I love to swim. So when I moved from New York City to St.Thomas in the US Virgin Islands in 2006, I was overjoyed to say good bye to overcrowded lap lanes and hello to the great turquoise expanse in which I could swim for miles along uncontaminated stretches of coast, gazing at the technicolored fish and spotted eagle rays, the sea turtles and underwater vegetation.
There was only one problem: I couldn't find a swimsuit that I could stand to wear for these aquatic adventures. My old one-piece Speedo seemed too utilitarian for the flamboyant tropics, and the various bikinis I tried were disasterously uncomfortable with knots at the base of my neck, wires poking into my ribs and bottoms that were forever refusing to get out of the water when I did. I tried a sports bra with shorts, but that was even less attractive than the Speedo, and on top of that the heavy cotton fabric refused to dry.
I searched online for a garment that combined the mobility, comfort and support of a sports bra with the style and quick-drying spandex of a swim suit, and came up empty handed. At which point it occurred to me: I'm going to have to design the damn thing myself.
I am not a designer. I am not a seamstress. I have never had the slightest interest in fashion. Still, I managed to scratch out a rough drawing of my fantasy swim suit (which I quickly realized could also function as an excellent gym suit) on a piece of printer paper and set out to find a seamstres.
Two seamstresses and about 18 months later, I had a line of transitional, amphibious activewear that was market-ready, only to discover that commercial manufacturing wasn't within the realm of possibility. What shoestring start-up can absorb the cost of 300/piece production minimums? The time had come for me to learn how to thread a sewing machine.
Turns out, sewing isn't as scary as I had imagined it would be, and I enjoy working with my hands. So I opened for business. Welcome to Nayad.