At 18, Courtney Allegra has achieved more success in fashion that many designers who have dedicated their whole lives to the field. She designs fun and flirty swimwear in San Diego where she grew up. In her free time she partners with The American Cancer Society, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Never Leave One Behind. Photographed by Lauren Engel, hair styling by Yuhi Kim and makeup by Caitlin Wooters using Make Up For Ever. Lingerie: Perilla Lingerie
How did you begin sketching designs?
I’ve been sketching designs since I could draw. My earliest sketches were of ball gowns and “princess stuff.” By the time I was fifteen, my sketches evolved and my favorite staple for every collection was an a-line leather skirt.
Where do you look to for inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration everywhere. My bikinis are named after various places, so travel definitely inspires my designs. I also get inspiration from movies, like my metallic collection of bikinis, which was inspired by one of my favorites–Zoolander.
Was there anyone who inspired you to start designing?
I wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular, but my early designs were inspired by Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana. As far as swimwear goes, I inspired myself to start designing simply because I couldn’t find the “perfect bikini.” I wanted a bikini that showed off all of the right assets while still keeping things on the fun side rather than the sexy side.
Are you completely hands on in your designing from sketching to the manufacture or do you have help?
Although I’m completely hands on, I have lots of help and support from my team. After I sketch a design, I take it to my sample-maker to bring it to life. I’m also the fit model for my line, so I have to adjust the sample suit to my liking while I’m wearing it. It’s a long and sometimes frustrating process, but if I weren’t hands on, my designs wouldn’t portray my vision.
The swimsuit industry is very competitive–brands keep starting every second, what about your brand differentiates from the rest?
My brand is unique from the millions of other brands out there. Courtney Allegra Swim offers youthful and fun prints in super sexy cuts. What’s cool is that my bikinis allow people to be not just sexy, but fun too.
Where do you see your personal brand in five years?
In five years, I see my brand being sold in boutiques and department stores not only across the US, but internationally as well. I also want to collaborate with other designers on special collections!
You mentioned before you do pole dancing and horse riding–when did you start and do you perform?
I’ve been riding horses since before I could walk. I started training in various disciplines from the age of six, and I compete on the international level in show jumping. About two years ago, I started pole dance just to have fun while getting a good workout. It’s turned into another passion of mine, and I hope to start competing in the future!
Other than designing, pole dancing and horse riding, what do you do in your free time?
I have too many hobbies to list. Music is my third passion– I’m a drummer. I’ve been playing for almost 5 years now and if I weren’t a designer I would definitely be in a band!