Ten years ago, a tiny Colombian bathing suit shop named OndadeMar in Medellin set out to do something different: to make swimwear sophisticated. To make going to the beach something a little more special, a little more personal and a little more elegant. Mission accomplished. Since then, not only has that one little shop opened more than 30 additional stores—two of them in the United States, both in Miami—they’ve also become the beach and resort source for the sexy set: Jessica Alba and Sofía Vergara have both been spotted wearing their designs, and last year model Elsa Benitez graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in an OndadeMar bikini. Regulars on the glossy pages of Vogue, Elle, Bazaar and InStyle, even the venerable Forbes has weighed in on OndadeMar, identifying it as one of the world’s top swimwear brands. “It’s always exciting for us to see our styles on stars and in magazines,” said Diana Casa, the Colombia-based sales manager for the company. “But what we always keep our focus on is far simpler: making beautiful designs our customers like and want to wear.”
Indeed, they’re much more than stringy bikinis. Their chic silk coverups are one of store’s best selling items, and this year they’re introducing a casual line of transitional apparel that can easily go from beach to restaurant to just about anywhere else. “We travel the world, going to where our customers are, so we can listen to what they want,” Casas said. “And we come back to Colombia and make exactly that. That’s how we came up with our new line.”
OndadeMar’s second American store opened in April at Merrick Park in Coral Gables and a third one is expected to open by the end of November on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. Here, INDULGE tours the serenely decorated Gables shop.
OndadeMar, Village of Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Avenue, Coral Gables; 305-443-7105; ondademar.com.