Swim wear designer and vintage lover Amanda Chinchelli Greer talks about the necessity of beauty and the mission of surfing Italy
Interview by Anna Langer, photo by Jana Cruder
I am not a fancy fashion type of person – I like to wear fun, bright and loud pieces, that is why I love shopping vintage so much. I am super inspired by crazy funny and random prints from the 60’s but I really like well made flattering clothes that are classy and wearable every day. That’s is why a lot of my suits are reminecent of the 50’s. I think that the swimsuits made in that era were extremely flattering for many body shapes and could make every lady look sexy – lucky enough for me they are also perfect for surfing!
I created Seea out of necessity. I was tired of weggies and ugly rashguards. I wanted comfort, sun protection and to still be able to look cute in the waves. I was fortunate to have a background in fashion and to live close to one of the best manufacturing centers in the US. It all seemed to lined up perfectly, although it’s really tough work.
I am deeply in love with the sun and the ocean. I was born in Brazil to Italian parents. To escape from the madness of Sao Paulo, my parents bought a house on the wonderful island of Ilhabela, which back then was very wild and hardly accessible. I grew up having the most amazing jungle adventures, running around barefoot all day, every day, swimming and soaking up the sun. As a teen we moved to Florence, Italy, and thanks to my brother Emiliano I started snowboarding. That’s when I really became passionate about boardsports. When I was 14, I traveled back to Brazil and stayed with family friends who lived in Cambury, a famous surf destination. I surfed there for the first time and since then I always thought that gliding in the ocean is the best feeling ever. I am completely addicted to surfing and I can’t stop smiling all day after a surf session!
Surfing in Italy is a mission. You need to be constantly looking for winds and storms and be ready to pack your car and go at any time. The first time I ever surfed in Italy was in Salento in Puglia, with my cousin Alfredo, but I was really only able start going more often after I got my driving license and a car that I could sleep in. I have wonderful memories of driving alone with butterflies in my stomach ready to paddle out at Bagni Trieste or at the Garuglia point.
I ended up in California because I followed my heart. My husband Brian is American. We met in Florence when I was in College, he was a tourist. After 6 years of long distance, he secretly came to Florence and proposed to me under the rain in via Tornabuoni, the place where we met for our first date. After a few months I moved to beautiful San Francisco where he was living at the time.
Growing up I never had a clue as to what I wanted to become professionally. I always loved making things for myself and was a crochet maniac for many years during college – making and selling pieces to local shops in Florence. I never thought I would become a designer, but I started working in fashion right after graduating and ended up founding a design studio together with my brother. After the move to California, I started working at Deluxe Distribution, a well know Skateboard Distributor, handling apparel development and design. Working there was fundamental turning point in my career – with a little guidance, I taught myself how to use design programs like Illustrator and Photoshop, and had the pleasure to work with some really rad, inspiring people!
The Hermosa suit is my favorite piece from our current collection because I think it represents very well what Seea is about: it’s feminine, fun and extremely comfortable! Of course, l love every single piece, but I also love to see which girl likes to wear what.
I think (for me at least) that the style of suit you choose to wear can totally effect your mood, how you feel about yourself, and even influence the way you ride the waves.
Being a designer is not as creative and glamourous as most people think. There is so much involved in each garment that the design part becomes a very small percentage of the manufacturing cycle. Of course, to get a good product you need to start with a strong concept, but that is definitely not enough to guarantee success. My best advice to aspiring designers is to learn as much as possible of every side of the business, from garments specs and construction to social media and merchandizing, keeping in mind that in order for a product to exist, there must be a need for it – it can’t just be beautiful for beauty’s sake. I believe that creativity is for problem solving, estethics are just a point of view.