Updated: Mar 14
A couple of months after the SEA Games brought surfer Beckie Liu to the Surfing Capital of the North, the Singaporean founder of swimwear brand Haikini came back with an exclusive bikini collection for, and inspired by, the “seasterhood” she found in La Union.
“When anyone asks me about La Union, I always tell them that the people here are the best,” says Beckie Liu, owner and designer of the swimwear brand Haikini. In December 2019, she found her way to LU as a competitor for Singapore during the South East Asian Games. With her characteristic hustle, Beckie -- who built this 3-year-old business when she was just 22 -- had “made a commitment to come and train for the competition one month before it began,” which, to no surprise, didn’t only prepare her for the weeklong festivities and challenges of the regional contest, but gave her the opportunity to become a part of the community.
Just under three months later, on March 8, Beckie launched the latest collection of Haikini with a posse of wahines that paraded the bikini line around surftown. The bikinis were displayed at the retail store and events space, Open House, and the first 20 customers enjoyed discounts for multiple sets purchased, as well as cocktails that night at neighborhood bar, The Shrine of Satisfaction. “I’ve been extremely blessed to meet so many beautiful souls during my first trip,” she shares. “I’ve never felt out of place here because of how welcoming they were in sharing their space, their food and, of course, the waves here in La Union.”
In 2017, she founded Haikini with the dream to make “bikinis that stay on,” as the tag on her latest collection reads. Driven by fashion and functionality, Beckie focuses on swimwear that is comfortable, affordable, and practical in and out of the water, and for all body types. “Ikigai,” which she calls this collection, takes from its Japanese definition as “a reason for being.” For Beckie, “It is your reason to get up in the morning, to enjoy the meaning of life… It is your THING that makes you think life is beautiful.” She incorporates tie-dye into the prints of this collection to represent the uniqueness of the individuals she made it for, emphasizing that this design technique doesn’t produce any two patterns that are the same. “Just like how nobody can tell you what your Ikigai is,” says Beckie, “It is yours to figure out, and through that process you learn more about yourself, your passions, and your purpose in life.”
The collection has sets named after some surf spots around the Philippines: Mona Liza and Carille for LU, Rock Island and Cloud 9 for Siargao. “Being from Singapore, a country with no waves, I’m always looking for different spots to practice surfing and meet other surfers from different parts of the world,” says Beckie. Before coming to LU, she had already met Daisy Valdez (“One of the best female surfers in the Philippines who lives here,” according to Beckie) while surfing in Bali. This dynamic in forming friendships is another signature to the Haikini brand, which Beckie uses to nurture a “seasterhood” of female surfers that go on solo surf trips, together.
“Most of our female surf camp goers are from Singapore now, but we’d love to open it up for girls here in the Philippines,” shares Beckie, “We would also love to have the opportunity to bring our customers to surf here in the Philippines.” The surf camps are usually 5-day trips that include surf lessons with video analysis and surf theory, accommodations, a complimentary Haikini swimsuit, and a day trip to local sites. The surf camps are intimate, with about 4 to 6 girls only, per trip.
While the eventful weekend has passed – to an astonishing success that featured more than a dozen sets sold during launch day at Open House in La Union – the friendships that Beckie has made in LU are sure to bring her back. “We’ve all kept in close contact ever since I left after the SEA games,” she shares, “I promised myself that I have to visit my friends here every year as they have honestly changed my life for the better!”
To sign up for the Haikini Seasterhood surf camps, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive dates and details. The Haikini “Ikigai” collection is available at Open House while supplies last. Check out @haikini.co on Instagram.