by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Soul of Photography

Success in Swimwear

faces_martins1A 92024 native with a surfing dad and designer and model mom, Patrixia Martins’s path in life is right on track. The origin of Patrixia’s fashion career begins in the ’70s in Brazil where her mom founded the bikini design company, Ipanema. The business currently thrives in Leucadia, where Patrixia is now a part of the fabric.

The Ipanema swimwear brand began when Patrixia’s mom started making stylish bikini swimsuits for herself and her friends. Now, 30 years later, Patrixia serves as the company’s vice president and is committed to the Fashion Revolution Movement. “We make sure every step of making our products is ethical for everyone involved,” she explained. Patrixia and business partner Gabaccia have also opened a storefront – FERN in Leucadia. Offering housewares and furniture alongside their swimwear, FERN upholds the women’s commitment; “We support and carry only USA made products by brands that hold the same ethically conscious business practices as ourselves,” she acknowledged.

faces_martins2While Patrixia grew up in the industry, spending time in her mom’s Carlsbad swimwear factory learning everything from pattern-making to sewing, she also pursued higher education to complement her hands-on experience. She graduated from USD and earned her masters at NYU. Although, she disclosed, it doesn’t take schooling to succeed in this career field. “I think this industry more than most is all about experience and who you know. I’d suggest taking some classes and just jumping in.”

The responsibilities of her role as vice president, Patrixia admitted, are stressful and challenging, but the rewards are well worth it. “I know how hard it is for people to try on swimwear and really show it all, so giving confidence to a woman and making her feel great in the swimsuit makes me feel stoked!” She also appreciates the opportunity to support the community. FERN recently sponsored the Trailblazers in Women’s Surfing exhibit at the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center and were patron sponsors for the LeucadiART Walk.


Name: Patrixia Martins
Profession: Designer, Boutique Curator
Community: Cardiff-by-the-Sea since 2014
Interests: Soccer, running, good food, good wine, Netflix, puppies, NPR, ethical fashion
Favorite Local Spots: Q’ero Restaurant, Lourdes Mexican Food, Seaside Market, Dirty Dogs, Claire’s on Cedros, Pandora’s Pizza, Zumbar Coffee & Tea (best coffee ever)


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Life in Leucadia and Cardiff-by-the-Sea has allowed Patrixia to pursue the career and lifestyle she knew would be waiting for her when she returned home in 2013 from NYU. Taking advantage of the location, she tries to run or walk on the beach every morning and also enjoys co-ed soccer and, most recently, tennis at Glen Park. “Everything you need is walking distance, beach and beer included,” Patrixia admitted. “I love the vibe.”