The 50th anniversary swimsuit issue of “Sports Illustrated” hit the stands this week and for one San Diego-based fashion designer, the pages of the popular magazine marked a milestone moment in her career.
Inside the magazine, Victoria’s Secret models like Lily Alridge and Chanel Iman are sporting swimsuits created by Alejandra Boggiano, designer and owner of the up-and-coming local brand, Solkissed Swimwear.
Boggiano told NBC 7 that seeing her designs in “Sports Illustrated” was a dream come true. When she spotted her swimsuits, she “jumped up and down” and couldn’t stop screaming.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Boggiano. “People who have seen me start from my little Etsy store and here I am now, a real brand, that’s been the best part.”
Boggiano’s brand is really brand-new. Her designs make up the first-ever full Solkissed collection available on the market.
Thus, she said getting her work into the magazine alongside established brands was an unexpected but very welcome surprise.
She sent samples to “Sport Illustrated” and about three weeks ago, magazine editors told her that her swimsuits might appear in the 50th anniversary issue, pending possible last-minute editorial changes. In the end, Boggiano’s modern, sexy swimwear made the cut.
She still can’t believe it.
“I’m definitely celebrating,” she said, with a smile, adding that she saw her designs in print on the night before her birthday.
From concept and design, to sewing machine and “Sports Illustrated,” Boggiano’s journey has been interesting. Though she currently designs all swimwear in San Diego, her collection is handmade in Peru and inspired by her South American heritage.
Boggiano was born in Peru and spent her childhood in Chile before moving to San Diego as a teenager. She attended San Diego State University and, about four years ago, moved to New York City where she studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Soon enough, she bought a sewing machine and began making her own swimsuits out of her tiny apartment in New York City, selling them on the shopping website, Etsy.
Eventually, Boggiano said she moved back to San Diego and hit the ground running with her brand, selling her designs to local shops, including Gone Bananas in Pacific Beach.
Solkissed made a splash and within months, Boggiano said she went from selling her pieces at one store to more than two dozen stores.
Now, the young designer has more than 20 people working for Solkissed in both San Diego and South America. She said her mother, who still lives in Peru, has become her business partner, handling operations for the brand from there while Boggiano holds down the fort in San Diego.
Many of the bikinis are handmade in Peru by female micro-entrepreneurs who work from their homes bringing Boggiano’s designs to life.
With the swimwear taking the spotlight in “Sports Illustrated” this week, Boggiano said she’s inundated with new orders that she’s prepared to fulfill.
“I’m extremely ready for this. It feels good,” she said.
Boggiano’s swimsuits sell for about $100 and can also be purchased on the brand’s official website.
Her debut collection is called “Inca Sirena,” which translates to “Inca Mermaid.” The line is heavily influenced by Peruvian and South American culture, boasting Inca prints, tribal patterns and bold, bright colors. She also designs hand-woven bracelets and accessories inspired by Peruvian art one might find in places like Machu Picchu.
Learn more about Solkissed here.