Feminine and modest: designing a better swimsuit

For years, Catherine Huss’ twin passions were evident: faith and fashion.

The 30-year-old Catholic never felt her faith was at odds with her penchant for clothes. But the career path she planned for herself seemed lonely. She didn’t know of any other Catholic fashion designer.

Catherine Huss

“I haven’t seen anyone do it,” said Catherine, who grew up in Coon Rapids and attended Epiphany, a vibrant suburban parish. “It became a big motivator: ‘Okay, I guess I have to do this.'”

Catherine shuttled between two campuses in St. Paul, studying Catholic studies at St. Thomas University and clothing design at St. Catherine’s University.

The famous Catholic curriculum has imbued it with the Church’s rich tradition of faith and reason. During this time, her sense of social justice was sparked by lively class discussions about the production of ethical clothing and the dignity of the human person.

Studying in Rome for a semester in the Catholic Studies program confirmed her desire to chart a new course.

“I had this interesting conclusion that in Rome there’s a church or two in every block, and then there’s going to be a fashion house right next to the church. They share a wall! she said. “So, I had this phrase: ‘Chiesa to Marchesa.’ Church to Marchesa, a famous fashion designer. It was a fun juxtaposition – but also a wink from God or an affirmation, with God saying, “Catherine, I see you and I hear your heart’s desires, and I am with you.”

After college, Catherine moved to California to work in the fashion industry. The time off provided during quarantine during COVID-19 inspired her to finally make her dreams a reality and launch a swimwear line. She named it Siena and Co.

“It’s been a desire I’ve had since I was young, and what it really took was for me to take that first step – to pursue it,” Catherine said. “You can’t move a parked car. God is everything and does everything, but he also needs our cooperation.

For her debut collection, The Classics Collection, she strived for simple elegance, designing black swimwear that didn’t reveal too much or too little, honoring the female figure in a demure and majestic way. A high waisted swim skirt. A wrap top with a skirt. A classic bathing gown. They are all made with sustainable materials, sewn by fairly paid workers.

Last fall, she launched a Kickstarter campaign that worked as pre-orders for her debut collection. His goal for the 30-day campaign was $30,000.

“God is going to keep the doors open or he is going to close them,” she thought. “It was very positive to achieve the goal. “Yes, people want that! »

It would take time for those pre-orders to be processed, delayed by supply issues, but the swimwear – around 200 orders – shipped in May.

Catherine’s day job, working on a contract basis for a clothing company, recently ended, and now she’s determining if she can turn Siena and Co. into a full-time job – her dream. She is looking forward to designing new collections, introducing color and designing camouflage.

A driving force is his desire to uphold the dignity of every person. “If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you worry less about what you’re wearing and can therefore be more present to others around you.”

A single Catholic, Catherine knows what it’s like to feel awkward in a bathing suit. There were social gatherings that she skipped for this reason. “Before I made my bathing suits, I was embarrassed, ‘There are going to be men in this hot tub and you guys are really close together.'”

She hopes her swimsuits can empower other women this summer.

“Zoom out and remember where your identity is,” she said. “How we look in bathing suits doesn’t matter to the people who love us. They just want to be with you.

To see Huss swimwear, visit siena-co.com. Hus also posts on Instagram at siena_co.

Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights.


Key words: Catherine Huss, Faith and Fashion

Category: Twenty Something

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