Self-Taught Designer Makes a Splash With Sustainable, Stylish Swimwear

Jersey-based entrepreneur Selina McCoy, founder of Mieux Swim, aims to change how people see themselves in bathing suits.

Mieux Swim’s new eco-friendly Back to Black collection. Photo: Courtesy of DPGotcha

This season, Trenton-based swimsuit designer Selina McCoy introduced the first full bathing suit and coverup collections for her company, Mieux Swim, which launched in 2021.

We spoke with McCoy, 47, about her design concepts, and what makes Mieux—which means better in French—a timely choice for swimwear.

What is the concept behind Mieux designs, and what is the significance of the name, meaning better in French?
The “better” part comes in because as we grow, we’ll offer a fully sustainable brand. Even our fabric choices play a part in being “better.” Our introductory drop used eco-friendly and non-sustainable fabrics. This season, we dropped the Back to Black Collection, and each piece is made from fabric constructed with recycled ocean materials. I know some of the impact of clothing production on the environment, so we use a manufacturer that utilizes solar power to energize their factory for production, creating less pollution. We also value the community contributions manufacturers make toward their own communities as we partner with them.

My mission is to make better production choices for the environment, but also to change how people see themselves in swimwear. The concept behind Mieux Swim is to stick with what works as far as the designs. Swimsuits can be classic or complicated. I try not to overthink [designs] too much, and I keep the pieces classic.

Mieux Swim founder/owner Selina McCoy

Mieux Swim founder/owner Selina McCoy. Photo: Courtesy of Selina McCoy

Tell us about your background.
I’ve never worked in fashion. This is me living out my daydreams in real life. I am currently a special needs school bus driver and have been since 2006. I’ve held other jobs (in hospitals, clinics and doctor offices) to supplement [financially], but it just wasn’t feeding the desire I had to have something that belonged to me.

Mieux Swim is me. It’s mine. It’s a dream that I pulled from my head and made come to life. I was a single mom when I came up with my swimwear ideas, but I never acted on it [at that time]. The vague idea of having a clothing line stayed in a marble composition notebook next to my bed for a few years. I never really turned back to that page of the notebook. It wasn’t until I was laid off due to Covid-19 while homeschooling my two elementary-age kids that I said, I must do something for myself. That’s when the work began. I literally incorporated my business, planned my wedding [and got married], and purchased a home during the Covid years. It was important to me to create my business before marrying or moving. I needed to accomplish something for myself as a [reminder] that this former single teenage mom, and now mother of four, is more than a statistic.

Although my then-fiancé, Shavar, loved me deeply and supported my work by understanding my late nights of focus on computers and phone calls, and my daily rants of frustration from the stress of being an entrepreneur, he knew I had to have this and do this on my own—and I did. Starting my own swimwear line has been about so many things that stir within me that I know my brand will evolve as I do.

Who are your partners in the business?
Mieux Swim is myself, my daughters—Tavyn, 25, does everything from modeling to styling other models—and Sariah, 11, keeps me focused on the effects of social media by showing me what’s cool to her age group. And she is my go-to photographer.

My son, Devon, 30, is my accountant. He graduated from Howard University and keeps my financials sorted, and he literally asks the hard questions when needed. And then Josiah, just about to turn 9. He is my helping hand; he helps me sort, count and do things all inventory.

My daughters have two very different body types. They both have had their struggles with [body] insecurity at times. I, too, have felt insecure, numerous times, when trying things on. But once I saw that both my girls had very similar feelings of frustration with swimwear, I knew I had to do something. They are finding themselves in a world full of filters and social media influencers who flaunt plastic surgery as the go-to fix. I want my girls to know they are good enough, smart and beautiful—but moreso, worthy of having a positive self-image even if the world says different. It truly is how you feel about yourself that matters. Now, my boys—they are learning how to love the authenticity of a female. They are truly witnessing their mom and sisters reinventing love of self, and they are showing more respect outwardly toward women, so it’s all relevant.

Mieux Swim’s Sariah bikini. Photo: Lauriane Ogay Photography

How do you feel your designs encourage people to “value the everyday naturalness of beauty,” as your mission statement says?
My brand is here to encourage self-love and maximize positive thinking about oneself. Let’s face it—I think it’s safe to say we’ve all felt insecure when trying on a swimsuit. But why? Why do we immediately go to a negative place when we [see] ourselves in swimwear? Because we’ve adopted beliefs that we’re not good enough. That’s just not true. The truth is beauty is in our differences—differences in our hair, skin, height and weight. [These differences] add to our value, [rather than] taking it away, and until we start [embracing] positive thoughts about ourselves, we will always feel insecure. I try to include positive messaging in my social media posts and advertising to reflect a better way to think when buying swimwear.

What’s your process as you go from sketch to production?
I draw things that I think would feel good and be comfortable. I have never been formally trained in any of this; I’m literally teaching myself as I go. Thank God for Fiverr and its vast number of professionals, because they have helped me with sizing, along with the formalities of design. The design I’m working on now [started] in my head, is now on paper and is then digitally created with the assistance of Fiverr.

Mieux Swim’s Morgan suit is a vibrant plus-size option. Photo: Deezfilmz Photography

I see you have inclusive sizing. Tell me about your choice to have sizes ranging from 4 to 3X.
I knew that smaller sizes always had access to many choices in swimwear, so I wanted to offer cute, somewhat seductive looks for larger sizes. I am not small—I wanted [styles] for my daughters but also for myself.

Your website says community contributions are a large part of your business model—please explain.
I do get Mieux Swim involved in the community by giving back whenever we can. When the business is doing well, I like to share. We’ve sponsored basketball teams, college [teams], minor National League [teams], soccer teams and swim clinics. We’ve donated to schools, students and parents. It has been proven: When you help others, help is given back to you—and that hasn’t failed us yet. I believe how we have given has played a huge role in the help and guidance we’ve received to help our business.

What kind of reception has Mieux received?
Business is competitive, but I hope people will start purchasing with purpose, instead of buying because a celebrity name is attached to something. Good people are here in small business, but when competing against status and celebrity brands, it can be tough. I believe Mieux Swim is absolutely a better brand, from our vision, mission, messaging, involvement, movement—our entire energy is just different. Mieux Swim has done several community-event fashion shows, as well as a couple New York Fashion Week shows this season. We will be participating in some pop-up shops throughout the summer, so make sure you follow @mieuxswim on Instagram to know where we will be. We also have an email list that offers special coupons and promotions.

What are your biggest sellers?
Our biggest sellers are the Rita and the Bevie bikini pieces. The Aneesah top and the Tanya bottom from our recently dropped Back to Black collection have already become popular. The collection is [comprised of] mix-and-match two-piece suits, and has been a great addition for the brand.

Where is the line sold?
Currently, Mieux Swim is exclusively sold direct to customers on our website,

What is next for Mieux?
We do not currently offer trunks for men, but they are in the works. I’ve drawn a few and had one made into a sample; maybe it will be released next season. I’m deciding how I’d like to proceed in the area of coverups, as I think I could have some real fun in the creation process there. (The ones styled in the pictures are boutique items I purchased to enhance the swimwear looks.) The coverups I like are gender-neutral, depending on what a person’s style is, and we welcome that. If you like it, put it on!

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