Q&A | Marcella Franklin of Haight

by Morgan Vickery


Marcella Franklin is the founder and creative director of a Rio-based swim sophisticator. Mastering her craft at a local RTW brand, Marcella went on to create Haight in 2015 with visions to redefine the industry. Under her thoughtfully curated design lens, she caters to a globalized and creative troop of sea goers.

Haight hones an authentic, ethereal minimalist aesthetic, which transcends traditional Brazilian swim norms. Dual in their functionality, Haight swim carries its wearers from day to night. Now on their fourth year of operations, the brand has grown exponentially, expanding in their categories and collaborations.

In conversation with Marcella, we discussed the Haight look, sustainability, and collaborative collections:

How did the brand name come to be?

It comes from a district in San Francisco; I really liked how it sounded.

Tell us about your swimwear experience prior to Haight.

I worked for an independent ready-to-wear Brazilian brand as the womenswear line designer. Since it was a small brand and the production wasn’t so segmented I had the opportunity to participate in the creation of a variety of products. For one of their fashion shows, they collaborated with a big Brazilian beachwear brand which gave me the opportunity to finally design swimwear-- a turning point in my early career that would lead me to start Haight a few years later.


While working for this Brazilian fashion brand, you recognized a void that your own aesthetic could fill. What kind of aesthetic is that?

You simply couldn’t find pieces that would easily cross over to evening wear, with a more sober and earthy range of tones or using less obvious materials. So, I decided to create a line focused on a minimalistic perspective of the Brazilian culture and beachwear, with vintage silhouettes and minimalistic, well-cut bikinis.

What does traditional Brazilian swimwear look like and how do you approach it differently?

The mainstream Brazilian beachwear culture tends to follow a very clear stereotype involving lots of prints and sexy silhouettes. We use materials that would initially be considered too sophisticated for beachwear, or in the very least, unlikely, including knitted fabrics and crêpe. Beyond that, we use asymmetric cuts, new colors (which are chosen to enrich natural skin tones) and the best possible finishes. It’s often in the detail that we manage to imprint the authenticity and identity of the brand, thinking of small volumes, proportions, effects, ribbing, among other resources.

What are Haight’s design priorities?

We are focused on good quality fabrics, impeccable finishes, and well-cut pieces that adapt to the users’ body, making them comfortable.

Tell us about noble lycra and the other technical fabrics used in your suits.

We use noble lycra from a Brazilian company. We opted for the best quality, and nice cold touch fabrics, UV protection and biodegradable, the pieces are also lined with lycra, which helps how they fit the body. We also use crêpe as a sophisticated alternative to swimwear and a delicate transition from the beach to the city.


Is sustainability something you’re focused on?

We try to reduce the use of plastic in our packages and prioritize the production of durable clothes. All of our products are produced in Brazil, where we can make sure everyone involved in the production of the pieces is working under fair and healthy conditions. Haight is also continuously seeking to learn new forms of reducing our impact on the environment.

You recently released your second collaboration with FILA. How did the idea come about?

Fila first approached us on Instagram. As they noticed that the way we present our products resonated with their brand and they proposed a collaboration that would be a crossover of Haight and Fila identities. Haight was a fresh new brand back then, and it was very enriching to take on an established classic brand.

Any plans for future collaborations?

We are developing a few collaborations for the next months, which include bags with the Brazilian minimalistic leather goods brand Escudero and jewelry with the delicate yet bold Paola Villas.

Produced & Styled by: Morgan Vickery

Photography by: Phoenix Johnson

Model: Tori Veres at Unite Unite

Style Assistance: Valerie Stepanova

Haight swimwear, and stylists own accessories.