Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Sep 07, 2013
Tonika Carey’s swimwear and resort wear line showcases the richess of India meeting the airy beauty of The Bahamas
Summer is just winding down, but the major fashion houses are debuting their Spring 2014 collections, and Bahamian fashion designer Tonika Carey is rolling out right along with them. She recently debuted her recently launched swimwear and resort wear line, ToniSea. It’s a brand that celebrates true island life and reflects the natural beauty of island and sea culture.
The ToniSea brand mixes fun and eclectic prints inspired by indigenous cultures with jeweled adornments like that of the ocean floor. It’s about transitional dressing, going from poolside to dining, with bejeweled dresses and printed bustier swim tops.
Her Spring 2014 collection was inspired by two stories — Bollywood Bahamas and Classic Coral, which when combined Carey said just came together.
It was a compact showcase with 11 pieces, which showcased the richness of India meeting the airy beauty of The Bahamas. Indian inspired prints and jeweled adornments combined with cool island tones. Swimsuits were adorned with stones that mimic hanging seagrapes and gold that glimmers like the sun setting on the waters of the Bahamian islands.
The collection started off bigger, but was edited down to core pieces for the launch. Carey gave just enough for people to know who she is and what the brand will be.
The core collection of prints inspired by the ocean floor highlight the collection. The prints are a playful interpretation of the Bahamian coral reefs.
“ToniSea is easy resort living, so there’s no instruction guide that goes with this clothing,” said Carey. “It’s just simple elegance.”
The woman who will wear a ToniSea piece isn’t afraid to stand out in the bold colors with lots of wonderful embellishments.
“The ToniSea woman is always ready. She is bold, bright, trendsetting. She is the luxury island life at its best,” said Carey.
Carey says wearing ToniSea will make you feel like you’re on vacation even if you aren’t.
The ToniSea swim collection is also an eco-friendly collection that uses sensitive fabrics. The line at its core is classic. Carey says she wants her pieces to be comfortable on real women.
“It’s not about terrible tan lines and lots of crisscrossing. It’s simple, wonderful pieces, but with cool prints, fun colors … little things that make you feel happy inside. It really is about transitional dressing. A lot of the tunics we have are day to night — you can lounge by the pool, but then also put on some white jeans with it and go to dinner. And also, a lot of the swim tops are going to be reversible, so you get two swimsuits in one.”
The launch of ToniSea was a labor of love for the young lady whose career started at a leading manufacturer in Milan, Italy, designing prints for well-known brands around Europe and North America. After her design experience in Italy, she returned to New York and worked with a popular accessories design company known for their prints and silk scarves. Carey’s education and experiences coupled with her rich heritage ignited a passion for her design of bold prints and unique patterns which is evident in her collection.
“This has been like a labor of love for my entire life,” said Carey of the realization of her dream.
“I feel excited. It’s something I’ve dreamt about my whole life, and just seeing it happen is just beyond imagination. And there will be many more years of excellent collections,” she said.
Carey, who debuted to resounding applause from the audience during her launch party at the Cain at Atlantis, gave credit to her family for supporting her and said she knows they will be there with her on the journey to come.
With the launch of her swimwear and resort wear line, Carey says people will see an evolution of the brand that’s really going to be all about resort lifestyle and that will move beyond just swimwear and kaftans and for people not to be surprised to see ToniSea pillows, sheets and handbags.
“We’re definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with as this is authentic island life told by somebody from the islands,” she said.
There’s no storefront yet, but Carey has high hopes that one day there will be. The tonisea.com website will go live by next week. The product will be available in four to six weeks. Pre-orders can be done for November.
ToniSea’s swimwear will start at $125 and the pieces will go upwards towards $450 for the tunics that are jeweled out because according to Carey, every girl likes glitz.