers, designers, pattern makers, printers and a dedicated manufacturing team,” says Cam. But in the end, she says that Postcard couldn’t exist without its customers, who she says bring the whole concept to life. “I get so excited every time I see a customer’s unique design,” says Cam. “Each creation tells an incredible story, celebrates someone’s talent, or captures a beautiful memory.”
Design your own Postcard Swimwear ($150-$180) online, or check out Postcard’s made-to-ship artist collaborations. For even more DIY swimwear options, we also recommend checking out Print All Over Me’s services and artist-designed one pieces.
Images courtesy of Mark Lennihan