JUST ADD WATER
Born in Miami in 2014, Le Club Originals made a name for itself producing men’s and take-down swim trunks with its signature fun patterns. Today, this multi-generational lifestyle brand continues to focus on fit, quality and style while being kind to the environment and the people in it.
WE TALKED WITH Neysa Rivera, VP of Finance and Design, about her passion for garments that are best enjoyed with water and making memories and Billy Little, VP of Operations and Design, who believes connecting to community is one of the most valuable ways that a business can give back.
How did your career in swimwear design get started?
Neysa: My family were men’s clothing manufacturers, so I was born in the industry, and I started designing when I was 11 years old. Growing up in the business and on a small island like Puerto Rico where swimwear is almost always worn to have a good time, it becomes part of life’s most memorable moments. I design what to wear for those happy, fun, and relaxing moments. It is my passion.
Billy: I started as a model in the fashion industry, and I always paid attention to my fittings and how the fabric was draping, color combinations, etc. I then moved over to the music world where I worked on set design and then interior design for restaurants and hotels. That led me to general manage a women’s resort line, but my heart and expertise was in men’s, and I got my opportunity three years ago when Le Club approached me. Neysa and I make a great team as we understand that we are designing for our customers and not for ourselves.
Who are some of your favorite designers and what’s your inspiration for swimwear?
Neysa: It has been the journey of a lifetime so there have been various throughout the seasons: my dad, Jorge Rivera, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Robert Graham, Tory Burch. Working with my father taught me about style, fabric content, pattern making, dimensions, and attention to detail, which gave me appreciation of the work these amazing designers were doing.
The environment where it will be worn—the ocean, the beach, the island, the water, the sun, the sounds, the breeze, the sand, and feeling them all at the same time. It is a state of mind.
What are you most excited about for the SS 2022 collection?
Billy: Sustainability. We have always been committed to the environment and our goal is to become a 100% sustainable brand by 2023. After introducing our new collection of swim trunks made of 100% plastic bottles, our next collection is going to include new items such as polo shirts and T-shirts made of organic cotton.
How have you used social media, especially during the pandemic?
Billy: We started a national campaign for the frontline workers. The idea was sparked when our Le Club model posted a photo of himself on his social media geared up in his RN uniform heading to work. He inspired us to reach out nationally to our audience for them to submit to Le Club their ‘everyday hero.’
We received thousands of submissions with so many touching, inspiring stories and in appreciation for the ones that stood out, we gifted them Le Club apparel. At the end of the campaign, our audience—which had exploded—got to vote on who they felt was the everyday hero to win the grand prize, weekend getaway to South Beach, FL, along with a Le Club wardrobe. We felt it was not always about sales, but to connect with our customers in a humancompassionate way.
What inspired you for the patterns you created for SS’22?
Neysa: The idea of a renaissance for our planet in every way and a sense of responsibility and commitment to contribute to a healthier and cleaner world is in our hands. The new sustainable fabrics with colorful floral prints bring that joy of celebrating a better future for all. There is a feeling of hope and determination to move forward together for us and the new generation of kids.