Bomba Estéreo sound like summer—sunshine ekes out of the shimmy-inducing up-down guitar strokes, with the Bogotá banding blend cumbia, salsa, and electro influences as singer Liliana Saumet's effervescent tones melding mainstream pop with her country's musical heritage and cadences. Earlier this summer the trio released their fourth full-lenghth Amanecer, which we discussed with them extensively here, but as well as traipsing the world as BE, Saumet also devotes some of her creativity to swimsuit line Banana Girl. It's a riot of bright prints, cute cuts, and summer separates—plenty of which can be seen in the video for "Somos Dos"—above, which makes us want to hightail it back to Colombia and to get sweaty. So we got in touch with Saumet to find out more.
Noisey: When and why did you start your swimsuit line?
Liliana Saumet: When I was younger, I had a job as a stylist designing clothes and bikinis for television shows. I also sold bikinis that I had designed to cover my expenses in college. I started a small brand and it went well—I sold them at different colleges and to my friends—it was all well received. Eventually I closed that business and started working on music, leaving behind my design work a bit. When I returned to my hometown of Santa Marta, I was reminded that that I love bathing suits that I have developed an image known for tropical styles and the sea. I realized that there was a bathing suit brand missing that natural girls could really identity with. Natural girls with cellulite, small breasts, large breasts, different body sizes, skinny girls, plus size, etc. So I decided to create a brand in which all girls could identify with.
How would you describe the kind of girl who wears your pieces?
Girls who wear Banana Girl are natural girls who love and respect their body for how it is—healthy from the inside and from the outside. They are Banana Girls—natural and authentic.
What’s your favorite piece from the current collection?
It's really difficult to answer that question because I love them all! From the shape to the fabric, they all have something special. But there is a one-piece with a watermelon print that I use a lot and I am obsessed.
All photos via Banana Girls Instagram.
I love, love this one (above)! Thank you for making cute high waisted bikinis! There needs to be more of them in the world, but Ifeel like this is quite atypical of what you might see on beaches in South America. Isn't the trend down there quite skimpy?
Bathing suits have evolved over the years with the tendency to become smaller and smaller. Across the world, TV shows and magazines are the model that many women follow. Every day we see that girls want to change their body to fit certain fashion standards and beauty styles established by brands and their advertising. This is why the brand Banana Girl was created—to promote a healthy lifestyle in which girls value, appreciate and understand their body as it is. The brand has a vintage style that references the 1950s and 1960s when more models reflected a "real woman's" body.
Did you speak to your friends about what they found was lacking with swimwear and did you seek to address their needs?
A while ago, I had been working in design and bathing suit design, in particular. Once I returned to Santa Marta, I realized there was a brand missing that natural girls could identify—a brand in which the designs don't require a model body from magazines. So I returned to those designs, a bit influenced by 1950s styles that took into account our curves and made all girls feel wonderful like they should.
What’s the inspiration or theme behind this season’s collection?
Banana Girl is inspired by tropical styles. My prints are primarily inspired by fruits, nature, and wildlife.
How has your style evolved over the years since you started to this new record and how would you describe your look now?
I don't have the desire to be married to a specific style—I like fashion that evolves. It's more interesting to change and not use the same style again and again. Nonetheless I am a Caribbean girl at heart and my style will always lean towards bright colors, textures and everything surrounding the sea, fruits and the exotic.