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The Story Behind The Brand


Marla Swim is a love story to my mom, Manuela. Pint sized, Portuguese and full of positivity. Her love for Brazilian bikinis, travel and bronzing herself became the fabric of my childhood. We made memories all over the world, and our trips always started with choosing a new swimsuit to run free in.

I was born in the magnificent city of Cape Town, South Africa – where my mom still lives and I try to visit as much as I can. I may be biased, but this city is one of the most beautiful places on earth and holds a very special place in my heart. It also was our backyard for creating some truly incredible memories growing up. The Camps Bay swimsuit is named after one of the many stunning beaches my sister and I spent our childhood playing on, in our Brazilian style bikinis – yep, we started young! This special city holds so many amazing memories of growing up, but also the holidays, family visits and special occasions celebrated, my wedding being one of them, since I’ve left. 

My sister and I in our Brazilian bikinis on one of the beaches in Cape Town. 

photo of Cape TownPhoto of Cape Town shot by Erin N. McIntosh (instagram @erinnmci)

With my mom's side of the family being Portuguese, it is only natural that we spent some of our summer holidays traveling to Lisbon to visit them. Even though we were unable to speak the language, I have so many fond memories of our times there, the women in the kitchen cooking and preparing what felt like a feast for the queen, talking loudly using their hands, laughing and asking my mom every few seconds what everyone was saying. Our visits to Lisbon were always short and sweet before we would all jump into a tiny Fiat Punto and make our way down to the Algarve (Portugal’s south coast) for our beach escape. So many memories are etched across the Portuguese coastline from children through to adulthood.

Making memories on family trips to the beaches in Portugal.

Whilst I was born in Cape Town and my mother is Portuguese, I also draw inspiration from my European heritage of Italian and Spanish (father's side) and growing up in the UK from my pre-teens and the many places around the world my mother took us on our summer holidays. This influence along with my now Australian life, allows my creativity to go beyond the trends and create pieces that are truly based on where I live, my heritage and all the memories I have made elsewhere.

Swimsuits became, and still are the 'thing' that my sister, our mom and I bond over, representing moments shared together, with each suit holding the memories made.

We are more than just swimsuits, we are swimsuits designed & made for memories made elsewhere.

Carla xx




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