So often, queer culture is about showing up and standing up for political and social rights and against injustices. And that’s all extremely important—but also extremely tiring. Self-care seems to be the 2019 buzzword, and we all need time to compress and reset, even if we are fighting the good fight every day.
That’s where ES Collections’ Bon Voyage swimwear line comes in. The folks behind the line are all about expanding into more sizes, styles, and gender presentations, and they donate clothing and money to good causes. But they also recognize that sometimes, we need to slip into something a little more comfortable and hit the beach. We chatted up Nir Zilberman, U.S. agent for ES Collection, about the new line, what it stands for, and when it’s appropriate to just take a damn vacation.
Talk to us about this exciting new collection and what makes it unique.
Well, at first, people would complain that what we made was too ‘sexy’ and only in small sizes, but now this is for everyone; it’s not just an L.A. collection. It’s really important to me that it doesn’t matter what state you’re in; even someone from the most conservative state can find something here.
So, what was the inspiration behind the Bon Voyage Collection?
Every season, we change the theme, and this year, we decided to call it Bon Voyage. It’s about taking a vacation, an escape from politics. Sometimes you just need to run away and enjoy life, nature, everything around you; this collection goes from very wild and fun and sexy to conservative. People of all ages can wear it. If someone is worried the collection looks too ‘young,’ there is something for them, too.
It’s so important to just take that time for self-care.
Yes! And time off from all the pressure, the work, take care of yourself, relax and enjoy, whether you are 20 or 50. We forget to take care of ourselves. we wanted people to know, especially the gay community, that it’s OK to take time off, go and have fun, enjoy the world,. This is what we need, and if you actually look at the collection, it’s very gay-forward. It’s masculine, but you don’t feel uncomfortable. Say you’re in Colorado and you want to go to Vegas or India; you can go and feel comfortable with just these pieces.
Why do you think that’s so important, specifically for queer people?
Our community is in constant battle, and not just in the U.S., but all over the world. We’re fighting against several countries where homosexuality is still against the law, primarily in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. Then there’s Russia and the anti-LGBTQ Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. It’s never-ending. But every once in a while, the community needs to stop and reflect on the achievements we have made. We need to enjoy what our predecessors have given to us, the rights they have won for us.
That’s very true; there’s a lot of work to still do, but if we aren’t stopping to enjoy it, what is it all for?
Exactly. We deserve to celebrate our accomplishments, especially this year, as it is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the start of the LGBTQ rights movement.
How do you specifically let the queer community know that these products are for them?
We design the collection in response to what is going on in the community. I remember a few years ago, we had a collection that was all about our DNA, because at the time, the government was telling the community we were not good enough to serve in the military. We were good enough to fight and die at wartime, but not good enough to be in service during times of peace.
We wanted to speak out on that, and we did, with a collection that was much darker than Bon Voyage. We chose to go in a more hopeful direction this season with bold, fun, colorful prints, and fashion-forward cuts and designs that specifically appeal to the gay community. We also included many rainbows. The collection is meant to inspire people in the community to laugh and have fun.
What are your plans for the future? Anything cool you want to announce?
From the beginning, it has always been important for ES Collection to align with charities that support HIV, AIDS, gay marriage … We continue to do so, and I can say with confidence that as long as we are in business, ES Collection will never stop supporting and giving to organizations that fight for LGBTQ equality. We see the LGBTQ community as one shared voice, and we must fight for equality together.
Photos by Alejandro Brito
Models: Oliver Buendia, Amaia Izar, Alejandro Cifo, Thomas Busson