Courtney Allegra seems like your usual 20-year-old college student… Except she also has model and designer on her resume. Allegra recognized her dream early on and began her career when she at the age of 12, when she first began competing in fashion shows. Since then, her career has quickly evolved.
Her early start has certainly paid off eight years later. Allegra has her very own store on the famed Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, California and her original designs have been worn by A-listers from PLL‘s Janelle Parrish to the original supermodel Janice Dickenson. She also models her own designs and has been featured in music videos for artists like Chris Brown, Kid Ink and TIGA. Having accomplished so much at such a young age, Allegra’s brand doesn’t just sell swimsuits but also emphasizes the importance of staying motivated and being comfortable in your own skin.
Below, the swimsuit designer gives advice for those wanting to follow in her footsteps and provides insight about maintaining a positive body image.
You’ve been designing since age 12. How do you think that’s impacted your career?
Starting this journey so young helped me to get a head start on my business. Even though I didn’t establish my business until I was 15, my designs matured from the time I was 12, so they were well-received by the public. Being a young designer has had its challenges, but it also allowed me to inspire others to reach their goals, no matter their age.
Some people may not have realized their career dream as early as you did. What advice do you have for those who are hoping to become designers?
Stay focused. It’s so easy to jump around from vibe to vibe when it comes to actually designing your line, so try to picture one person or made up character to design everything for so it’s cohesive. NEVER throw away old sketches! It’s always great to save and revisit old designs later on to update them.
If you hadn’t decided to pursue design, what do you think you would be doing instead?
I would probably be a horse riding instructor. I still own and ride horses but I haven’t had time to teach any lessons since I became a designer.
Which swimsuit style do you think is universally flattering on all body types?
I think my South Africa top and Cape Town bottoms are universally flattering on all body types. The top has optional padding for a push up effect and the bottom is ruched so it shows off your assets.
What inspired you to create swimsuits instead of other types of clothing?
I started out designing contemporary pieces for women, then branched into streetwear for both men and women. So designing swimwear is just my latest addition to my repertoire.
What do you think differentiates you from other swimsuit designers?
My suits have sexy and skimpy cuts, but I also offer them in fun and off-the-wall fabrics that I design myself so you get the best of both worlds!
What are your favorite swimsuit trends of the moment?
My favorite trend is showing underboob! I’ve offered my UB top to the public for years now, and tons of celebs like Kim K. and Gigi Hadid are sporting the trend.
What advice do you have for girls who have trouble feeling confident in swimsuits?
Don’t stress over it. People honestly shouldn’t care what you look like in your swimsuit, and if they do they’re just deflecting their own self-esteem issues onto you.
What beach or pool essentials do you recommend for those of us who are heading to warmer climates this holiday season?
Besides a Courtney Allegra kini, you definitely need to keep coconut oil, cute shades and sunscreen in your beach bag.
It’s been a year since you opened your first store, what other endeavors are you hoping to achieve?
I opened my store in September and it’s been doing amazing since then. I would love to open more retail locations in Hawaii and Miami.
If you could only wear one swimsuit for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I would choose the Fiji one piece since it can also be worn as a bodysuit and looks super cute with skinny jeans and heels.
How do you think your personal style has influenced your swimwear collections?
I would describe my personal style as unique but sexy and my designs definitely reflect that through their cheeky cuts and cute (sometimes downright funny) prints.
What do you think, as a designer, is important to do in order to promote positive body image?
As a designer, it’s incredibly important to promote body positivity. Whether it be for print or runway, I’m ALWAYS sure that various body types, ethnicities and ages are represented.