Nomads brings swim and resort wear to size XS through 5X.
According to Women’s Wear Daily, 67% of women in the U.S. are plus-size, defined as a 14 or larger, but only 8% of brands cater to this. So in 2020, Taylor Long founded Nomads, a size-inclusive swimwear and resort wear line that goes from XS to 5X (women’s size 32). Plus-size herself, Long designs her pieces from her West Midtown headquarters. In May 2023, the line was picked up by Anthropologie and is now the most size-inclusive line offered at the retailer. Here, Long discusses how she got her start, her intentions for the brand and what’s up for next season.
You worked as a model for Kohl’s, JCPenney and other big retailers. How did that spark your idea for a swim line?
Yes, and I saw what was available to plus-size women in the swimwear category. I wasn’t always plus-size. I had dealt with my share of disordered eating and played volleyball, so I hadn’t let my body be as it naturally is. I wasn’t aware how abysmal the options are. The average American woman is a size 18 to 20. I decided to explore a size-inclusive swimwear line for my senior capstone collection at the University of Cincinnati. It started as a school project and went into development about two months after I graduated, and I launched in July 2020.
How did you come up with the name Nomads?
The basis for the initial collection, called Sydney, was a trip I had taken to Australia. I noticed that a lot of the prints [at the time] were computer- generated and looked two-dimensional. There wasn’t a lot of texture. I looked at the photos I had taken exploring Australia and thought they’d make really cool prints for swim. From there, I decided I wanted each collection to be inspired by a different destination. The name came from an Instagram story poll. I liked that it was gender-neutral because I knew at some point I’d want to try to get into men’s or unisex swim.
How is your line sustainable?
We manufacture in LA in small batches. Last year I started exploring biodegradable fabrics. We use a yarn called Amni Soul Eco to make the swim fabric biodegradable. If those pieces ever ended up in a landfill, they would break down on their own. For our resort wear, we use biodegradable and compostable viscose. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and I didn’t want to contribute to that. This is my way of doing my part.
How did your partnership with Anthroplogie come to be?
It’s difficult when you’re starting out to get noticed by buyers for larger retailers. I reached out cold to the chief merchandising officer who I knew was plus-size. She was very receptive and responsive, and connected me to the right buyer. I think that the size-inclusivity and sustainability helped me stand out.
What’s on the horizon for Nomads?
We’re launching our resort collection in January and spring in March. We’re putting an emphasis on resort wear and building out full looks around the swim. There are the swim pieces that are our best-sellers, which is crazy to think about because I designed those while I was in school, and they’ve stood the test of time. You’ll have the whole look to take you from the beach and the pool to dinner and beyond. The great thing about those pieces is that they can be worn anywhere.
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