Jul 06, 2017 | By Yvonne Kostiak
Jul 29, 2010
It came as no surprise to us when we first heard about sisters Oleema and Kalani Miller’s swimwear collection, fittingly named, MIKOH. “MIKOH is derived from the girl’s last name, Miller, as well as the first initial of Kalani and Oleema’s and their younger sister’s name, Hana. In Japanese, Miko is a term that anciently meant a ‘female shaman’ or a ‘female prophecy’.”
The sisters grew up in San Clemente, California among a deep-rooted family of core surfers. Dad always took them to paddle out early on and well, it certainly paid off. Oleema ended up traveling around the globe for surfing contests with sponsor ROXY. So yep…it makes sense: Cool surfer girls from SoCal creating their own swimwear collection. And well, it’s rad! The collection fuses together fashion-forward looks and the needs of a woman who wants functionality when surfing.
We had a chance to catch up with the ladies right before they showed their latest collection in Miami at 2011 SwimShow…
Q: What’s the biggest inspiration behind Mikoh Swimwear?
Oleema: The biggest inspiration behind MIKOH SWIMWEAR is definitely the natural world around us, travel, the idea of discovery and exploration. I can’t help but be inspired each of every day – whether it be from the infinite oceans in Bali or the palm trees that line the streets in my hometown of San Clemente.
Kalani: MIKOH SWIMWEAR is definitely a beach and gypsy lifestyle brand. With MIKOH, it isn’t just a bikini brand, it truly is a way of life… not knowing where you will be tomorrow, what beach you may be laying on watching the next sunset, or what pool you will be splashing in. MIKOH is about having fun, being confident, comfortable, and always ready for a good time. It’s inspired by those ready to make a statement.
Q: Can you describe a Mikoh woman?
Oleema: A MIKOH woman is independent, confident, and isn’t afraid to stand out. They are the ones to pick up and go and fly halfway around the world for a weekend get-away. She is not afraid to wear something daring but also knows how to be the most sophisticated one in the room. She is adventurous, fun, and demurely sexy.
Kalani: A MIKOH woman is for the gypsy jetsetter. She is confident, feminine, ready for a fun time, not afraid to be powerful, smart, and all the while sexy. She is ready to make a statement, not afraid to smile her pearly whites, and always ready for the next adventure.
Q: We know that you had a huge upbringing around the SoCal surfing subculture, how is that aspect and inspiration brought into the collection?
Oleema: Some of my earliest memories are going surfing with my Dad and being at surf contests surrounded by some of the best surfers. I surfed for ROXY for almost 10 years – I got to travel around the world from a young age doing what I love. Being able to experience the world and be surrounded by extremely talented people has definitely had a huge impact on my inspiration and design of MIKOH. I now know how to design a surf-able swimsuit yet something that you can go and tan in while laying out on the beach. I couldn’t imagine a better childhood to influence my designs and MIKOH as a brand.
Kalani: All of our suits are definitely functional as well as sexy. Whether jumping in the water for a swim or going surfing, MIKOH suits are designed to make a statement while still being comfortable. Surfing is our roots, and we pull our inspirations from there – the colors, the functionality, the sexiness of being a dancer on the waves.
Q: When creating the collection, what elements of functionality are incorporated into the swimwear for ladies who’d surf in it?
Oleema: Some say everything should be function over fashion. For me, fashion is about making your own rules. Being a surfer, I made a point that the suits would be both functional and fashionable. I’ve definitely had a few accidents of tops coming undone and bottoms flying off – there is nothing worse than that!! Having a suit that sits correctly on your body and hugs in all of the right places is what makes MIKOH so special. Also, having hardware-free suits ensures that they’re never going to unhook or come undone. All of this while being the sexiest and most fashionable girl in lineup.
Kalani: The suits are made of the finest materials and are also hardware free. When doing that cutback or getting barreled, these suits will hold in place. No one will have to worry about a wardrobe malfunction! These suits are built to last!
Q: Can you describe some of the fabrics used in your swimwear and why they are chosen?
Oleema: Each and every fabric for MIKOH is carefully chosen to be something unique, fresh, and something you’ll want to keep wearing for years and years. We custom dye each of our fabrics and are so excited to introduce custom prints into the collection for 2011. Each fabric, color, and print is chosen to compliment and flatter those rocking MIKOH and to make you feel like the coolest girl around.
Kalani: All of the colors are custom made and chosen and inspired from our travels. They have been designed and created into the perfect fit, so no one has to worry about a baggy bottom. Expect a great fit with the double-sided fabric, which lays perfectly on the precious curves of a woman.
Thanks ladies…see you on the beach!
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.