After a season hiatus, Hot Girl Summer has commenced. But what actually makes a Hot Girl Summer, you ask? Well, driving the boat, girls’ night outs and most of all, looking like a bag of money. Houston designer Maci Jackson has you covered, or uncovered, with MMI Swim — a brand that will turn heads on the sandy runway.
Starting off with coordinated clothing, Jackson decided to take a different direction and fell into swimwear. In just six months, two collections have been released titled, Animal Galore and Animal Galore 2.0 as MMI Swim turns to the wild side with zebra, cheetah and giraffe prints, as well as rich mocha and nude hues.
“I feel like animal print is timeless,” Jackson tells ESSENCE. “It resonates with me as a black owned business because it’s kind of a tribute in a sense having the browns and the neutral vibes to it.”
Bringing out one’s inner sexy was one of the key elements from MMI Swim, with all the suits ranging from revealing to something more modest. The “Nikki” one piece, a backless cheetah print suit that ties around the neck, is ideal for anyone trying to show lots of skin. While the traditional bikini lover will instantly want to add the Cassie Bottom 2.0 and Erin 2.0 Top to their carts as it features a giraffe print with the upside down bikini top look. For the subtle hottie, find the perfect vacay slay with the Kenya 2.0 one piece, which features a circular embellishment and mocha finish.
Ranging from $32-$75, affordability meets multiplicity with MMI Swim and brings new meaning to the phrase: more bang for your buck. Just take for example the Kia or Miya Top, multi-use garments that can easily take you from the water all the way to date night.
“Especially now, if fashion is great quality, it can be used in multiple different ways,” says Jackson. “You don’t have to just wear it to the beach — put it with a cute little blazer. I actually wear coverups as outfits, it’s just the way that you feel comfortable and I feel like swimwear is a great addition to that.”
Check out what Jackson has to say about the inspiration behind the line, how to multi-use swimwear pieces and the secret to MMI Swim’s success.
ESSENCE: When you first experimented with MMI you were creating co-ords. So how did that transform into swimwear?
Jackson: It transformed into swimwear for me because it’s something so fun, vibrant and popular. I feel like you can sell swim all year round, so I really wanted to go into that first and branch off into other parts of design. That includes still making co-ords, handbags and other different things that you would want to take on your trips.
ESSENCE: What are some ways that you continue to differentiate MMI from other swim brands?
Jackson: Well honestly I think it’s just all in the delivery. That includes: how you take your photos and how you market. I think that’s what makes any business different from the others. Your quality, your customer service, how you treat people, how you treat your clients — whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, email, overall how you decide to do business. There’s so many great people out here designing and putting out different things, but it’s about how you treat your customers and let them know that they are valued. I believe that’s how my business has been so successful in the past six months.
ESSENCE: What is your favorite piece and how would you style it from the daytime to nighttime?
Jackson: My favorite piece so far that I’ve been wearing almost every weekend is my Kia Wrap Top because it’s so universal. Girls can wear it as a cover up, to the beach or with a cute little bottom if they’re going to a bar, club, to dinner, a just a day out. It’s literally been selling like crazy. If I’m going to brunch, I would say my Kia Top with shorts and a nice wedge or heel in general with a summer bag is ideal. If I was going out to dinner, I would wear it with a mini-skirt — something very flowy. I’m all about sexy.
ESSENCE: Who are three celebs you’d love to see in MMI Swim?
Jackson: I definitely would love to see Meg Thee Stallion, Jayda Cheaves, and for sure Chloe Bailey. Chloe’s just so confident in her skin and I feel like she would just be such a great person to have in my swimwear.
ESSENCE: Can you give us any teasers for your next drop? Do you have a name in mind or is it still in the early stages?
Jackson: I can’t wait till I start bringing some new pieces to MMI. I’m still a small business so I can’t push out product as quick as a designer who has the backing, but I’m very excited for this new collection that’s coming out. It’s going to be very bright, solid colors. Hopefully that comes out very soon. Businesses are still trying to bounce back from COVID, so it’s still a little slow. I don’t have a name for the collection, but I do have the whole photo shoot process already and creative direction in my head.