Charleston is brimming with talent these days, and Citrine Swim is part of this movement. Local designer Caroline Robinson and her partner Erica Segerberg started their swimwear line on the beautiful island of Maui, but always had their southern roots in mind. Their one of a kind designs, soft fabrics, and custom prints are as original as it gets. View more to learn about their inspiration, design process, and their story behind the brand.
Photographer: Ashley Camper, Model: Leila Thomas
When did you launch Citrine?We launched at Charleston Fashion Week in 2013How did you come up with the name?Erica has a citrine ring of her grandmothers that’s very sentimental to her, which is where we first drew the name from. That paired with citrine being “the success stone” it felt like a perfect fit for our new company.Why swimsuits?Erica and I met while living on Maui, but are both originally from the south (Erica is from St. Simons, GA and I’m from here). While living there we came up with the concept for Citrine Swim after realizing that no one was making suits for girls on the east coast (specifically the south). We have designed Citrine always keeping the southeast ladies in the forefront of our minds, but also trying to bring some of the styles and fits that inspired us while living in Hawaii.What were you doing in Maui before you moved to Charleston?Russell and I moved to Maui originally to enjoy the beauty and lifestyle of the island. I worked retail while living their, which eventually developed into making jewelry full-time (I started TOR Jewelry early on while living on Maui), and then I opened a small boutique in Kailua on Oahu (where we lived the last year we were out there) called TOR Boutique.Erica worked for a swimsuit retailer in Paia on Maui where she not only helped manage the shop, but also styled photoshoots, etc.When did you move to Charleston?Russell and I are both from Mt. Pleasant, and as beautiful as Hawaii is, it was only a matter of time before we felt Charleston drawing us back. We were in Hawaii for about 4 years and moved back here at the beginning of 2013.When we moved back I had already established TOR Jewelry and was selling at a number of retail locations in Hawaii and California. Citrine was in the works and ready to launch just about a month after moving home. Russell was in retail as well, having managed a high volume Volcom store in the heart of Waikiki, and struggled a little with what he would do once we moved home (knowing he could never go back to or be happy in a 9-5 office job). So, opening a store seemed like the perfect solution for us. We opened Drift in April of last year. Originally we had mens and women’s clothing, bags, etc. as well as TOR Jewelry and Citrine of course. At that point Russell was running the store and I was running Citrine (along with Erica of course) and TOR, as well as doing the womens buying and merchandising for Drift.At the end of last year Angelo, who owns Parrot Surf Shop in Mt. Pleasant, approached Russell about joining together and opening a store downtown on upper King. This is where Channels was born. After lots of discussion we decided the smartest thing would be to move all of our mens gear to the new shop downtown, and I would take over running Drift (now all women’s) so that Russell could run Channels. It has definitely been a whirlwind of a year and a half, but we feel very blessed to have been presented with all the opportunities we’ve had and for the amazing support and business we’ve had from our community, family, and friends.Drift is now an all womens boutique inspired by our travels and life in Hawaii. We have women’s clothing, including 4 lines out of Hawaii, the full Citrine Swim and TOR Jewelry collections, and lots of other accessories, gifts and goodies from around the world (including Turkey, Bali, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru) and made in the USA.What was your inspiration behind this collection?We are always inspired by our experiences in Hawaii, which is what inspired our “King of Fruit” pineapple print, as well as our travels, especially to Bali where our line is made. All of our suits are seamless which allows them to lay smoothly as opposed to “digging in” along the edges. We’ve tried to design a little something for everyone.What is your design process? Do you gather inspirational images, source fabrics, ect.Being that Erica and I don’t live in the same place, our design process typically takes place over hours and hours of Skype meetings. We pull inspirational images, sketches, photos, and swatches from everywhere.Where is your collection produced?Bali, Indonesia which gives us a great reason to travel there once or twice a year!!Has living in Charleston influenced the design of your collection?Our original vision for Citrine was to create a swim line for the ladies in the southeast because we felt no one was making suits for them specifically, so of course, being from Charleston, this is the area that I have always had in mind during the design process.