Last February, three knit bikinis created by Milford, Mich. resident Magdalena Trever were featured in the 49th annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. One of her crimson bikinis was displayed on the issue’s cover model, Kate Upton.
In July, lightning struck twice when Trever, 26, was once again asked to provide her unique creations for the internationally known company and its models.
“The three women (in charge) that style and do the whole swimsuit spread actually came and met me in person. They specially picked suits from my line,” Trever said. “They told me they already shot five of my suits, but I’m sending them 30 this year. It’s kind of a dream come true.”
Getting her start
Trever moved to California to attend the Academy of Arts in San Francisco. After graduating at the age of 23 with a degree in knitwear, Trever attempted to get into the fashion industry but with a different type of clothing than she currently makes.
“I got into it (bikini design) by accident,” Trever said. “I finished school and I was going to go into sweater design when I got asked to do a fashion show. I ran out of looks to show so I threw in some swimwear.”
The last-second addition of swimwear proved to be a turning point in Trever’s career.
“The people who put on the show asked me to do it again but said ‘just do the swimwear, everyone loves the swimwear,’” Trever said. I realized I had something there, and after that, every other week I was doing these fashion shows in California. That’s kind of how I got my start … it happened by accident.”
Setting her line apart
Trever relies on her custom design methodology to set her aside from swimwear-making competitors.
“I know that what I’m doing is really hard and kind of a pain in the butt,” Trever said. The knit work on her bikinis allow them to hold up to everyday wear, unlike most knit bikinis that stretch out over time.
“I think it’s going to be about money (with major label competitors) and (their products are) going to be mass produced, Trever said. “You can’t get the quality of what I do while selling it any cheaper.”
Trever also said a portion of her success in designing bikinis stems from her refusal to pay attention to current fashions, relying instead on her intuition when creating swimwear.
“I’ve never really followed other designers or upcoming trends,” Trever said. “ I like doing unusual things that people haven’t seen before.”
A future full of fashion
For the last four months, Trever has been travelling to promote her work, including a trip to New York City to meet with fashion insiders. Most recently, Trever was in Miami for Fashion Week 2012 where she was personally approached by Teen Vogue, Self Magazine and Women’s Health — all of which wanted to showcase her work.
Having magazines show interest in her work pleased Trever, but the ambitious young woman has larger aims in mind.
“I hope to turn this swimwear line into a men’s swimwear line and then maybe a full clothing line and accessories,” Trever said. “I hope to grow and have my name become a real name, like a staple in 20 years. I want this to be a family business that I can pass down.”
Trever, along with two other women, have already developed a clothing line for QVC.
“I’m making my collection bigger and bigger while focusing on bikinis.” Trever said. I’m also doing some wraps and some knit bags that you can use at the beach but take out during the day; I’m trying to make stuff that’s multi-functional.”
An insider’s view
While her current level of success might seem unattainable to young entrepreneurs trying to get into the industry, Trever maintains her path can be duplicated, albeit with great commitment.
“It’s fun to be challenged… but this business is so hard; it’s working 24/7,” Trever said. “It is difficult, but all the struggles… it’s definitely worth it.”
“Anything can happen,” said Trever. “You just have to stick with it. If you keep sticking with it, all those ‘no’s’ will become ‘yes.’”
For more information on Magdalena Trever and her products, visit her website, maggiemayswimwear.com