The Victoria’s Secret supermodel and founder — and Costa Brazil’s most recent collaborator — Candice Swanepoel sounds off on what inspired her to create Tropic of C, her eco-minded swimwear line: “Nature, beauty and Brazil.” Sound familiar?
Not long after the birth of her first son, supermodel Candice Swanepoel took to social media to share her own thoughts around real beauty. “My account @angelcandice was made as part of one of my work contracts, so I felt a certain restriction to what I could and couldn’t share,” she says over zoom from her home in Miami.
Called @themermaidfiles, the secret page is filled with black and white photographs of mostly makeup-free women in simple two-pieces lounging on boats or in the sand, juxtaposed with snaps of tropical islands and pink flowers taken on someone’s iPhone. Besides a few familiar faces now and then—Gisele Bundchen, Claudia Schiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Candice—the whole page feels incredibly down to earth.
That brand, called Tropic of C, is an eco-minded swimwear and lifestyle line that uses materials like regenerated nylon for their suits (many of which are made from compression fabrics that hold you in no matter how itsy bitsy the cut is, she says) and plastic alternatives for packaging. Still, despite all the team’s hard work to be environmentally responsible, sustainability wasn’t a big part of their messaging in the beginning. “I didn’t want to advertise it—I just wanted to sleep well at night,” she says. “When you’re a mother, you think so much about the future of the planet, and what kind of future our kids are going to have. I just needed to make it make sense.”
In addition to her family and nature, Candice counts Brazil as one of the biggest inspirations for Tropic of C. “That’s a topic I could talk about all day,” she says, recalling her first trip to the country. She was 17 and in love and well into her modeling career at the time. “I had a kind of anonymous freeing feeling in Brazil, and it became a way for me to balance work Candice and the real me,” she says, adding the close connection the country has to South Africa made her feel instantly right at home. “I was fascinated by the confidence of Brazilian people. The way they wore their clothes, their routines in public—people would take half of their bathrooms to the beach! There is this ease regarding feeling comfortable in your body. Brazil is where I learned how to be comfortable in mine.”
Read more from the mother, supermodel and founder, in celebration of our new collaboration, “Swim & Skin.” Ten percent of all sale proceeds will go to Conservation International, a nonprofit in support of the Amazon.
Let’s talk about your connection to Brazil. How has it inspired your work and approach to beauty?
Brazil is a topic I could talk about all day. At 17, it became my place of peace and discovery for many years. At the time, I was already dealing with the weight of my career and, having left South Africa at 15, I needed a place where I could feel normal and simply be young. I got this kind of anonymous freeing feeling when in I was there. At the same time, Brazil also feels closely connected to my African roots, so I automatically felt very at home.
Tell us about the early days of Tropic of C.
I had an account called @themermaidfiles that only a few fans and followers had access to. My account that was ‘angelcandice’ was made as part of one of my work contracts, so I felt a certain restriction to what I could share. From there I started dreaming of being able to share exactly what I thought was beautiful and that’s how the idea to have my own brand came along.
When did you decide to make it sustainable?
I remember it so clearly: I was at the table being shown many plastic bags and labels to see how I wanted Tropic of C to look and that’s when I said I wanted the team to research alternatives for the packaging. I wanted to create a brand I could be proud of and that wasn’t harming the very thing that inspired me most, which is nature.
Tropic of C was one of the first if not the first swimwear brand to be focused on sustainability, as swimwear is made from nylon, it was my mission to use materials that were already existing as well as partner with companies that use fishing nets and other waste from the ocean. That said, I didn’t want sustainability to be the tagline—I just wanted to sleep well at night.
“When you’re a mother, you think so much about the future of the planet, and what kind of future our kids are going to have. I just needed to make [Tropic of C] make sense.”
The name, Tropic of C, does the C stand for Candice?
It’s meant to stand for Tropic of Capricorn, which is the southernmost latitude where the sun hits directly overhead. It’s where the summer begins, and never ends. A mystical place where it’s always warm, and you’re always in a bikini. That said, my team does call me C….
So, it’s both?
They also call me “Clark Kent” because I’m able to switch the model part on and off while working. One moment I’m directing the vision I have in mind for Tropic of C, and the next I’m in a bikini doing what I do in front of the camera with the odd breastfeed or meeting in the middle. It sounds a bit crazy—and it definitely is—but I enjoy the diversity of it all.
So, what do you find to be beautiful, or rather, sexy?
Brazil is such a sexy place, and in my career, I’ve played with what is sexy and what is not. To me, the balance of elegant and sexy is what’s most beautiful to me. Coverage, but with the slightest high cut or small straps, gives feminine sexiness to me.
Sliding into a supermodel’s DMs is often unsuccessful—a fact Candice Swanepoel is quick to acknowledge—but when Francisco Costa popped up in her inbox, she felt compelled to respond. A self-professed fangirl of the Brazilian designer’s work, first as the women’s creative director of Calvin Klein and now as the founder of sustainable beauty line Costa Brazil, she admits that his 2000s-era looks were prominently featured in the debut brand brand book for her eco-conscious swimwear label, Tropic of C. “Minimalist perfection,” she says of Costa’s sleek and thoughtfully considered pieces.
It makes sense, then, that the two would team up for a collaboration that both honors and directly benefits the environment, specifically Conservation International (a.k.a. CI). Costa announced the forthcoming limited-edition bathing suit, co-designed by himself and Swanepoel, to an intimate group at Soho Beach House in Miami on Saturday night, at a dinner toasting CI’s efforts to protect and restore ecosystems at a global scale. Lais Ribeiro, Isabela Grutman, and Ana Khouri, dressed in breezy separates and skin-baring tops fit for the warm weather, were in attendance to celebrate. (All proceeds from the collection will directly benefit CI.)
“It’s been lovely to see how generous she [Swanepoel] is, and how somebody of her stature and voice can make a difference,” said Costa to the crowd, before thanking CI and ELLE for their continued support and co-hosting the event. As models mingled with each other and enjoyed the family-style dinner of burrata, grilled sea bass and broccolini, and skirt steak, rain clouds formed overhead; fortunately, a light drizzle didn’t stop anyone from relishing in the tropical climate. “We are here for the environment,” quipped my seatmate, pointing toward the full table of guests, who laughed and posed as Polaroid cameras authentically captured the casual, slightly wet, vibe.
Public Appearances > 2022 > November 19 – Candice Swanepoel attends a private dinner to present Tropic of C x Costa Brazil partnership
Candice Swanepoel attended the GQ Men Of The Year Awards in London with fellow models Jordan Barrett and Stella Maxwell.
Check out more photos in our gallery.
On her birthday Candice Swanepoel was shooting for Schutz‘s High Summer 2023 campaign that has been officially launched on November 9th.
The photos can be seen in our gallery and the behind the scenes video shared by the brand in our social media.
Advertisement & Campaigns > 2023 > Schutz
Advertisement & Campaigns > 2023 > Schutz [Miscellaneous]
On October 19, 2022 Schutz revealed their Fall 2022 featuring Candice Swanepoel.
You can purchase the collection at their website.
A signature style of supermodel Candice Swanepoel is that sleek, shiny, swoop. Creating an effortless look, the ‘Supermodel Swoop’ will have heads turning- and it’s easy to recreate at home. Watch along as Candice breaks down her quick and easy-two-step routine, and you’ll have hair that is runway ready in just 3 minutes.
Director/Producer: Amanda DiMartino
Editor: Amanda Alvich
Supersonic Hair Dryer
Large Boar/Nylon Hair Brush
FTC: Not sponsored. Some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small percentage of sales made via those links, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra ✨
Tropic of C x Jacquie Aiche released on October 13, 2022 a new collaboration including nine pieces.
This month, jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche and supermodel Candice Swanepoel’s eco-conscious swimwear label, Tropic of C, have collaborated to create an accessibly-priced capsule collection of body jewelry.
The Jacquie Aiche x Tropic of C collection offers nine styles of Jacquie’s signature body layers in 14k gold plated brass with cubic zirconia bezels, which include body chains, belly chains and anklets.
“This collection is inspired by body love. When the opportunity to collaborate with Tropic of C came to be, I was over the moon. I have always wanted these sensual, playful pieces to be available to more people. I’ve found that they illuminate the body with a golden glow that inspires self-love and makes you shine a little brighter. Tropic of C celebrates the body through their classically beautiful swimwear with timeless silhouettes. Pairing our luminous jewelry layers with the pieces in their collections truly creates the perfect set,” said Jacquie Aiche.
“I’ve been wearing Jacquie Aiche jewelry since I was a teenager, speciﬁcally her body chains. This is why I was so excited to collaborate with her and bring my favorite pieces to all the girls that love Tropic of C. I love the messaging behind all her beautiful creations and the brand she has built has inspired me for years, standing together as powerful spiritual sensual women. I hope you will love the pieces as much as I do,” said Candice Swanepoel.
Tropic of C has launched their resort 2023 collection featuring dresses, bikinis, one pieces and cover ups.
chico short in desert flower ($150)
his&hers shirt in desert flower ($200)
his&hers shirt in white ($175)
ilha top in driftwood geo ($85)
luna bottom in driftwood geo ($80)
pitcher bag in lily pad ($125)
pitcher bag in white ($125)
playa rashguard in driftwood geo ($150)
porta dress in white ($200)
praia bottom in desert flower ($70)
praia bottom in espresso ($70)
praia top in meadow ($80)
sirenas in driftwood geo ($170)
sundew tank in white ($125)
swim short in black terra ($85)
the C dress in black ($180)
Shop now the resort collection at tropicofc.com
Tropic of C > Collections > Resort collection 2023
Tropic of C > Mailing > Resort Collection 2023
Tropic of C > Miscellaneous > Miscellaneous resort 2023