Local swimwear line Kai Lani featured at Funkshion Swim Week

Born and raised in Miami, sisters Jordana Queddles and Jessica Sierralta always knew about the topic of swimwear and bikinis.

In 2000, Sierralta opened Mermaids Swimwear, a boutique in South Miami that sells swim and beachwear pieces and accessories in known brands such as Tori Praver, Lolli Swim, Mara Hoffman and Mikoh.

Seven seasons ago, the sisters launched their own brand Kai Lani, and this year, for the first time, they will be working with Funkshion during Miami Swim Week to showcase their most recent collection: Free Bird.

Kai Lani, which has been seen on celebs like Rihanna, Kourtney Kardashian and her daughter Penelope Disick (above), will be collaborating with Anna Kosturova for a runway show at the Funkshion tent during Miami Swim Week.  Jessica Sierralta chatted with Miami.com about the upcoming show.

KaiLaniSwim1Source: Kai Lani’s instagram

How are you preparing for this year’s Miami Swim Week?
Especially for this fashion show, I’m taking it so seriously and it’s so big for us and we’re so excited to be a part of Funkshion this season. I have been nonstop making amazing VIP bags for our guests and just preparing and getting everything in order; making sure we have the best models; and that our fashion show is on point with the styling.

Tell me about your newest collection:
This is going to be our seventh season doing Kai Lani and the newest collection is called Free Bird. It’s like a late 1960s; early 1970s vibe with a modern twist, and we will have a lot of our signature cuts which we are really known for. We started the original mesh bikini so we’ll have some of that, and our signature v-cut bikini bottoms will still be in the collection but we’re also going to have a lot of new, and we’ll also be debuting our cover-up collection, finally. It’s ready-to-wear and really pretty. We also do our kids styles and it mimics our adult collection.

The 1960s -1970s ‘vibe;’ what does it entail?
We added patches to some of our bikinis. We’ll be having the high-waist look. Denim is a big theme throughout our collection. Lots of roses one of our prints is called Guns and Roses, which is totally 1980s but, also the whole theme of the rose styles. We’ll also be doing ombre tassels and a lot of lace.

Why did you name the theme Free Bird?
I feel like the song “Free Bird,” we just love it, my sister and I and it’s just a good representative of the 1960s and 1970s from that song.

Are you and your sister Miami girls?
Yes, born and raised in Miami. I’ve been in the swim industry for more than 25 years so I have lots of experience in swim.

How many years have you been involved and doing swimwear?
I was 16 when I started. I worked at a local swimwear store for 16 years, and then I started my own swimwear boutique in 2000, so 16 years ago I opened Mermaid’s Boutique in South Miami. Then seven seasons ago my sister and I felt like there was a need in the market for something new and fresh so we started designing our own swimsuits, so we got started.

Where can clients buy your swimwear?
We are in 40 different stores, we are online, we are in Revolve, so it’s not just in Mermaid Boutique.

As a swimwear connoisseur, what do you look for in a suit?
I look for comfort, quality, something a little bit flirty and fun. I love prints. My sister and I are such print girls and we are really known for our print. They’re really strong this season.

What would you say is trending at the moment within the swimwear market?
Brights, that bohemian feel, high waist, high neck suits. Metallics are really big. We’ve done so well.

This coming collection, why is it appropriate for a Miami buyer, or any buyer that is looking for a suit?
It’s pretty on trend. I happen to be scrolling through the major companies and I’m like, “Wow, I had no idea that patches were going to be such a big hit,” like Valentino and some of the big designers and all the purses. I feel like it’s really on trend this season and all of our seasons. Patches are big, denim is big and I feel like the whole 1960s and 1970s vibe; it’s not going anywhere.

Are there any color preferences or signature styles?
I feel like we’re doing red. Red is a big theme within our fashion show. We’re also doing some palm prints, stone grey and dip-dyed ombre tassels.

What are some of your favorite spots in Miami to go to and hang out?
My sister and I do go out a lot. We are the biggest foodies, so we are always at new restaurants, always going out and about, so I like the Pawn Broker rooftop bar. Our favorite sushi place hands down is Makoto at the Bal Harbour Shops.  We love going to the 1 Hotel rooftop bar.

What is your favorite part about Miami?
How diverse it is. There’s just such a great mix of people and the vibe of Miami. I could not live anywhere else. I have never lived anywhere else. It’s such a great mix of different people. You go other places and it’s not that much of a melting pot. I love that. I love the spice of Miami and how fun it is and great nightlife and the beach. My family and I go to the beach all the time.