style by Andrea Ang

On Individuality and Body Inclusivity with Sandy Cheeks

This local label’s summer collection proves that going to the beach and eating cheetos doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.

The beachwear solution for bigger girls and older women has always been to cover them up in baggy bermudas and logo-ed out rashguards, but thankfully, with a new wave of swim brands, there are actually stylish options for the tropical girl—no matter her size or age.

Sandy Cheeks, for example, has always had a simple mission: to let a girl eat Cheetos and look good on the beach (usually the day after, sometimes at the same time). And with their latest collection, their suits now go up to a 2XL, in an effort to reach out to more women.

Let’s talk heroes. Who are yours?
ALEX: Without a doubt, my mom. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am to have such a strong, passionate, and God-fearing woman show me how it is to cope with every situation—always with a chin up. Hi, mom! I love you!
MAIKA: My heroes are the big dreamers and those who are not afraid to challenge the norm. I am inspired by women who are passionate, hard-working, and unafraid to make mistakes. I find women who wholeheartedly love themselves and are comfortable in their own skin strong and powerful. My mom is one of them.sandy cheeks 2What was that moment that you realized that your heroes had weakness—and how did that translate in how you design your suits? We’re talking swimwear, after all.
MAIKA: Our Sheroes, no matter how confident they are, still have their vulnerable moments. In spite of their confidence, they still want to make sure that they look their best, whatever situation they are in. These women have all sorts of secrets and there may be days when they are poised to share them, but we also found out that sometimes, they would rather just keep it to themselves. This is why we designed our suits with sleeves, wrap around ties, and even a mini dress to conceal what they want to conceal but at the same time still bring out the powerful woman in them.
ALEX: As my mom would always put it, no one is perfect and we must all strive to embrace those imperfections. In this sense, this may have somehow translated into the designs of our suits: to love the skin we’re in!

I feel that your suits are very inclusive, considering how sensitive your designs and lookbook are to different body types and ages. What does inclusiveness mean for you? Does this mean we’re going to see a full plus size line from Sandy Cheeks anytime soon?
MAIKA: Inclusiveness for me is when everyone gets a slice from the same cake. We would like to believe that the Sandy Cheeks cake caters to all types of women. Truth be told, our last collection was meant to be a plus size line but we’ve decided to zoom out and try to hit two birds with one stone.  But still, who knows? Maybe our next line would surprise you.
ALEX: Inclusiveness is celebrating the individuality of all women. It is finding beauty in diversity. sandy cheeks 4How about the two of you? Were any of the suits created specifically for either of you?
MAIKA: Alex and I were in constant search for swimwear that doesn’t require cramming a workout a week before our beach trip. Imagine having to sift through your friends camera rolls approving and filtering photos one by one or even the struggle of having to suck it in when you walk around! You’re on vacation and the last thing you would want to feel is self-conscious in any way. We didn’t want to deal with that unnecessary stress. We needed pieces that are not only photogenic, but are also carefully crafted to hide our non-existent abs. In short, we wanted to make swimsuits that would make women feel secure, confident, and excited to go to the beach with 0 worries in the back of their heads.

You’ve had Andi Eigenmann, Bela Padilla, Carla Humphries, and Tessa Prieto Valdes for your lookbooks. How do you pick your Sandy Cheeks women?
ALEX: Maika and I have been so lucky to be able to work with these women who embody femininity and strength of character. That’s what Sandy Cheeks is all about!
MAIKA: Sandy Cheeks women have to be strong, sassy and bold. Andi, Bela, Carla and Tessa are women of character. They are powerful and endearing just by simply being themselves. We’re so blessed to have these wonderful ladies on board with us. They bring our brand to life!

Andrea Ang
Andrea has an extensive list of interests—including food, urban planning, art, literature, data science–—some of which she uses as a source of income. Formerly the Digital Editor of L’Officiel Manila and Digital Director of Rogue Media, her work—whether visual, written, or in between—appears in various publications.
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