When you picture California, what is the first image that comes to mind? For us, it’s definitely the beach! One of the greatest perks of LA life, is the proximity to some of the most amazing beaches in the world. And, with such easy access to the sun and surf, you better be sporting the best swimsuits around. For some reason though, really rad swimsuits for us ladies are actually harder to come by than you’d think. Most are boring, unflattering or just plain ugly… and the price point - I mean seriously?! We always find it difficult to spend money on two skimpy pieces of fabric that really aren’t that cool to begin with. Until we came across Minimale Animale, that is. Cassandra Kellogg, a certified stylish Cali babe, is bringing flattering and unique options back to the swimwear game. Her styles are super sexy, but in just the right ways. Nothing is too over the top and her cuts even make shorter ladies look like they have legs for days. We were immediately drawn to her different approach on the classic beach bombshell look and will definitely be sporting her styles once LA decides to stop pretending is an Arctic tundra.
A+A: Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a swimwear designer?
C: It was actually kind of by accident. I was going to business school and knew in my soul, as I was signing up for my accounting classes, that it was the wrong thing for me. My mom actually had the idea for me to go to fashion school because she knew I loved clothes so much. Growing up, I would always come up with themes for our dance outfits and style them. I was obsessed! So, with my mother’s encouragement, I went to design school in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I quickly became burnt out because I wasn’t able to do what I wanted (swim) and had to do so many ready-to-wear collections. So, I moved to LA to become a stylist. I started out working with WILDFOX and Alternative Apparel and became really close with them. Luckily, I had plopped myself into a world where everyone was really supportive! The girls at WILDFOX inspired me to start creating my own line and, while working for them, I finally got the chance to figure out my aesthetic and what I liked as a designer, which I never had the time for in school.
I decided to go for it and started gradually making pieces. Sports Illustrated actually pulled my collection before it was even done! That really helped to launch the line. We started doing events with Urban Outfitters, got picked up by Revolve and now we are really gaining momentum. It took a little while, but I think were going to have a cult following. We are starting to get known for the things I want the brand to be known for: pushing the limits and being super sexy and definitely NOT trying to fit in with masses.
A+A: What is the story behind the name?
C: Minimale Animale is the essence of what I’m trying to do with the line: it’s minimalist, but also super sexy. At first it was going to be Wunderland, and it just wasn’t working, so when Minimale Animale came to me, everything kind of clicked! It has a certain mystique…you don’t know if it’s foreign or domestic so everyone can relate to it, and the worlds balance each other out really nicely.
A+A: What has been most inspirational to you in creating this line?
C: I am constantly going back to the 80’s and 90’s. I love the high-cut suits, it’s incredibly flattering and makes your legs look so long! I’m into just barely covering parts of the body; you’re not actually showing anything…but really, you’re showing everything. For example, I did this palm tree suit that is a one-piece, so you are covered in fabric, but its mesh and totally see through. Then, there are two palm trees that cover just enough! I like playing with that illusion. It’s smarter than making a bikini that’s super tiny. It’s sexy in a not-so-obvious way. We also make our own prints instead of buying them. It’s more unique that way. We will sometimes start with a vintage print, but then adjust the colors and the lines until it’s completely different. It’s recycling, in a way. Old school with a modern twist.
A+A: Can you tell us about your new collection - it’s so rad!
C: We just shot the resort look book in St. John. I wanted a castaway feel- complete solitude. This season, I also did some surf suits and some actual clothing pieces to go with the swim suits; things like ninja pants, a long, gauzy dress and mesh shorts. All of them super simple and solid colors. Spring is a Miami Vice theme, which we shot in Miami with a vintage Ferrari! It was so fun!
A+A: Is all your production done here in LA?
C: Yes! The production is all done here at a ma n’ pa shop. It’s a small, family owned and operated business. Because they are so close, it really helps to be involved with every step of the process. It’s like my second home now. I’m there all the time!
A+A: Why did you choose to do this in LA and not another big city?
C: I literally came here to do one photo shoot and never left! I lived as a gypsy for few months- I even lived in some tree houses!- but after we went to Burning Man last summer, we decided to get a house in Venice. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the United States.
A+A: Can you tell us a few of your favorite places to eat in L.A.?
A+A: Do you have a most memorable, “quintessential” LA moment?
C: It would definitely be a moment at some party with my friend Kim. We just had one this weekend actually. A mini-reunion! Having those crazy LA nights where you’re at some warehouse party, a friend’s band is playing, you are covered in body paint and drinking straight from the bottle!
A+A: Love those nights!! So if you could live in any era, when would it be and where?
C: California in the 90’s. The time of the Cali babes, Christie Brinkley, big hair and Baywatch! Musically, it would be the 50’s. I would have loved to see that music performed live!
A+A: Where do you hope to be on your 85th birthday?
C: On my private island, basking in the sunshine with my grandkids, husband and dogs, and let’s not forget, a big, beautiful white house.
A+A: Throughout your journey becoming a designer, is there anything that you’ve learned that you’d like to share?
C: Stick with your passion and do it however you can, even if that means getting multiple jobs or interning. Write or call up the people you want to work with. Work your butt off and make connections wherever you can! Be persistent, gain as much experience as you can, be creative, start a blog, reach out to people! Anything is possible but you have to make it happen for yourself.
A+A: What’s next for you?
C: Broadening the line. I want to move into surf wear and make thin fashion wetsuits. I’d also like to do some more clothing, but always keep it revolving around swim. I’d love to collaborate with other brands as well. I just want to keep doing what I love and for the line to live on! I want it to be a brand that has a lifetime.