updated 7 Mar 2009, 10:49
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Tue, Mar 03, 2009
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Cruising with cindy
by Windy

Supermodel Cindy Bishop takes notes on everything she sees on her travels outside Thailand, a habit that helped open a new career for her as a designer for swimwear brand Jantzen.

Cindy, who's part American, English, Thai and Indian, is yielding to Middle Eastern influences in her designs, returning from trips to Jordan and Morocco with notebooks full of sketches of carpets and the pressed leaves of plants.

"Love is in the air," she wrote on one page pasted with flower petals forming a heart. She's happily married, but what in particular prompted that flash of creativity she won't say.

In Morocco she bought brightly coloured fabrics to inspire her next collection. In Jordan she recorded the hues of the desert, sky and sea.

Once Cindy has discovered a fabric she likes, she draws designs for it in her notebook, complete with all the little details, from polka dots to bows. From these sketches the factory manufactures new swimsuits.

Harder than it looks

It sounds easy enough, but Cindy admits the job isn't perfect.

"It's a dilemma every designer faces," she says. "You want to do something really artistic, but in the end you have to make something that sells."

Cindy loves bikinis, but most Thais are too conservative to wear them, so her collection features longer tops, halter tops and skirts.

And the economic recession isn't helping. Fashion shows are less ritzy than they used to be, with organisers keeping in mind the buyers' dire straits.

So Cindy's keeping prices lower, nothing more expensive than Bt4,000 (S$171).

Still, she has no trouble meeting her profit targets.

And she's not losing sight of the fun aspect of her work: As well as sneaking bikinis into her collection, she's designing swimsuits for couples - matching items like the his-and-her trunks with the words "Just married" printed on the derriere.


Cindy, age 30, is also managing director of the Seafari dive centre in Pattaya and is brand ambassador and co-importer of Leluu activewear from Australia.

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