Feature Interview: Simone Michelle Neilson

Simone, the quintessential Misim Beach Babe

We’ve previously had a virtual chat here with the designer behind the MisimBeachBabe swimwear brand who is now also a carnival costume designer. Today, we are catching up with her because there has been a lot of new developments since we last spoke.

So here is Simone Michelle Neilson!

A lot has happened for you and your brand within the last year, how did you manage to score your own section for Crop Over in Barbados?
SO much ! Haha, but I’m so grateful for that. This was my second year doing Crop Over with XhosaBarbados. Initial contact was made through an owner of a private section in 2016. They had done some research, asked around (regionally, I assume) and they heard about me/my brand a couple times, and simply asked “we would like to know if you’d be interested in designing a section for a band for Crop Over?” LITERALLY a dream come true. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to design for an international carnival, so I said yes without hesitation lol. Turns out Xhosa is one of the leading bands for Crop Over as well!

How was the experience of designing a carnival costume?
STRESSFUL lolol. BUT I absolutely LOVE it! There’s a lot that persons do not see when it comes to the process, like walking miles up an down New York City’s Garment District with pounds of fabric and gems lol. Its a bit tedious garnering supplies but its so worth it. There’s also a lot to consider re body types and skin tones, and what will flatter most combinations. It can also be frustrating at times because there’s a theme to maintain, but for the most part, being able to create such an exciting piece of work is truly freeing, and inspiring. It allows me to challenge my design eye and push my mind further. Often times I end up with so many ideas, i don’t know what to choose lol.

Simone presenting her section in 2018’s Xodus Carnival line up

Where did you gather the inspiration for your costume design?
This year’s themes for Xhosa was PURE, with allusion to good vs evil. Our sub theme was along the line of Flying Fish, a staple in Barbadian folklore, where the women of the section were seen as the Fish (good) trying to be captured by Fishermen (bad). Was an interesting take on the theme, which resulted in the section titled “Jewel of the Sea”.

Will we be seeing costumes designed by you in more carnivals in the future?
For sure !! Currently working on some items for Monday wear for Trinidad, Jamaica’s Carnival in April, potentially Caribana in Canada and hopefully I’ll be doing Crop Over 2018 again.

We’ve also seen a bridal gown from you for a competition. Can we expect to see more?I’m really interested in Bridesmaids gowns and I’m working on a line specifically geared towards that. Really want to maintain my presence in the evening gown arena.

from xoduscarnival.com

You just spent the summer at OTIS in California taking some fashion classes, what types of classes did you take?
I did a Textile Design course which was SUCH a breath of fresh air and eye opener for me. I used it to help me in creating my fabric for my last Wanderlust collection. I also did a sewing workshop in order to fine tune some of my sewing skill.

What can we expect to see from you and your brand as a result of all of this development, training, and growth?
More exclusive fabrics! as well as new styles with more technical details and hardware 😉

Sayulita from the Wanderlust collection

You have been doing lots of travelling lately and giving us serious wanderlust, share with us some of your highlights!
One of my favourite trips this year has to be the one to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands in August 2017. It started out pretty rough, my bag was left in Jamaica lol, but its such beautiful place! I truly enjoyed the time i spent there. The beaches and sunsets are breathtakingggggg. A true island girl’s paradise. I also Jetskiied through some of the really shallow and clear waters, going to smaller islands off the coast of Provo. It was a great experience, an even better way to relax after all the Crop Over excitement lol.

Keep up Simone and the MisimBeachBabe brand by following along on Instagram here.

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