Exclusive Interview: Chandra Maharaj Swimwear & Giveaway

In the Caribbean, there is no need to wait for summer to enjoy the sun, sea and sand!  ... And there is absolutely no reason not to live in swimwear.  Haha. So when I discovered Chandra Maharaj, I nabbed her for this interview about her swim label.

Tell me a lil' about yourself.

I am Brazilian born, Trinidadian raised and a current resident of Miami ... a little bit of a child of the world I suppose hahahaha. I have a degree in both International Business and Fashion Design, which I consider tools for my career path as a fashion designer and all entrepreneurial aspects associated with it. I am an artist at heart. I love using my hands to create anything, from drawings, to paintings, to sketching and of course producing my designs. I see beauty in everything. I have a very positive outlook on life and its many surprises and that enables me to see beauty in all I see and experience. Life inspires me this way. I also love uplifting those around me, be it through a hug, a smile, or an exchange of kind words. And to be able to do all these things I love on a more universal level. I chose fashion as my medium ... kind of like the way a really good song makes you feel ☺

Why design swimwear? 

Swimwear has always been a huge part of my life and I have an honest passion for it. So it was the most natural and logical way for me to launch my career as a fashion designer. I have a very special connection with the waters of the world, the ocean, waterfalls, rivers you name it. I love it! Plus, I have always had a hard time finding fashion forward swimwear at an affordable price. ... And so as I always say, if there is a problem, FIX IT! My problem was that I couldn’t find swimwear that satisfied both my fashion sense and pocket so as a solution, I designed it myself ;)

How did you get started? 

Upon graduation I travelled to Brazil for a family reunion. While there I sourced manufacturing, fabrics, designed my pieces and started production. It all happened very quickly, but the seed had been planted prior to me even going back to school to study fashion design. I knew that I wanted to do it all along, so I did it. Hahahaha I know it sounds crazy but there was years of preparation and conceptualizing behind it.

Tell us a lil' about your inspiration(s)

I am usually very much inspired by countries, their cultural traditions, folklore and its people. While in Brazil, my focus was very much geared towards the female Indians of the Amazons, as my great grandmother was one herself. That ancestral connection directed my focus towards the Amazonas, a tribe all of female Warriors responsible for giving the Amazon it’s name. My next collection is inspired by African Gods. I recently spent one month backpacking through South east Africa, living heavily amongst the natives, learning their way of life and beliefs. The beauty there is beyond words and was an inspirational overload for me. I am EXTREMELY excited about this collection which will be coming soon! ☺

Who is (are) the Chandra Maharaj Swimwear muse or style icons?

Women in general are my style icons. I love them all. I see beauty in all women, and when I say that I mean it. I have always been more inspired by the average woman who struggles, and cries, but learns and survives to tell me the story. I believe that these women should be glorified as many style icons are. So that’s what I’ll do ;)

How do you design swimwear for all women, not just a runway model body type?

When I designed my first collection I truly designed it with all women in mind. I took shapes, sizes, and even ethnic background into consideration. I learnt however, that as a designer I have a very unique point of view, and that not everyone sees it the way I do. This has been a huge lesson learnt for me, as far as my first collection is concerned. With that said, I will be presenting my second collection in a different way this time around. I will offer a collection geared towards the more petite woman who enjoys her Brazilian cuts and tiny sexy pieces, one for the more voluptuous woman who still wants to feel sexy but in a more conservative way, as we as a custom design service that will allow my customers to co-design with me for one of a kind pieces designed and created specifically for her body type and purpose. Between these three offerings, I should have all of my beautiful ladies covered ☺ 

What is a must-have style for Summer 2012? 

I believe that a sexy one piece is a must have for all women. They can hide your flaws while enhancing your attributes all at the same time ☺

What is a must-have accessory? 

A GREAT pair of earrings can completely change a look.

... And if there is anything you may think will be interesting, please feel free to share.

I have recently showed my collection The Third Annual Rockstar Fashion Throwdown 2011 (video) which was my first show in the US, and an extremely exciting opportunity. I was also hand selected to be part of the “I AM CARIBBEAN” exhibition during London Fashion, which was also an absolutely honor, having your work acknowledge and appreciated is an amazing feeling. I have also been asked to show my pieces during the Olympics in London which I am beyond thrilled for. YAyyyyyy! I am currently in Trinidad as I complete this and I am super impressed and pleased to be in the presence of this Fashion Explosion that is sweeping the nation. It makes my heart smile to see how far along it has come ;)

Win Chandra Maharaj Swimwear! 

We're giving one lucky Sweet 7 fan their choice of Chandra Maharaj Swimwear

Giveaway rules:
 You must be a fan of The Sweet 7
One entry per person
Email TheSweet7@gmail.com with the subject "Chandra Maharaj Swimwear"
 Please include your name, address, phone number and email address in the email
Ends on Monday, March 12 @ 11AM
Giveaway is open to US Residents only
Winners will be selected randomly by random.org 
The winner will be notified by email and announced on the Sweet 7 fan page 

Facebook: Chandra Maharaj Swimwear 
Twitter: @ChandraMaharaj


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