I was perusing Pinterest a few weeks back and being the beach bum that I am, I have a habit of following surf inspired pins and boards. I saw this photo and my curiousity instantly peaked; because one, butts (who doesn’t like a booty? Must. Do. Squats!) and two, where the heck can I get a suit like that? Thankfully the pinterest gods (or the perhaps, the actual pinner) were smart enough to provide a name/url to the manufacturer, Sirensong Wetsuits. HOORAY! From crop tops to long sleeves, Jamie designs it all. Not only does she know how to sew like a boss, but she paints like one too. Anyway, I reached out to Jamie and she was kind enough to provide me with an interview. Check out the gorgeous suits below and find out more about the cool creative behind the neoprene:
DAVY: First and foremost, what is your name and who are you?
Jamie DeFay Collins: My Name is Jamie DeFay Collins and I am the founder and designer behind Sirensong Wetsuits. I’m just a girl who likes to make cool stuff, trying to carve out a place in this world.
DAVY: Is Sirensong your main project or is your time split between a few? Basically, what are you about?
JDC: Sirensong Wetsuits is my sole creative outlet and endeavor. I used to paint on canvas and then I got involved with my husband’s surfboard shaping by painting on boards…but once I made (and painted) my first wetsuit, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. It’s something I am truly passionate about. That said – I do have a day job, so yes, my time is split between Sirensong and my day job. When I’m not making wetsuits, I’m working as an environmental consultant – a career that I’ve dedicated the last 12 years of my life to! My goal is to shift the focus so that I can call Sirensong my day job, and work in the environmental field on the side.
DAVY: Your suits are so much more artistic and much sexier (A GOOD THING!) than what you typically see, how would you describe the overall response to your suits?
JDC: The response has been incredible. I hear from women all over the world, saying things like “finally!” …“At last!”… “it’s about time!” When I started wearing my suits, women were constantly asking me about them. Guys too…I’ve had a ton of guys asking how they can get one for their wife/girlfriend. I think it’s also worth mentioning that another response I’ve gotten is “that’s cute, but I could never wear that”. I do offer a pretty cheeky “Hawaiian-Cut” bottom, but my suits are also available with full coverage “booty shorts”. I want to feel comfortable and confidant in my suits, so I am happy to offer them a choice! **sidenote: Davy is a huge fan of das booty. Keep it coming!
DAVY: Tell us what surfing means to you – does your perception differ due to being female?
JDC: Surfing is my absolute favorite thing to do. It’s ridiculously fun, endlessly challenging, an amazing workout, and as cheesy as it sounds…a real communion with nature. I love to surround myself with the beauty of the sea – I live in on a rock in the middle of the ocean (referring to Hawaii) for a reason! I feel the most alive when I’m out for a surf. A single wave can alter my entire mental state…there’s just nothing like it. That’s an interesting question…whether my perception differs because I am female. I’m not sure if I know the answer to that. It’s certainly a male dominated sport…but women have always had a part in it. I think that the appreciation of surfing certainly knows no bounds when it comes to gender.
DAVY: Do you have any people, artists, surfers, etc that inspire you (In surfing and the work you do?)
JDC: Well, my husband most definitely inspires me – both with his surfing, and with his shaping. I think that his shaping in a way pointed me in the direction of making wetsuits…it helped spark the idea of making my own gear for surfing. I was never a power tools kind of girl, but I always knew my way around a sewing machine – so wetsuits made sense. In the world of fashion, I am very inspired by swimwear. Designer brands like Acacia, Ola Feroz, Maaji, Luli Fama, Despi, and Indah come to mind.
DAVY: You live in a place where people dream of living, but with your creativity I can’t imagine you being 100% content. So that brings me to my last question: What’s next?
Well as I mentioned above, I’m trying to reshape my world so that I can truly pour my heart and soul into Sirensong. I have essentially been juggling two full time jobs for the last year and a half and it has been exhausting to say the least. I was taking orders during the very early stages of developing Sirensong, but I quickly got completely overwhelmed. I had to press pause on everything and rethink the entire business. Making every wetsuit from scratch was clearly not going to cut it. I’ve now partnered up with two manufacturers to help me with sewing and basic construction. This way I can focus on the overall design, hand-painting, screen printing, and fabric trimming, instead of spending hours and hours on tedious construction. Now I’ve come to a point where I am nearly ready to take the leap with launching Sirensong’s collection of springsuits. I just began a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help me with the final stages of this process. I’d be beyond grateful to anybody who contributes to the campaign, be it though funding, or by simply helping to spread the word on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/etc. Through the campaign, I’m offering pre-orders on wetsuits, hats, and other fun stuff.
DAVY: ANY LAST THOUGHTS?
JDC: I’d like to thank you for reaching out to me and letting me share my story with your readers. One of the most amazing aspects of this journey I’ve been on through building Sirensong is the people that it has connected me to. I’m a shy girl, and I quite contently live in my little bubble of North Shore country living, surfing, hanging with my hubby, and honestly – spending most of my time with my dogs. But I have met so many amazing people because of Sirensong and it has really helped open me up to the world at large. It’s really humbling, really special to feel such support and acceptance. Aloha!
// Sirensong Wetsuits did not sponsor this interview; I know a rad chick when I see one! All images are c/o of Sirensong Wetsuits and may not be redistributed without written consent of the owner. Please do not reproduce, post, edit this post without my written consent. If you would like to fund the indiegogo campaign and help Jamie exceed her goal even more, click here. If you have a cool story & want to be featured, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk!