How it all began...
My career in fashion started off as a couture designer, making clothes for many high-profile celebrities and performers.I love my work, but like most jobs, it can be demanding and stressful. To blow off steam and clear my head, I looked to exercise as my outlet.
I had always been an active person, but it wasn’t until a close friend who was a regular outdoor swimmer one day invited me to join her for an evening dip, that I fell in love with the sport.
The immediate rush of endorphins you feel as the cold embraces your body is like no other. You are overcome with a euphoric sensation as your muscles contract and your body begins to adapt. There's only you and the water's powerful embrace. Time stands still. Your head becomes clear. I was hooked.
Open-water swimming has an electric community of passionate people with a common goal. One day, someone suggested a charity swim, but our group needed a visual identity to enter. Being in the industry for over 20 years making couture dresses, I knew I was the person to make that happen.
I knew the difference between standard and couture-quality fabrics. There’s no comparison. When I make couture, I focus on what I’m making, how the design can flatter the body, and how it feels to wear it. I had worked with so many body shapes in couture that I knew how to use fabric, design, cut, and colour to flatter. And I don’t compromise. With that, the five of us, men and women, were all dressed in brightly coloured, never-before-seen rainbow stripes. We looked fantastic, and Alida Herbst swimwear was realised.
This philosophy is what I carry over to my swimwear range. Swimwear must be colourful and beautiful, but also elegant. The high street has colour in abundance but no style. Swimwear should give you confidence. The desire to get out of the water and swagger to the changing room feeling great about yourself.
I have crafted these designs to flatter the body. I make sure there’s enough side coverage for the breast, while at the same time making sure that the seam is not so high under the arm that it chaffs the endurance swimmer. The bum is covered too, with the sides extending towards the back to keep any bumpy bits under wraps and elongate the back.
The fabric keeps you warmer without the need for neoprene. With a lot of stretch and recovery, the swimsuit is easy to get off quickly, whether we’re competing or are simply cold. The fabric allows for stretch, smoothing out wrinkles and curvy tummies to create support. Zip guards provide comfort and prevent chafing. Kiss goodbye to scratchy zips, seams, or linings.
Durability is important, which is why these suits will never lose elasticity or fade. I’m still swimming in the suit I made in 2015, and today it has the same amount of stretch as it did then. How many high street suits would you normally have bought over the past 7 years?
These suits have changed my life, and I’m sure they will do the same for you. Here’s to many years of thrilling swimming for us all!