The #ChicaBoss and CEO behind Virago Swim gave us a peek into her empowering journey to make women feel beautiful in their bodies.
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Leslie Marmol, Virago Swim
Credit: Bryan Johnson/Courtesy of Virago Swim

Even for many fashion lovers, finding swimwear can be a daunting process.

Beyond finding a style you like, stepping into a dressing room to try on a swimsuit can awaken the worst parts of your insecurity, leaving you feeling defeated and unempowered.

Through Virago Swim, Leslie Marmol is looking to change that.

The Dominican CEO of this luxury swimwear line started out in the fashion world later in life, following her childhood dream after she had a child of her own.

We sat down with Marmol to chat about how she helps inspire women to celebrate their beauty and feel confident in their own skin through her designs.

Leslie Marmol, Virago Swim
Credit: Bryan Johnson/Courtesy of Virago Swim

How did you get your start in the luxury swimwear world?

After I had my daughter in 2006, my body changed, and I found that swimwear didn't fit me properly. I can recall sitting in the dressing room at the mall and feeling so vulnerable and so uncomfortable with how badly all of the swimsuits were fitting me. I knew this was something I never wanted anyone else to feel.

That moment was a turning point for me. I decided that it was time to create my own line and release the designs I had been working on for years: swimwear that caters to all different body types and makes women feel strong and empowered.

I wanted to be an example for my daughter that no matter where you are in life, you should be able to pursue your dreams and failure should be the last thing that you are worried about. Because if you if you fail, at least you tried.

Virago Swim
Credit: Faruq Adib/Courtesy of Virago Swim

Where does the name come from?

I chose the term Virago because it signifies a strong female warrior and that's who I'm designing for. My goal was to create a brand of inclusion for all women because we all are strong warriors. I wanted a name to reflect that and to be strong.

How do you empower women with your designs?

When I design my pieces, I'm always thinking of all shapes because at the end of the day, you can put anything on and if you're confident, you're gonna slay.

I want to make sure I portray that in the way I style my website and when I'm styling photoshoots with the models. I make sure I'm choosing models that look different, that are shaped differently, because growing up, I didn't see much representation for people that look like myself.

Virago Swim
Credit: Zavier De’Angelo/Courtesy of Virago Swim

I wanted to use my brand in a way where if my daughter were to see a campaign that I've done, that she could see herself, or if my sister were to look at it, she can see herself.

Why is sustainability important in swimwear and how do you promote it with your brand?

We're in a time right now where it's crucial that we are mindful [of] how we contribute to the environment. There are so many fast fashion companies that are overproducing because we're used to getting everything so quickly, but at the end of the day it's creating so much waste, and it's not worth it.

Virago Swim
Credit: Faruq Adib/Courtesy of Virago Swim

I value transparency and quality over quantity. I'd rather put more money towards luxury fabrics, and not create a humongous line in the hopes that it will sell out. I create based on demand.

What's next for the brand?

I would love to continue to grow and use my platform to empower and inspire women. I would also love to expand to other areas of designing and get my designs in physical locations as well.