Meet Your Maker: Amanda Chinchelli Greer from Seea Swimwear

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posted by James Willmott

Fusing the elegance of retro design with modern, innovative cuts, fresh colors, and contemporary prints, Seea was first born on the Californian shores in 2011. The label prides and crafts itself on domestic production and sustainable design, always ready to provide the ladies of the water with the best products for their next surf session, ready to attack any line up to their full potential with both style and grace.

We caught up with Amanda Chinchelli Greer, Creative Director at Seea to get the insight on how the label was born, find out the inspiration behind each new collection and get the low down on a typical day in Seea HQ.

Hey Amanda! thanks for taking the time to talk to us! What’s been happening in your creative world?
I am dying to start designing prints for 2017, I am so inspired right now. I recently visited my family in Italy for several weeks and did a lot of research there and in Paris.

Tell us how Seea Swimwear was born?
Seea was born out of necessity. I needed a suit to wear while surfing that was functional and stylish. I designed a couple of suits, sewed them and brought them on a surf trip to Costa Rica. Finally I could move freely, was protected from the sun, and most importantly, I felt good in them. I knew I was onto something and I had to share it with the world. We started with a small production run and placed them in a select group of independent surf stores and boutiques. The reaction from the shops was so positive – their support and the enthusiasm from the customers themselves is really what gave me the push to make Seea happen.

Where is the Seea Swimwear HQ?
Seea is located in San Clemente, California. After years of designing from the nooks and crannies of our home office, we finally made the move into a small warehouse space just up the road in the San Clemente business park. This means I will be finally getting out of the house and will be wearing shoes again!

Describe the team in 3 words?
Family, multi-talented, stoked.

Walk us through a day in the office?
Coffee and emails, catching up with the team, surf break, lunch then either more design time, or hands on pattern work with new prototypes. With surfing as my passion, work and play flow together, but the best part of the day is putting both on pause and picking up my daughter early from daycare. We have an old VW van from the 80’s, so I’ll throw some toys inside, pick her up, and head to the park or the beach for an hour before coming home to cook dinner.

What do you get up to outside of work, any interesting hobbies?
Sewing and making things were my hobbies before they officially became “work,” but when I am not “working” I still seem to be creating things, even if it’s just me and my daughter making a mess. Between work, surf, and family time, there’s not much time left for anything else.

Give us a run down of your morning routine?
As anyone with a young one will tell you, the morning routine depends on when they get up! In a perfect world, I’ll snuggle my daughter in the bed for another half hour or so, then we head downstairs for breakfast. Annabel, our daughter, usually decides which record she wants to listen to. She likes to dance with her daddy, so after a few tunes and a struggle with socks and shoes, they head off to daycare and I get ready for a work.

How do you prepare for a new collection and what is the design process from first putting pen to paper and then eventually seeing the finished product?
I am not too much of a thinker. I just work. The evolution of a suit or of a print is very different every time. Designing the textiles is what takes the longest for me.
Inspiration comes through time spent travelling, vintage shopping, and surfing with my friends. Like any good Italian, I have a soft spot for designer apparel, and I often find myself imagining how to translate runway looks into something you could actually surf in.

Favourite places to travel to?
Tropical surf destinations and Europe.

How do these travels help inspire any prints, materials or cuts on the Seea products?
In Italy I shop a lot, of course, but I also go to museums, or just post up at a café and people watch. When we go on surf trips the inspiration comes from testing and talking to the Seeababes about what they need and what I feel I’d love to see them wear.

What music will we find on your ipod?
All sorts… from Oldies to Electronic music, Bossa Nova, Indie, Classic Hip Hop, Reggae, you name it. Thank goodness for Spotify! The record collection is pretty eclectic as well – mostly 70’s Americana but there’s a good selection of Brazilian and Italian records from the 60’s that we inherited from my mom.

What’s your ideal Sunday?
Pancakes or French Toast, double surf session at San-O, taking turns with my husband playing with our daughter at the beach. Then pizza at a real Italian restaurant. Go watch the sunset then in bed for a movie.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee forever, I am Italian c’mon!

What will we catch you wearing from the latest collection?
Santander flowy one piece, Solanas full printed surf suit and the Adria bikini.

What can we see coming out of Seea Swimwear in the next year?
The 2016 collection is full of variety, flowy one-pieces, super retro cuts and even a cat suit (sleeveless full length Lycra suit) you can surf in with side cut-outs and tassel details. We introduced a new material we call C-skin. It blurs the line between swimwear fabric and neoprene and is extremely comfortable. I finally went through all the photos for this new collection and there are some unbelievable shots in Panama and in the Canary islands, and we are still planning on another fun getaway in December. My muse this year is Leah Dawson, her style is sublime and her persona is a true inspiration and motivation.

Who is one person you’d love to see wearing Seea?
Sophia Lauren, and if she was still with us on this earth, the amazing Rell Sunn.

Tell us a random fact that not many people would know about you?
I graduated with a degree in Political Science with no formal design education.

Are you an early bird or late night person?
Early bird, but not by choice!