Life + Style: Profile
Making A Splash with KOVAS Swim
Fashion Designer Katie Kovas makes custom, datamosh-inspired swimsuits
by Mary Bryce
Portrait by Victoria Stevens
Austin-born fashion designer Katie Kovas officially launched KOVAS Swim last year and took part in Austin Fashion Week with her first collection of suits, which she had been working on since graduating from Moore College of Art and Design in 2014.
Kovas, who is now based in Brooklyn, New York, says she’s inspired by the city’s party culture and likens her swimsuits to little disco balls. To create her unique prints she uses a digital technique called datamoshing. “It involves destroying pixels and creating glitches,” she explains. “It’s like when you’re watching TV and something goes wrong, but it’s beautiful.”
Kovas made her first swimsuit for a colleague who was looking for a sexy but modest suit for a family vacation. Together, they came up with a print based on a piece of art she really liked. The result: the first of many datamosh-inspired suits.
After Kovas posted a photo of that suit on Instagram, she started getting requests from all of her friends and eventually she was getting orders from all over New York City. “People would request suits and give me directions like ‘I want to accentuate my bust, but cover my belly.’ ‘I need something that covers my tattoo for my cousin’s beach wedding, but I don’t want to look matronly,’ and so on.”
As a former competitive swimmer, Kovas applies her understanding of what people want in a swimsuit to create a colorful and unique line that is flattering to a wide range of body types. “I grew up with this idea that to be sexy is to have a sexy body or show off as much as possible,” Kovas says. “But it’s really more about confidence and being comfortable. That’s what I’m going for with my suits.”
“We can be walking pieces of art,” she says thoughtfully. “We’re all special enough to feel that way.”
With her second collection of suits, which she debuted at Fashion Week Brooklyn this spring, Kovas has continued to develop her datamosh-inspired prints in styles that speak to her clients, such as her popular one-piece
suit with a low back and what she refers to as the “cheeky butt.” She’s also begun work on a resort collection of pieces that complement the suits, such as kimonos and cover-ups.
Kovas says she wants to create long-lasting pieces that can easily transition from the city to the pool. Indeed, wearing a KOVAS suit feels more like wearing a piece of art, which is her goal. “We can be walking pieces of art,” she says thoughtfully. “We’re all special enough to feel that way.”
These suits are available for custom order at kkovas.com.