Sexy, colourful wetsuits. What girl doesn’t want to look unique and special in the surf? These stunning wetsuits from Sirensong in Hawaii are hand painted and created for the adventurous women who appreciates beautiful things. At Still Stoked we celebrate challenging the status-quo and actively support brave women doing great things (like Danielle’s surf legging brand, Salt Gypsy or Kendal’s smoking hot surf bikinis, KOKOH bikini). Jamie and Mikeala are doing just that, pushing the boundaries of surf fashion and function. They started Sirensong wetsuits to give the standard female surf wetsuit a facelift. They wanted to make sure a wetsuit could be something that you actually looked forward to wearing… “She wore it because she wanted to.”
If you love these sexy and colourful wetsuits as much as we do, get yourself 10% off any order on their website with the STOKED10 code just for Still Stoked readers. Thank you so much for hooking Still Stoked up girls!
Tell us about your range of wetsuits and what makes them so unique?
First off…Aloha! Thanks so much for reaching out! Yes, Sirensong is all about bringing femininity and style functional water-wear! Most women don’t associate wetsuits with fashion or looking good – in the past, a wetsuit was always something I begrudgingly put on, purely out of necessity and function. I relished summertime surfing when it was warm enough to wear only a bikini, and spent the rest of the year either fighting the cold or struggling with wetsuits that never quite fit right and made me feel like a nondescript sardine. I wanted to change that, so I set out to make a wetsuit that women would actually want to wear – something that was functional, but also flattering, fun, feminine, maybe even sexy. When thinking about Sirensong’s philosophy and mission, the notion “she wore it because she wanted to” really resonated with me as something communicative and genuine. We’ve carried that idea through as our official slogan and guiding principle.
The signature characteristics of our wetsuits are the hourglass-shaped silhouettes, and the bikini-like side ties featured on all of our spring suits. Our Signature Collection of wetsuits, which we will be restocking soon, features hand-painted, silk-screened, and/or printed designs. I have a background in both sewing and painting, so those loves came together with the wetsuits as a form of wearable art. The fact that the wetsuits are designed here in my workshop, by me, allows for a lot of variation and completely unique pieces. We also have a new line of ready-to-wear wetsuits with colourful, beguiling prints. Our Wanderlust map print from the new collection was designed in-house and we look forward to creating more original fabrics in the future.
How does coming from Hawaii influence or inspire the brand, product or range?
Well, the range is definitely geared toward warmer climates or seasons. Right now we offer springsuits and crop tops…the types of wetsuits we wear here in Hawaii. Our Hawaiian-Cut bottom is very much inspired by the cheeky bikini style so popular here in Hawaii. But for those who don’t subscribe to the ‘less is more’ philosophy, we also have an option with more booty coverage.
Who is the woman you are designing Sirensong wetsuits for, what is she all about?
She’s a poised, confident individual – she’s not trying to blend in with the masses. She’s drawn to and appreciates beautiful things – like a glowing sunrise, a delicate flower, a piece of art. She’s an adventurous soul and she loves to play. And of course, she loves the sea.
What has been Sirensong’s journey to where you are today, starting a company and shipping worldwide.
Sirensong wetsuits started out as a little pet project, just for me. I thought I’d try to make a wetsuit that I actually liked; so I purchased some rolls of neoprene, dusted off the sewing machine, and started experimenting. I posted a few pics on Instagram, and started wearing my wetsuits in the lineup, and before long, I was taking orders from friends and curious people around the world. Things really kicked off when I ran an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in June of 2014. Around that time I took on a business partner, Mikaela, who also happened to be my best friend. We’ve been growing the business together, little by little, ever since.
There seems to be a movement of grass-roots surf brands popping up creating functional sports wear for women. What do you think is driving this influx of new women-owned brands?
Perhaps it’s a bit like the snowball effect – women see each other taking on these challenges and putting their ideas and creations out into the world, which in turn encourages others to give it a try. Sometimes you don’t realise what’s possible until you see it being done. I also think that social media and the internet are spreading ideas and inspiration around like wildfire. It’s an exciting time to be a designer – the market is so global nowadays.
Talk to us about the importance of using eco-friendly materials. Why is this important to the Sirensong brand?
Before Sirensong came along, I built a career as an environmental consultant, and I still do environmental consulting work on the side. Being in that field for 14 years, I cultivated a heightened awareness of the need for pollution prevention, sustainability, and waste reduction.
So much goes into the creation of a wetsuit – unlike a rashguard or swimsuit, which is generally a single piece of fabric (and possibly a lining), a wetsuit is two pieces of fabric sandwiching a layer of neoprene rubber. The rubber is where things really start to get messy. However, there are a few alternatives to traditional petroleum-based neoprene. We are striving to be an eco-conscious, responsible company. Our latest wetsuit collection uses Yamamoto rubber from Japan, which is a limestone-based alternative, and we use only eco-friendly paints and processes when designing our Signature Collection wetsuits.
What has been the hardest step in the process of setting up the business?
Never underestimate the difficulty involved in starting a small business! Building this company has been a non-stop series of hurdles and challenges. It is particularly difficult running a business from Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change that aspect of it for the world – but it does add layers of difficulty. The fact that we are so remote makes everything more expensive, and getting merchandise and materials through Hawaii’s strict Customs regime can be daunting. It’s a learning process, and as a start-up, we’re paying our dues right now. It’s all worth it though – building Sirensong continues to be a dream come true.
I came across your wetsuits on Pinterest. How do you get your brand out there when the market is saturated by big spending mainstream surf brands?
All I can say is, thank goodness for social media! It’s been really rewarding seeing our images shared and spread across Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It’s remarkable how a compelling image can make the rounds on the internet. Bloggers and print media (newspapers, magazines) have also sought us out and given us a boost. I think when you’re making something that’s genuinely interesting and different, with a little luck, people take notice.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and who gave it to you?
The best piece of advice I ever got was “wait for it”… it actually came from a stranger! I have it tattooed on my arm as a reminder. Although it might sound like a passive statement, to me, the phrase is about keeping it together, moving forward, and not giving up when times get tough. It’s about having faith that things will work out, that you will achieve your goal, and that eventually, everything is going to be okay.
What advice would you give to any one wanting to start their own functional surf or sporting fashion brand?
Try to enjoy the ride, and don’t lose sight of your mission! There’s so much more to starting a business than making cool gear…so don’t let all that other stuff drag you down. Enjoy the creative moments, connect with your clients on a personal level as much as you can, and have fun testing out your gear!
What is next for Sirensong wetsuits, are you looking to expand to bikinis, surf fashion etc.?
We definitely want to stay focused on our core product, which is springsuits, but yes, we do have plans to add a few more things into the mix. The bikini bottoms seen on our website are coming soon. We’re also excited about adding a full length suit and some variations in between. Can’t wait!
If you are LOVING Sirensong wetsuits use this code STOKED10 on their website to get 10% off your order, just for Still Stoked readers! THANKS GIRLS! We absolutely LOVE your beautiful colourful and sexy wetsuits, they are literally beautiful wearable pieces of art.
Enjoy reading about grass roots surf brands started by brave women?
Make sure you check out our articles with Salt Gypsy who started the surf legging trend and KOKOH bikini with their amazing ocean inspired surf bikinis. Support grass roots surf and fashion brands and keep the creativity coming :-)
More bikini surf inspiration in the Do’s and Don’ts of Surf Bikinis and Surf Bikinis: The brands you need to know about.