Swimwear designers historically have marketed to those that fit within the confines of barely-there swimwear, but Chris Turk (founder of his namesake brand Chris Turk Swimwear) has arrived to revolutionize swimwear for the LGBTQ community. His recent shoot for his new Summer 2021 line showcased his love for Fire Island as well as his dedication to making sure that all body types are always represented. I spoke with Chris Turk recently about the origin of his swimwear line, his passion for representing all body types, and why his inevitable goal is to be the “Fenty of Swimwear”
Michael Cook: What sparked your interest in creating your own swimline?
Chris Turk: Honestly, I got to a point where I was looking everywhere for cute, yet affordable suits that properly fit me and I couldn’t find them anywhere. That’s when I realized there was something missing in the market, so I decided to create my own! I knew if I couldn’t find it, that meant others couldn’t either.
MC: When you started designing swimwear what are some of the musts you put into the designs?
CT: Musts for me as a designer, first off, is a proper fit. I think I am one of the first designers to design around a real body, not a model’s body. Fit is so important and what makes you feel the most comfortable and sexy. The last thing you want is to feel pressured into wearing something that doesn’t make you feel comfortable. Then of course, design! Design is super super important and I think the best part of that is every season, I can just have fun with it. I want people to feel joy and happiness when they put my clothing on and to actually feel sexy, no matter their size, shape or gender!
MC: Your new line’s ad campaign is refreshing, as you feature bodies of all shapes and sizes. Why was it important for you to do that?
CT: Because no one has! Everyone is so stuck on showing model bodies in their suits, when for most people, that’s not their reality. I wanted people to see themselves in my collection the second they came to the site! They could finally see themselves wearing it and realize that they can own their sexy too! I think besides Fenty, no one has really been doing this and I want to be the Fenty of swim.
MC: What are some of the things that consumers can get from your line that they may not get from others?
CT: So I crafted the suits around a real body, I haven’t heard of any other brand that has done this. I test it on all bodies and make sure it fits, it’s comfortable and everyone feels sexy. Another little secret, the shorts actually have a built in speedo, which lifts all the goodies and gives you that little hello to the world when you are walking around!
MC: Personally, you find Fire Island and your new home in Asbury Park to be your beach destinations. What are you finding you love about them both?
CT: I love the freedom both places offer for the LGBTQAI+ community. There is something so freeing about being able to truly be your authentic self and feel safe and sexy. I also love all of the art and architecture in both areas, I draw a lot of inspiration from them, as well as the music. Something about being in a town where you can go to the beach during the day and dance the night away, is honestly the best. Right now we get to enjoy life again and what better way to do it!
MC: Where do you draw your passion from to create?
CT: I take my inspiration from so many places. I especially take inspiration from the places I travel; most recently Fire Island, Asbury Park, Miami and Palm Springs. I also love to draw inspiration from TV shows and music. From Pose to anything disco, I am constantly looking for things to inspire me. I love a night under a disco ball dancing, so I try to bring that feel good vibe from the dance floor and translate it to my suits. I want everyone to feel fun and free in every piece they wear!
MC: Where do you want to see the line in 5 years? Any thoughts or expanding to different products?
CT: Five years?-Man that’s tough to say. But I want to continue to expand and have clothing for year round, not just Summer. I hope in five years I will have my own little company running, with some assistance because girl is tired already! I want to be able to have the freedom to continue to feel inspired and to inspire others. I want to take this collection global and I want to get out there and talk to people about what they want. I would love to do little pop ups around the country, especially following the different prides. Community is so important to me and I look for every opportunity to connect. I would also love to continue to raise money and give back to the amazing community that has supported me since day one.