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“Modeling is so short-lived; it was really good I had something I loved that was grounding like surfing,” she says.

“You don’t really understand what goes into a brand until you have your own company,” she says.

“Design is just half of it—going through that creative cycle plus having to learn the business side—you have no idea what goes into making a bikini.

The consulting led to collaborations and before she knew it, she had caught the design bug.

“After being in everyone else’s suits for so many years, I decided that I was going to do a few bikinis that I wanted to wear,” she says.

Most recently it was added to the mix at luxury department store Barneys New York, a dream account for a designer at any level.

In November 2015, Jones O’Loughlin won the HONOLULU Fashion Week Pitch Panel, a competition in which top Hawai‘i designers pitched their brands to distinguished fashion and business leaders for a prize package that included strategic and consulting sessions with industry experts.

“Being in a bikini every day, I already had an idea of what I wanted,” she says.

“Brazilian was too small but Italian was too big.” Her signature fabric, a supple Italian-made knit, gives easily but holds up where it has to.

You definitely have to have a vision and something to say, and you have to be really passionate about it because it’s just so much work.” Fast forward to 2016 and the Malia Jones swim and apparel line is not only up and running, it’s thriving.

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