Annelies

Belgian-born designer Annelies De Rouck understands the difficulties women face when it comes to what can be considered a stressful ordeal—shopping for the perfect swimsuit. She discovered that when she asked her friends about their favorite swimwear brands, great suits would be found and used until they fell apart. When it came time to find a new swimsuit, their favorite styles were often discontinued.

Enter Seilenna (the designer’s name spelled backward, pronounced “say-LEN-na”),  founded by De Rouck in 2014, a swimwear line that emphasizes fit and consistency and combines the world’s most luxurious technical fabrics with innovative design to create flattering silhouettes. The designer and her team devoted much of their time working with what De Rouck calls “the Rolls-Royce of swimwear fabric mills in Italy,” to ensure the delivery of high-quality designs. The fabrics of her swimwear are soft and luxurious, don’t pill or snatch, and retain their color.
De Rouck works with highly skilled artisans from France and Mauritius to produce her line. With an extensive background in fashion, De Rouck previously worked as a model during her university days in London and subsequently in PR, marketing, communications, and sales for prominent companies like Karl Lagerfeld’s denim brand, K Karl Lagerfeld, and Tommy Hilfiger. However, it was her work with the Belgian American Chamber of Commerce that inspired her to start her own line. Her job was to help Belgian entrepreneurs find their footing in the United States, and she discovered that many of those entrepreneurs were not unlike herself.  She recalls, “They were young and eager,  but not necessarily super experienced or well funded.  At one point I just thought, If they can do it, why not me?”

The 2015 début collection shows the extensive work put into research and production by De Rouck and her team. The theme of honoring the females in her life was at the heart of the collection, from her patternmakers and production people to her close friends. Three friends in particular—Esther, Laila, and Isa—served as namesakes and contributed their individual personalities and styles.
“I would question them about their swimwear preferences and really took care to incorporate all their needs into my collections,”
De Rouck explains. “I thought it was important that they would all find themselves in my collection.” De Rouck also collaborates with the French illustrator Coco to create exclusive prints for the brand, combining traditional techniques like painting and drawing with digital applications to create a harmonious balance of minimalism and pop-friendly aesthetics.
“I wanted to create a line that would marry fashion and exciting design with great technical functionality and fit. I also wanted to offer a brand in which women can find themselves season after season, tweaking and improving fits and adding fashion pieces, but remaining consistent,” explains De Rouck. With these tenets in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if Seilenna becomes the staple swimwear brand for many women for many years to come.

Edited from a piece by Alexandra Sarabia for The Last Magazine