After launching Frankies Bikinis at the age of eighteen, Malibu native Francesca Aiello is now at the helm of a swimwear brand that’s adored globally.
In your early twenties, most people are starting to consider landing themselves a job, purely to fund their weekends. But for 24-year-old Francesca Aiello, her career has been flourishing ever since she kickstarted it five years ago at the same age many are just wrapping up their school days.
She can even count the likes of Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio and Kylie Jenner – who have designers queuing out the door to dress them – as some of her biggest fans.
So what’s her secret? And how did she cope landing success at such a young age?
We caught up with the young businesswoman to discuss all things Frankies Bikinis, body confidence, inclusivity and SS19 swimwear trends…
Q You started this journey over five years ago at the age of just 18 – if you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice before launching the brand what would it be?
A If I could go back and give myself some advice when starting Frankies, I would say to always stay true to your design aesthetic. I think staying true to myself and my vision is something that has helped us get to where we are today.
Q In just two years you were showing at Miami Swim Week, how was that experience so early on in the business?
A We went to Miami Swim Week our first year of starting Frankies so we could check it all out – it was my first time seeing a runway show and I told myself that by next year we would be there having our own show. I felt incredibly accomplished to have fulfilled this goal and was motivated to continue growing our business as well as checking goals off my list.
Q What would your advice be for women who struggle to feel comfortable in public in swimwear?
A My advice for women who feel uncomfortable wearing bikinis in public would be to first and foremost find a soft and well-fitted bikini that was made for your body type – they exist, I promise. Secondly, I would say to work on loving every inch of yourself because all bodies are beautiful.
Q Swimwear campaigns are often a major culprit in the negative side of fashion’s big ‘inclusivity’ debate. You recently posted an entirely un-airbrushed image on Instagram of a woman with cellulite which got a lot of positive feedback. Do you consciously make an effort to ensure your campaigns, spokesmodels and social media remain representative? What are your thoughts on the topic in general?
A I think there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing stretch marks or cellulite on a woman, they’re their beauty marks. So, naturally, if I come across a photo of someone in Frankies that isn’t retouched, I will always post it and spread the message of body positivity.
Q What do you forecast will be the big swimwear trends this summer?
A I am a big proponent on swimwear that isn’t just for the beach – I love tops and one pieces that can be effortlessly worn with vintage Levis. It’s more bang for your buck, so I think this trend will be all over the place this summer.
Q What ignited the move into RTW, or was it always on the cards?
A We always had plans on expanding our company to RTW, we were just waiting for the right timing – which just so happened to be right before our first ever LA based runway show.
Q You’ve got some incredibly influential celebrity fans. Who would be the one dream muse to see wearing one of your pieces?
A I would love to see Beyonce in Frankies – she is such an empowering woman and it would be so badass to see her rocking our suits.
The bikinis we wish we could wear right now but will have to save for our hols
Q What’s next for Frankies Bikinis?