On Fashion: Rosie Cook

On Fashion Deakin Blue swimsuits

On Fashion: Rosie Cook

We meet the founder of London-based swimwear brand Deakin & Blue

Words by Liz Skone James

The founder of Deakin & Blue tells us how she came to launch her London-made swimwear brand after struggling to find a suitable swimsuit


Rosie Cook Deakin and Blue Rosie (above) is passionate about encouraging women to feel joyful in their swimwear

Tell us a little about how Deakin & Blue came to be?
In 2016 I was shopping for a swimsuit for weekly swim classes. I owned pretty (but flimsy) bikinis which were great for sunbathing in but slightly more high risk when it came to actually swimming. I looked online and offline, in sports, lingerie and high street stores and all I found were swimsuits that were unforgivably thin, made from a single piece of Lycra, cut extremely high on the leg and without any bust support or shape. I simply couldn’t find anything that combined style and substance, something that was designed for my body shape and also for movement. Ultimately, I wanted something that felt great on and looked good too.

I tacked a sports bra into a high street swimsuit and lowered the leg height. I noticed in this suit that I stood taller with my shoulders back – I was smiling. I realised that when we feel comfortable, we feel confident. I wondered how many women might have cancelled the classes and given up. A bit of research quickly told me – in fact, tens of thousands of women don’t swim or take their children to learn to swim because of how they feel in swimwear. I realised there was a real problem here and that women were missing out.

We launched our first capsule collection back in 2017. Today we design and produce a range of swimsuits and bikinis in sizes 8-24, AA-HH cups. All our styles are made from deadstock fabrics and regenerated yarns and are popular with regular pool swimmers, wild dippers and holiday goers alike. I still swim every week in a D&B, whether it’s dipping in the Hampstead Ponds, some lengths at my local pool or with my young children at their swim classes. Seven years on I still feel fantastic in our pieces.

Deakin and Blue

What’s your brand philosophy?
We’re passionate about helping women to feel joyful in their swimwear. This is mainly driven by how the swimwear fits, so we put an extensive amount of thought and time into design and construction. All our styles are available in three curve sizes (for every dress size). We offer the Hepburn for AA-B cup busts, the Monroe for C-E cup busts and the Hendricks for F-HH cup busts. So, if, for example, you’re a size 14 and a D cup bust, you’d wear a 14 Monroe. This additional sizing ensures you have the right level of support for your body shape. Feeling joyful in swimwear is also about the entire journey for a woman – from when she first thinks about going for a swim until when she is putting the garment in the wash. We think about every step in that journey and how we can bring her confidence, joy and ease. It informs the language we use (who feels good in an ‘extra-large’?) as well as the choice of models in our marketing activity. We work with women of a range of shapes, sizes, ages and races and we work hard to remove male gaze from our photoshoots – the women on set are laughing with girlfriends, feeling relaxed. Just how we want our customers to feel.

Describe your style
Our swimwear comes in a range of shapes, styles, colours and prints with the intention that whether you’re a regular swimmer, winter dipping or planning a holiday – there will be something suitable for you. We have sportier styles with high necks and mesh (such as the Swimbra or the Signature Swimsuit); styles which are made from fabrics better suited to cold dips (such as the Essential Swimsuit); seam-free styles for long distance swimmers (such as the X-Back); and tan-friendly shapes for holidays (the Plunge Swimsuit and Bikinis). Since 2020 we’ve partnered with Liberty Fabrics and offer a range of styles using their heritage prints – they’re utterly beautiful. Many of our pieces are also reversible offering two in one (a godsend for packing), as well as being adjustable to offer a tailored fit.

How do you want people wearing your pieces to feel?
Customers tell us that when they wear our pieces they feel held, safe, and confident. That’s exactly the feeling I want to give our customers. It’s about trusting the piece you are wearing – knowing that it won’t slip or ride up your bottom as you move. Then, you can focus on doing what you’re doing – whether that’s enjoying a beautiful swim, playing with kids on the beach, or simply walking to the poolside bar to order a drink.

Deakin and Blue

Is there anyone you’d really love to see wearing one of your designs?
Our pieces have been worn by a range of familiar faces – ex Olympians, Love Island stars, writers, journalists and more. Shortly after we launched, Myleene Klass was photographed in a D&B bikini on the front cover of The Sun!

I’d absolutely love Kate Winslet or Emma Thompson to wear one of our pieces. Both have spoken so refreshingly candidly about their experiences as women in the public eye, the pressure to look a certain way and particularly around ageing. They are brilliant advocates for rejecting that pressure and working to be happy in your body, at any size or age, and so I’d love to see them sharing this message in a D&B.

What do you see as the big trends in swimwear this summer?
I’d expect to see even more brands talking about sustainability as this remains as key topic across the industry. From a product point of view, I’d expect to see a mix of classic swimsuit shapes with more androgynous, gender-neutral styles, as well as sporty styles which can be worn for activities like SUP. As always with swimwear, it’s a place where women feel they can be more expressive and playful than elsewhere in their wardrobe, so I’d expect fun prints and bright colours.

Can you tell us about the role of sustainability at D&B?
The most sustainable thing you can buy is something that you really love, that fits you well and that is designed to last. You take great care of it, repair it when it’s damaged, and so on – and that’s at the heart of being a sustainable consumer. So, our focus on great fit is also a sustainability priority.

However, we also think about the whole lifecycle of a D&B swimsuit and what we can do at every single stage to benefit the planet and empower the individuals involved in its creation. For example, we think about where the products are made (Hackney), what they’re made from (deadstock fabrics and regenerated yarns), who makes them and how they’re treated, how the products are packaged and so on. We offer a repair service and, when your piece really has swum its last swim, we’ll even recycle it for you, turning it back into regenerated nylon to be used again.

What’s next for D&B?
We’re just hitting our stride with our summer collection and enjoying watching the response to it; we’ve partnered with an organisation called Body Happy Org who work to promote positive body image in children and teens. We’re donating £15 from the sale of every Body Happy Suit to support their work. I absolutely love developing collaborations like this – using our platform to really make a difference. We’ve got a few more impactful collaborations like this lined up. We’re also just finalising the details on some exciting new products that we’ll be releasing this autumn ahead of the next winter swimming season. There’s a lot to be excited about!