Choosing a swimsuit to wear during the summer months or on a warm weather getaway notoriously causes stress in many women's lives. Celebrity Fashion Designer, Leila Shams, decided to change that with her new brand TA3, the world's most body sculpting swimsuit that doubles as a layering body suit. The suits cinch your waist, flatten your stomach, and lift your bust. The fabric is ultra-matte and supportive which also works well with jeans and a blazer.
TA3, is the word EAT backwards. Leila disliked the way she looked in swimsuits and wanted to be able to eat but also look good at the pool. It took her almost three years and hundreds of prototypes to create something waterproof that also sucks you in.
The brand recently launched two styles: zippy & lacey and are available on the website.
Leila developed a celebrity following with her first eponymous line. It was loved by mega stars like Kim Kardashian
, Kendall Jenner
, Katy Perry
, Vanessa Hudgens
, Kelly Clarkson
, and Nicki Minaj. She has also designed-directed multi-million and billion-dollar brands like DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger
, and Express.
I spoke with Leila about the inspiration behind her brand:
Can you speak to the early days of your design career? When was the moment you realized you had to pursue design and fashion as a career? What were those early moments like?
I can't remember ever wanting to be anything but a fashion designer. I was always artistic, and my mom was very into fashion. Her looks were always completely over the top. She made her own jewelry and shopped constantly. There was definitely an element of wanting to impress her.
You design-directed many well established brands throughout your career including DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, and Express. What was something you learned from those experiences that helped you in your own business TA3?
I learned that fashion isn't really the place for creativity. That takes a LONG time to learn. Most of us become fashion designers because we're creative and we design a lot of unsaleable stuff in the beginning. But it's a business, especially in New York. You need to make things people actually want to wear. And hardly anyone wears crazy things. The trick is to put a small twist on something, not reinvent the wheel. What you really need to succeed in fashion is intelligence, personal style, and an obsession with sales.
When did you know it was time to launch your own brand?
TA3 is my second brand. I launched my first "LEILA SHAMS" collection while I was design directing big brands. I had all this creativity that needed an outlet. I did everything I love: giant animal prints, hardcore embellishment, heavy washed leather. Stylists and celebrities loved it. It was worn by Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry... But it never made any money. Now I paint when I'm feeling creative. I design garments to make my customers look and feel better.
What was the biggest surprise from launching TA3?
How easy it was to sell! OMG such a dream. I launched this summer when so many women were feeling self conscious about their quarantine weight gain. It was incredible making women feel good about themselves in such a tough year. I just hope I can meet the demand come spring. It's been a rough winter for all of us.
Where did the inspiration from TA3 come from?
I've always been self-conscious about my stomach and it made me dread wearing a swimsuit. It bothered me so much that I decided to get lipo. Afterwards I had to wear a surgical compression garment. The garment blew me away, the sculpting was so intense. I realized that if I had a swimsuit that had the same level of shaping I would have never gotten surgery. It took me three years, but I created it!
What do you hope you will accomplish with TA3 in years to come?
I want to change the way we fit and size clothing. Women's bodies vary so much by height, torso length, bust size, body shape. Now you can have an apple shaped 5'2" woman with a D cup and a 5'9" pear shaped woman with an A cup both wearing the same size. It makes no sense. I have multiple torso lengths and bust sizes in development. Eventually I want my customers to use their phone to scan their body and then give their fit. It'll be something neutral, like "aqua."
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I always love hearing what women are looking for in a swimsuit.
For more information on TA3, visit ta3swim.com.
Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping.