Swimwear was always a scary prospect for me. Throughout my teenage years and into adulthood, I never wore a bikini. Every image or design seemed like it was for somebody else, someone who had no insecurities or imperfections. A bikini felt so vulnerable and foreign and seemed to require an almost magical confidence. I didn’t know what I should be looking for and it felt impossible to begin.
SDS and now Dawn swimwear, started to as a way to feel seen and create my own confidence. The first tiny, crucial step was picking up a pen and paper. On the backs of shopping lists and the covers of notebooks, I started drawing something that I could feel good wearing. These early, messy, experimental doodles were never intended to become anything real; it really, truly was a dream.
And yet, while chatting with my sisters one night in early 2017, I blurted out that I’d been considering creating my own bikinis. We all talked about the challenge of finding a style that worked for our bodies, but they warned me about the difficulty of starting a business. But the simple act of saying it out loud had turned the dream into a real possibility.
I didn’t take it lightly; I was still balancing my studies with working full-time, plus two kids under five. But I was used to getting things done for myself, and a vague possibility was starting to become a plan.
Between submitting assignments and wiping little noses, I started researching manufacturers and sketching out a business plan. In August 2017, I traveled to Bali to meet with a prospective supplier. I was crushed when I realized they didn’t have what I wanted. The samples didn’t meet my vision and the fabric wasn’t the quality I needed.
I contacted half a dozen swimwear brands to ask about their logistics. Only one replied, but that was all I needed; she’d had the same experience and put me in touch with her manufacturer. This time I laid out my requirements and got a sample that I was happy with.
The following months were a steep learning curve, creating my own photo shoots, building a site and setting up the online store, and learning the legwork of running a business. There was no time to doubt myself or overthink it, because I had no web designer, business manager or marketing department. Just me, with a little help from friends and family.
The brand was born when our online store launched in February 2018. As the business has grown up, so have I, meeting its constant challenges and discovering its rewards. I’ve seen my bikinis and one-pieces go from simple fabric and stitching to true style, through the personality and individuality of SDS babes around the world. Each item is transformed and defined by the woman who makes it her own.
The products themselves are elegant and simple above all, prioritizing fit and individuality. We design for the complexity and variety of the female form, creating pieces that are striking but not showy. We cater to discerning women who are established and self-reliant, who know themselves well. Women who are creating themselves, and who value themselves.
We want you to put yourself forward without fear. You’ve earned the right to rock your look. Our bodies are the source of so much strength, but often leave us feeling so vulnerable.
Dawn is for that moment you work for, the moment you’re looking forward to. It’s for the destination. The total chill of reading a book and sipping wine, without a clock ticking or a phone ringing. We know that life is demanding and time is scarce. Finding that moment is an achievement, earned by an accomplished woman.
Dawn isn’t here to define you. You’re not buying hype or a stereotype, a product that helps you pretend to be somebody else; Dawn is part of your self-definition, part of your dream.
We all have our own version of that dream, but in some ways we all share it: the woman who belongs. The woman we work to become. She’s put together and quietly confident. She's the dream that every woman has; not just a guy or a job or a house, but what comes from them. She has the resources, the confidence and the composure to be completely present. Focusing only on the sound of water and the sun on her shoulders. A moment that belongs only to her, and everything else can wait.