The feeling of SWAG: Durham businesswoman embraces all body types in new swimwear line

Melanie Warnes, mother of four, transforms her grief to achieve her dreams and empower those around her.

A soft and stretchy cover-up, the SWAG attaches to a swimsuit and attempts to prevent feelings of exposure and intimidation at the beach or pool. (SWAG)

Businesswoman Melanie Warnes searched high and low for the perfect bathing suit. She strived to find the perfect one-piece, something that was not matronly and boring. She desired swimwear that made women feel feminine and pretty, but still covered up. 

Despite her best efforts, Warnes could not find what she was looking for. She decided to create her dream swimwear herself. 

“So, years later, as I was struggling to find swimwear that met all my criteria, I started playing with the idea of a sheer cover-up that just stays on,” said Warnes. 

Thus, SWAG was born. A soft and stretchy cover-up, the product attaches to a swimsuit and conceals insecurities in both the sun and surf. Warnes’ goal is to prevent feelings of exposure and intimidation at the beach or pool. 

“We think of SWAG as a real life filter; it helps camouflage cellulite, scars and stretch marks. Women can walk around the beach or pool and feel elegant,” said Warnes. 

SWAG means comfort. It means beauty. It means being. It means loving the skin that your in. It feels great!

— Karla Noland, SWAG Model

Kinsey Wennerstorm, SWAG’s Chief Financial Officer, looks to embody this feeling of empowerment, no matter someone’s age or size. “We aren’t about covering up our bodies and covering up ourselves. We are about flaunting our figure and being proud of who we are as women…We wanted women to feel beautiful,” said Wennerstorm.

It sounds cliche, but I’ve learned that even in the darkest of times, hope for a different future is the thing that can get you through.

— Melanie Warnes, SWAG Founder

The inspiration for a cover-up design called “The Zoe,” meant to fit loosely and gently follow an hourglass figure. (SWAG)

Warnes views SWAG as more than just a cover up, but as an outlet. “I began trying to create the prototype about nine months after my husband unexpectedly passed away. At that time, my grief was still really heavy, but thinking about this idea, dreaming about what it could be gave me some light, lifted my sorrow a bit,” said Warnes. 

The passion for embracing all aspects of life–the good, bad, ugly and very personal–radiates from everyone involved.

Karla Noland, a SWAG model, spoke about why she was compelled to participate in the company. ”I love Melanie’s story and I can resonate with it so much. Her late husband passed away two years ago. She was inspired to create SWAG in his honor…I just love that you can live through grief and continue to honor your loved one and to still celebrate those wins,” said Noland.

The brand will be launching their formal website on June 21st and the first SWAGs will be delivered in July.

Life is actually really messy and never like what we see in swimsuit ads. Being a part of the SWAG community means acknowledging that.

— Melanie Warnes, SWAG Founder