When conceptual designer Aria McManus produced a limited-edition art piece last July for the Special Special Gallery in New York City, she had no way of knowing that her “SPF” installation—a unification of swimsuit and towel—would one day go to market.
But guess what? It TOTALLY did, and according to McManus, her 100% cotton Towelkini is now available in-stores and online for the not so low price of $199.
“No need to carry a cumbersome towel and an easy to lose swimsuit,” reads her “Special Special Edition” label. “Here they come as one, materialized as ideal.”
Available in limited edition hot pink, athletic gold and lime green, Towelkini promises to ‘put the OW back in towel’ while ‘keeping the baes at bay.’
“Follow suit,” jokes the artist turned marketing savant. “Make this the one piece you’ll get laid on the beach in.”
McManus, a graduate of Parsons the New School for Design and jack of all traits—whose whimsical approach to form and function include Butter Candles, Bodega Bags and Instinventions—says her original intent for SPF Towelkini was to highlight the Special Special Gallery.
“SPF is a metaphor of the Special Special logo, a blue oval that is the pool of water to be submerged for creative dialogues,” wrote McManus, adding that the fluid arrangement of various artist projects evokes the spirit of a poolside retreat while offering New Yorkers “a refuge from the sweltering heat.”
All kidding aside, swimming with sharks in an ill-fitted beach towel sounds like a cul-de-sac of labia problems to me.
Imagine stepping out of the water with a full load of seaside gravel that’s wedged inside your lady parts like broken glass, spilling out of your whispering eye as you walk back to the place where your towel would have been had it not been strapped to your back.
Uhh…can you say, “Hard pass!”?
Still, I have to admit that the terry-cloth swimwear looks pretty badass when it’s belted and dry.
Or used as an art teaser on city streets.
And the mini-version, made specifically for kids, is equally quirky and fun.
In addition to her extreme towel makeover, McManus is also the brains behind Downtown Girls Basketball, a league in NYC designed for girls only ‘who are specifically bad at basketball,’ and co-founder of the Auto Body creative platform and project space in Bellport, Long Island.
Though the notion of swimming in a towel may seem like a joke to some, McManus is nowhere near throwing in the towel on this stark-raving clad Towelkini.
“It has been interesting to watch something grow from the inside,” she told TeenVOGUE during a recent interview. “I love seeing everyone’s unique reactions.”