Crewmember Athene Macrae has been in yachting for 10 years in a variety of positions from chef, stew, tender driver, to deckhand. She started out on a 70-foot sailing boat that she ran with her boyfriend and currently works part-time on 30-meter WallyCento Galateia in Palma. But now Athene has one more job — she has created La Bom Swim, a line of sustainable swimwear.
Athene’s obsession with bikinis began when she was 18. “I think it represented that feeling of freedom I had as a child, being lost in the joys of nature,” she says. “A simple yearning to be in the water for the simple reason that being in the water makes us feel good and alive and so very present.” She was also driven to create her own collection after being frustrated at what she was finding. “I love to surf, but my bikinis weren’t up to the task,” she says. “Taking monster waves on the head while you’re desperately trying to rescue your dignity from around your ankles [is] not that funny. I felt sure I could design a better product.”
So she did. She produced her first collection in 2018 in between working on boats and began testing her designs through a series of pop-up shops as she traveled. It wasn’t easy, but she learned a lot from early struggles. “Having to hustle in the early years is a kind of entrepreneurial rite of passage,” she says. “I learned so much, mostly through some fairly epic disasters, but there were also many unexpected triumphs. The one thing that’s remained constant is that the product itself always goes down a storm, which is what always pushes me forwards.” You can also book a personal pop-up experience if you’re in Mallorca — Athene will bring the entire collection to the boat for you to try.
What sets La Bom apart from other brands, Athene says, is the fit. “This collection was created for women who need to move freely in their bikinis, to climb, dive, rock jump, bomb, surf, kite, run, bend, bounce, explore, dance, and live!” she says, explaining that they’re like a second skin and may be even better than being naked due to the “insane” support and lift they offer while still being elegant and feminine. “Not only will a La Bom Bikini do amazing things for your body, it’s been fabricated using reclaimed plastic waste such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring, and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans all around the world,” Athene says. “As yacht crew, we develop a very deep level of respect for the ocean…. We are on the front line when it comes to the plastic plague creating havoc on the seas, so we need to be leading by example and doing everything we can to protect them.”
And if you still need a reason to splurge, Macrae notes that La Bom has partnered with The Cup Foundation, which provides underprivileged girls worldwide with sustainable menstrual cups and education on sexuality and reproductive rights. Every bikini set or one-piece sold online will now provide one girl with a menstrual cup, education, and long-term support, creating a platform for women to empower women while helping to keep flushed plastics out of the oceans.
As for the future, she would love to create a line specifically for women over 60. “I can’t think of anything more exciting than celebrating the strength and beauty of the women of my mum’s generation,” she says. “We are all heading in that direction after all. Older women are simply the most badass people on the planet and so often under-acknowledged or catered for. I am massively excited by the design challenges this presents and the stories that would unfold along the way.”
You can purchase La Bom swimsuits from £60 for the bottoms, £85 for the tops, and £135 for the one piece. www.labomswim.com