Behind the Seams
Cynthia Rowley on Our New Wetsuits
The designer shares how our collaboration came about, some of her favorite surf spots and her mysterious connection to Pabst Blue Ribbon.
If you've spent any time in the ocean lately, you've had that aha moment when a Cynthia Rowley wetsuit glides into view. Her love of surfing and color have combined to create something that is both strong and feminine. Now with the introduction of her first mommy-and-me wetsuits, she has solved another challenge for parents who like to live the life aquatic: a piece of swimwear that is flattering for both mothers and daughters.
1. What was the motivation for introducing wetsuits to the Cynthia Rowley swim line originally, way back in 2012?
I bought a little shack in Montauk, and my friend said, “You know you live off the best break right? You can’t have this spot and not surf.” It changed my life — it’s my own little form of meditation. The only thing I couldn’t get on board with (haha) was the fashion part of it. No one was making cool wetsuits for women, so I took on the challenge. And now I hope these wetsuits inspire all women to get out there.
2. When did you first design a girls' version, and what prompted you to create it?
I taught my daughters to surf when they were young, and now we all surf as a family. I cherish that time with them, but these wetsuits aren’t just made for little surfers. They’re SPF 50 and keep your babies toasty warm in the ocean or even a cold pool.
3. Do either Kit or Gigi surf? If yes, tell us a little bit about the mother-daughter dynamic on the water.
They shred! We all cheer each other on, and nothing is better than a day at the beach with some nice waves.
4. How did the Maisonette collaboration come about?
Maisonette is the only place you can find our children's clothes. It started with a kids' CaliYork collection — the idea of this adventurous bi-coastal lifestyle. I always wanted to do mini versions of all my favorite pieces, and when I met [Maisonette co-founders] Sylvana and Luisana, I was thrilled to collaborate. I’m a huge supporter of women-owned businesses; we’re all in this together. We’re looking forward to making lots more goodies together.
5. What's your favorite time of day to be in the water?
All day. I wear my wetsuit in a chilly pool and wakeboarding when there are no waves. I have to say, I always feel more comfortable in a wetsuit, and they make everyone look good.
6. What are your top five favorite places to be in the water?
Well, Montauk is my happy place. But I love a big adventure and have surfed in Hong Kong, Australia, Hawaii, Peru ... and coming up, a trip to Senegal.
7. Is it true that you're related to the genius who designed the Pabst Blue Ribbon logo?
It’s true — he’s my grandfather! I have his patent framed in my office. And there’s nothing better after a good surf than an ice-cold PBR.