Megan Balch & Jaime Barker
Co-Designers, Flagpole Swim
Current home: New York City | Hometown: West Palm Beach
When best friends and West Palm Beach natives Jaime Barker (left) and Megan Balch announced they were naming their line of posh swimwear after a popular beach in Palm Beach, they were met with a sea of blank stares. For those who weren’t raised in South Florida, the designers explain, the name has little meaning. Luckily, their debut collection (think über-gorgeous swimsuits and elegant cover-ups) required no interpretation. The talented 26-year-olds, whose designs won rave reviews at this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, show no signs of stopping. They’ve wrapped up their Resort ’14 and Summer ’15 collections, launched an e-commerce destination site and set their sights on men’s and children’s swimwear.
- Favorite swimsuits from their current collection: The Joellen (Barker) and The Maggie (Balch).
- Tips for selecting swimwear: “Don’t buy what’s ‘in’; pick the suit that makes you feel the most confident,” Barker says. “Try on at least one suit outside of your comfort zone—you might be surprised,” Balch suggests.
- Greatest achievement: Seeing Erin Andrews wearing the duo’s Charlotte bikini top in the December ’13 issue of Self magazine.
- Their experience showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim: Kind of scary, they say—it was the first time they displayed their collection to anyone other than their families.
- Favorite Palm Beach store: The P.B. Boys Club surf shop for Barker and Michelle Farmer Collaborate for Balch.
- First designer item: Barker: “A Donna Karan Collection dress from a sample sale.” Balch: “A Chloé dress for prom that I still wear.”
- Childhood secrets their mothers might share (but they never would): “I used to run around outside with Waterbabies dolls in nothing but my underpants,” Barker says. “I wore slap bracelets around my neck and pretended they were chokers,” Balch confesses.
- Advice for budding designers: Get an internship and become a big sponge. Take all the free insight you receive, and recognize opportunity from others.
Photography by Anders Wallace, NYC