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April 21 2014

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Model Slash: Swimwear Designer Tori Praver

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They’ve got the face, the body, a portfolio full of ad campaigns and editorials shot by top photographers in the industry, and a runway roster to match. But with our new “Model-Slash” feature, Style.com profiles girls whose ambitions and drive extend beyond the catwalk.

Life is a beach for IMG model Tori Praver (pictured), who was discovered at age 12 while shopping with her mom at a local grocery store in Maui, then went on to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues in 2007-2009 (and other publications including Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour). In 2008, the blonde bombshell parlayed her experience modeling swimsuits into designing them when she launched her own namesake swimwear line, which has doubled in sales every year since. This Saturday, Praver will present her new Resort ’13 collection during Miami Swim Week (which officially kicks off Thursday) with a cocktail party at Laure Heriard Dubreuil’s The Webster. “I love the feeling of being in Miami at this time. Everyone is so excited to show their suits and there is such a good summer vibe everywhere,” Praver, who is showing for her fourth time at Swim Week, told Style.com. She continued, “It’s my chance to show new designs to every major swim buyer and editor in the industry at one time—and it only happens once a year.”

Growing up surfing in Hawaii, Praver had “literally drawers and drawers of bikinis, and always saw herself designing them down the road.” To get things going, however, she needed an extra push. “I was on a Sports Illustrated shoot and told the editor, ‘Well, one day I want to have my own swimwear line,’ and the editor responded, ‘Why wait? You should start it now,’ ” Praver explained. “So I did, and somehow the stars aligned.” No kidding—Praver just so happened to meet the owner of a swimwear factory while vacationing, then before she knew it, she was drawing silhouettes in her down time and churning out samples. “The whole thing has definitely been learn-as-I-go, and I made a lot of mistakes, but it was just for fun and not my main source of income. I never expected it to become a job in and of itself,” Praver said. At this point, it appears Praver’s bathing suit business has, in fact, eclipsed her modeling career—the line is now sold at top retailers like Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Webster, and Intermix.

Each piece (sold separately) is double-lined, seamless, and often features Praver’s signature, flattering micro-ruching. “The best part is actually seeing girls and, believe it or not, sometimes their moms and even grandmothers at the beach in my suits,” she says. In the future, she plans to introduce a small capsule of ready-to-wear (cover-ups, mostly) and continue to grow her brand organically. And when she’s not on business in New York, Praver makes sure she gets plenty of beach time—let’s call it research? “The L.A. area is definitely more laid-back. That’s where I’m doing most of the actual designing, meeting with my factory, maybe surfing, and definitely a lot of yoga,” says Praver, who considers Venice Beach home (where she lives with her fiancé, pro surfer Danny Fuller, who recently snagged the new Chanel Allure Homme Sport fragrance campaign).

Photo: Courtesy of Tori Praver

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  1. Kmariah says:

    That swimsuit looks great on her and I’m login the print :-)