There's no better way to make waves this summer than to soak up the sun in a figure-flattering bikini, as the young owners of local swimwear firm Naked Sun will attest to.
Ateneo de Manila University alumni Abi Tan Puno and Andrea See met Caryll Martinez Benitez back when they were all living in Shanghai. They were later introduced to the latter's youngest sister, Olive Martinez, who had just graduated from the University of Asia and the Pacific.
In time, the foursome became preoccupied with an entrepreneurial idea: launching their own swimsuit line. "We were disappointed and unhappy with what was available locally: super expensive imported brands, or badly made local ones," says Ms. Benitez.
They chose the name ‘Naken Skin’ says Ms. Benitez, to mirror the goalpost of their designs. "Being naked, stripped to the core, is all about taking away the trappings to get to the essence of something."
Drawing inspiration from the country's tropical climate, Naked Sun has since 2006 stood as a Filipino brand whose craftsmanship claims to rival that of foreign ones sold in boutiques in the metro. But rather than keep up with fleeting fads, the foursome share an appreciation for timeless silhouettes from which they draw inspiration for creating their seaside standouts.
One such swimsuit is the Estrella, which first hit the market in 2009. It is a classic two-piece detailed with small Celtic love knots, which represent luck.
All four maintain separate day jobs, but each perform assigned roles in running their small undertaking. Ms. Benitez and Ms. Puno oversee the everyday operations, including designing and making the beach wear, while Ms. Martinez and Ms. See take charge of marketing and sales tasks.
Between 25 and 30 years old, the owners belong to their own target demographic: young women looking to find a fit that won't scrimp on style or comfort. Says Ms. Benitez: "If we won’t wear it, we won’t make it."
Their collections embrace various shapes and sizes—many bottom pieces, for example, have adjustable straps. Cuts like the popular Lucia also come in reversible colors. All Naked Sun bikinis are made locally, but the young entrepreneurs say they still source much of their material abroad—an aspect which they hope will change as they search for quality textiles in the country. Some of their swimsuits fall on the pricey side, but the four friends assure that beach bods will find it a fair trade for bikinis that'll stay sturdy whether they're hitting hard waves or just lounging by the pool.- Victoria T. Vizcarra
Raul L. Locsin Building I
95 Balete Drive Extension,
New Manila, Quezon City,
Extensions: 706, 709-711
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