Buying swimsuits might not be your favorite sort of retail therapy; for many women, it's the most-dreaded shopping experience around. X Swimwear has set out to change that scenario entirely: The brand utilizes Artificial Intelligence, 3-D design, and material simulation to create size-free made-to-measure swimsuits. X Swimwear just launched last week, and has been in the works since 2014; it started as a side project for founder Sarah Krasley, who runs a consultancy company called Unreasonable Women. She started taking night classes in swimwear and bra design, construction, and manufacturing at FIT three years ago, and launched a Kickstarter to fund the concept in 2015.
Krasley wanted to create a made-to-measure swimwear line because rarely do women's measurements actually fit into standard numerical size ranges, which aren't all that much more accurate than small/medium/large sizing (plus, so much variation exists in sizing from brand to brand, regardless of what scale or system is utilized). Numerical sizing also "really does little more than make people feel lousy about themselves," per Krasley. As for the brand's name, it is indeed an algebra reference, if you think of the X as "you" (or your body): Krasley believes in viewing women's bodies as having complex algebraic variables, versus fitting neatly into a straightforward, graded sizing system.
"We want to build a great swimwear brand that’s compassionate, bold, and classic — so women can have a suit they can count on for multiple years," Krasley told Refinery29. And, yes, these are certainly suits you'd hope to hang onto for many summers, considering the steep prices, which range from $250 to $375; that said, they're constructed in NYC from sleek Italian swimwear performance materials. (You can also buy a wetsuit to tote around that custom suit around in, for $35.)
The suits are available in five different styles, including four one-piece options and a bikini, and they're only available in black, as an "homage to NYC," which is X Swimwear's homebase. You get your measurements taken at one of the brand's pop-ups, or via its app. Each style is named after a different, lesser-known feminist, none of which you'll necessarily find in a history textbook. (There's even a male feminist in the mix: The Dornfeld tank silhouette is named afterProfessor David Dornfeld, the former head of UC-Berkeley's Lab for Manufacturing & Sustainability, where, "year after year, Dave mentored brilliant female mechanical engineering Ph.D.s at rates high above industry standards.")
The big-picture goal is for X Swimwear to positively impact, and inform the sizing and fit techniques, elsewhere in the fashion industry. "We want the technology we built underneath X Swimwear to work for many other apparel brands in all categories who want to be more flexible and design for a greater diversity of body shapes." Krasley said. "This will be the way we help create the future we want to see – people feeling good about their bodies, in clothes that fit." Next up, Easley plans to lower the cost of the suits and offer cup sizes in 2018. Check out all five styles, which are, refreshingly, shown on models that aren't all sample-sized, here.
By Alexandra Ilyashov