As the "fatkini" movement has taken over social media in the last three years, it's no surprise that—in addition to mainstream brands like ASOS, Forever 21, and Target expanding their swimwear collections to include plus-size women—there are more and more independent swimwear brands popping up. Many of these have been created by plus-size women themselves, who are frustrated with the unstylish options they've been offered in the past.
There's a societal misconception when it comes to swimwear: It's assumed that a full-figured woman with curves would want to cover them up and look as slim as possible. Like fashion blogger Gabi Gregg, these six designers beg to differ by introducing sexy, curve-flaunting swimwear to the plus-size market.
Earlier this year, Ashley Graham graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in a purple and orange bikini. She was the first plus-size model to do so, making plus-size women everywhere feel represented, recognized, and confident. This week, she launched her own swimwear collection in her first collaboration with Swimsuits for All. Graham's swimwear collection is full of the same trends you would see in the straight-size swimwear department—cutouts, mesh, body chains, halter lace-up one-pieces. She told Glamour: "Just because I'm a size 14/16 doesn't mean that I don't want to look like my girlfriends who are size 4s."
There's no way you can talk about swimwear for full-figured women and not mention Monif C. Monif Clarke introduced her brand a decade ago, and she was one of the first people to introduce the "fatkini" six years ago after growing frustrated that she couldn't find fashionable options in her size. Her swimwear collections are full of bright colors, mesh, cut-outs, florals, prints, and embellishments, with an emphasis on feeling sexy and feminine and showing off your figure.
With a swimwear collection called "Swim Thick," it's clear that Diva Kurves designer and plus-size model Francie Maupin is all about celebrating yours. The collection is full of sexy one-pieces that accentuate every single one of your womanly curves in the best way, from a neon high-cut Baywatch-inspired one that could double as a bodysuit under jeans to fiery red and animal-print monokinis. And if the measurements (sizes range from XL-3X) don't quite work for your figure, custom orders are an option.
With the tagline "Death to The Mumu," this size-inclusive label is against hiding your curves or wearing what other people think you should be wearing. Courtney Noelle doesn't have a huge swimsuit selection, but the metallic one-piece that comes in four different colors (pink, gold, red, black) and airy dresses perfect for a beach getaway earn the brand a place on this list. Plus, she exclusively features curvy women of color modeling her designs and has no problem clapping back at body shamers on social media.
This African-inspired clothing line was founded in 2009 and has been worn by everyone from Erykah Badu to Jazmine Sullivan to Danielle Brooks. In 2012, the designer Tennille McMillan introduced her swimwear collection full of brightly colored playful designs with nods to African indigenous culture like tribal prints and a Cowrie shell one-piece swimsuit.
Founded in 2011, the Harlem-based clothing and swimwear label was created to be the "home of confidence and curves." Rue107 delivers, with sizes ranging from 2-24 and standout, trendy designs that are guaranteed to turn heads. The Haitian designer, Marie Jean-Baptiste, found inspiration in her Caribbean roots for both the name of her women’s clothing line and its lively, brightly colored designs. In her swimwear collection, you can find everything from a neon fuchsia bikini top with a zipper detail to lemon-covered high-waisted bikini bottoms that would make Beyoncé proud.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.