If you’ve followed, stalked or even just stumbled upon my Instagram profile by accident, you’ve probably noticed that I’m wearing a bikini like 60-80% of the time, that is, whenever and wherever acceptable.
When I look back at my online career, it almost feels like swimwear is entangled in my dna in a sense. Rewinding back before 1.6 million Instagram followers, back to high school when my online presence wasn’t much beyond my personal Tumblr blog, I can vividly remember saving up to purchase my first designer bikini. I was so completely unaware of the role that moment would play in leading me to where I am right now, writing this blog post about my own swimwear collection.
The story is that I got the size wrong on that first bikini. Anyone remember Triangl Swimwear? Triangl, btw, is still a super successful swimwear brand, but I’m talking about Triangl back in their early days, when their entire bikini collection consisted of only a few bright, neoprene, triangle shaped bikinis outlined in black. Well due to the thick neoprene material, if you ordered one size too big you’d get what us industry professionals like to refer to as a “diaper butt.” I ordered a S instead of an XS, and thus, had a case of the diaper butt. But instead of exchanging the suit, which sounded like a very daunting adult task to my high school self, I decided to sell it on Poshmark, the app I was using (and still use) to resell my clothing on. My mom took photos of me in the suit in our backyard to list the bikini for sale, and I ended up repurposing one of those images for my very amateur Instagram feed.
Triangl reposted the photo to their Instagram account (!!!), and as if that wasn’t already a huge enough deal, they then directly contacted me, asking if I wanted to collaborate, adding that my image had performed better than any other image they’d posted to their feed. I’d never been asked to “collaborate” with a brand before, let alone a designer bikini brand that I was a massive fan of. And that’s where it all began.
Fast forward. I went on to study design in college, and from there pursued this path I’m still on as a digital entrepreneur. As my personal brand evolved over the years, swimwear remained. It only feels natural to fuse my love of design with my love for swimwear and… DRUMROLL PLEASE… I’m so proud and excited to announce that I co-created a swimwear collection with PQ Swimwear!
When PQ Swimwear (formerly PilyQ) and I sat down together last year to discuss a design collaboration, they were already a brand I’d been wearing for years and one that had always stood out to me. Their suits have been so consistent in terms of both quality and style. You can probably imagine it can be quite limiting to design something unique with such a small piece of fabric, but PQ suits felt like they had that “it” factor to me.
So when asked if I wanted to create a collection of my own with them? It was a yes from me. We came together to reimagine an array of iconic PQ styles that resonate with me and my style. The partnership fuses PQ’s expertise in crafting gorgeous swimwear with my expertise in living in a bikini (honorable mention to my experience in social media marketing and content creation).
Speaking of content creation, I was granted free-reign and full creative control to take the collection anywhere to capture the digital assets for it, so naturally Zack and I jumped on a plane to Hawaii and brought the vision to life, just the two of us.
Just to bring this blog post up to speed here, all this all took place at the end of 2019. We launched the collection on 11/11. We sold out of half the collection on PQ’s site in the first week. In the weeks following launch, my collection was featured in: WWD, Forbes, The Zoe Report, AOL, HOLR Magazine, Popsugar, People, Marie Claire, Yahoo, The Fashion Network… Oh yeah, and I went on live local news, KTLA, to talk about the collection. Watch that here.
So yeah, it’s been a series of pinch-me moments and it’s safe to say my high school self is both screaming and proud. The collection is available here on PQ’s site, and also here and below on Revolve!!! The collection is selling fast, and sadly we won’t be restocking! If you miss this one, you’ll just have to wait for my next design venture… ;)
Shop select styles from my swimwear collection on Revolve here:
Without further ado, may I present “Helen Owen x PQ Swim” through the lens of Zack Kalter shot in Oahu, Hawaii, September 2019. Click on any image for the link to that suit! (On PQ’s site, the link for the top will open, just scroll down to shop the bottom too)