HOW IT ALL STARTED / EARLY BEGINNINGS
MOVIE SCENES AND HONOLULU
Creating a bikini for the movie scene of “From Here to Eternity” was the imaginary mission and at the same time the starting point of 1979 swimwear. Designer and founder Suzanna Kuhlemann imaged her task to design a swim outfit for the beach scene of this film classic. In this beautifully shot black and white scene Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr roll out of the waves and wash onto the sand together, kissing. The scene´s location happens to be to be in one of the prettiest little coves on the island of Oahu, Hawaii which then also became the birth place of 1979 swimwear.
The first bikinis were all made from cotton fabric from Aloha Shirts that Suzanna would select from in the island´s Vintage Stores. The Aloha Shirt and its print plays an important role in Hawaii´s tradition and culture until today and it has been famous for its history since the 1940/50s. Special print and rare edition shirts were chosen and then taken apart to be laid flat to provide enough fabric for exactly 1 bikini only.
ALOHA PRINT COTTON BIKINIS
The Aloha Shirt and its print plays an important role in Hawaii´s tradition and culture until today and it has been famous for its history since the 1940/50s. Special print and rare edition shirts were chosen and then taken apart to be laid flat to provide enough fabric for exactly 1 bikini only. If they had a beautiful print, then traditional Hawaiian dresses called “Mu´umu`u” were also chosen to be reconstructed into a bikini and would then even provide enough fabric for two bikini- sets.
The cotton was laid flat and in bias to generate a slight elasticity and then the pattern pieces were laid on and cut out, hereby taking the best print-placement into consideration. The bikini was then lined with a stretchy lining and rubber band was also added to give the bikini further elasticity. Every bikini was unique and hand-made and went through the stages of its original shirt being chosen and taken apart to be set together again for its new life as a bikini.
BERLIN & FUNCTIONAL FABRICS
After 18 months in Honolulu, Suzanna and her label 1979 moved back to Berlin in 2011 and hereby had to decide if continuing to make swimwear in a country with sometimes short summers, would make sense. Since at that time no other swimwear label was around and she had learned to love making swimwear, she stayed with it. During the last months in Honolulu she had switched to functional fabrics, hereby doing a collection of bikinis where she hand-painted patterns, pictures or just plain stripes onto the white swimwear fabrics.
MISSION & QUALITY
1979 Swimwear´s mission is to make beautiful, timeless, high quality swimwear for all sizes and body shapes for you to feel classy, elegant and comfortable at the beach under the sun and in the water. From day one it has been important to create a special piece and use the best materials to make it. Fabrics and notions, down to the smallest hook and slider are chosen to be the highest quality and from certified, sustainable sources. The manufacturing takes place in nearby Poland today after having been in Germany directly the first 6 years until the family business who had been in the swimwear sewing business for decades retired well deserved. Transparency, eco-consciousness and responsible manufacturing have been important and non-negotiable values for 1979 from the very first day on.
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