It’s time to light the candles—Shoshanna Gruss is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her eponymous brand’s Swimwear line! It’s hard to believe that in 2001, bikinis were mainly still sold as sets, but the New York native stepped in and revolutionized how we shop the category with her size-inclusive and considered approach. THE DAILY SUMMER caught up with the designer and mom of three to hear about her idyllic summer plans in Sag Harbor and what we can expect from the new collection.
How are you enjoying summer so far?
Summer for me starts when summer starts for the kids. They’re in the final week of school now, so we’re in the home stretch! We’re still in the city, but then we spend our summer in Sag Harbor, which is magical. Usually we’re packed the second the last kid is finished with school and we’re on our way!
Do you have any exciting getaway plans?
I usually travel for a couple of weeks, but this time I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends Out East and enjoying some normalcy. I spent a tremendous amount of time out there last year with the kids, but we weren’t able to be that social. The nice thing was that they picked up surfing and skateboarding, so they’re looking forward to that again and enjoying a more leisurely pace and being outdoors. I’m a real appreciator of the little things, but even more so now. This summer will be all about beach walks, playing with the kids, and we do a lot of fishing and boating, too. We’ve also planned to do one giant birthday party, seeing as everyone had a birthday during the pandemic. We’ll do three cakes, three sets of activities, and have all their friends over to make up for it! The kids adapted so well last year; I was so proud of them.
What are your favorite things to do in Sag Harbor?
I love going to Wolffer Vineyard on Fridays with my kids, and we see a lot of friends there. We didn’t realize how special some things were until we couldn’t do them last summer. We mostly do a lot of cooking at home, but we love LT Burger and Sag Pizza. We also just sleep better! I love waking up out there. We live on the bay, so the sunsets are like a new painting every night. My bedroom looks out over the water, so I’m always late because I’m too busy staring out the window!
How has business been?
For us, it was kind of amazing as it helped us streamline, focus, and hone in on what was most important to us and what our customers are looking for. Traditionally, we’re a celebratory brand and our main philosophy is to celebrate different kinds of bodies in the 0–12 range. People were buying fun colors, and happy and upbeat pieces were selling. I think that the companies that thrived and survived were able to listen to their customer and keep true to who they are. I’ve always said we’re not a trendy brand; we’re more of a classic brand, and we’re now in our 22nd year. Even in the dip times, like in 2008, we’ve had good years because we’re the bread and butter. People know that we fit and are classic and will make them feel good.
It’s your 20th year in the Swimwear category. What’s coming up?
The Swim business has evolved so much in the past 20 years. We’ve always been one of few companies in the market that offers A–DDD and sizes within those sizes, petite to XL. We were one of the first brands to sell swimwear as separate pieces; it was a big deal trying to get department stores to do that! It’s not easy; it’s way easier to ship sizes S, M, and L, and call it a day, but then people’s needs aren’t addressed. I was that customer, and it was the impetus for starting the brand because I wasn’t that perfect size 2 or 4. I knew I couldn’t have been the only one having these issues. The first year we launched Swim, we had this cherry-print bikini that became our signature.
It was in every magazine and on Sex and the City.
For our anniversary collection, we brought back that exact original print. It now comes in a navy and mint blue colorway, too. It’s fun to see how far we’ve come, but we do what’s tried and true and stick to the original DNA, too.
So much has happened in the past 20 years!
It feels like a second ago that I started this off, but then I look at the boxes of clothes! My 16-year-old [Sienna] is buying “vintage” on Depop, and she’s buying old pieces of mine. It’s so funny that they think of the 1990s as vintage and retro. She recently bought a dress and she didn’t even know it was mine. It was from one of my first collections—it’s all coming back around!
You’re a New York native. Are you proud of how the city has pulled through?
I was looking at old photos recently and the city looks so different. It’s gray and there’s graffiti everywhere— definitely not as shiny. I don’t mind the grittiness. I’ve always enjoyed the juxtaposition of the different parts, and I can see the beauty in all the neighborhoods. And I mean that! There was a lot of loss in the cleaning up of New York, but a lot of goodness, too. Less crime is better for sure! I’m so enamored with the good and the bad. It’s always going to be the greatest city in the world. I love to travel, but there’s nothing like this.