Growing up, Libby Arnette wanted to be either a florist or race car driver. Two occupations that are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum—that is, if florists and race car drivers are even on the same spectrum. She ended up the founder and designer of Indah Clothing. But being a designer means Libby’s always moving at a rapid pace to keep up with the fashion and swim industry, and constantly putting together beautiful creations. So, in a sense, she gets to do a bit of everything she ever wanted to.—Kristen Walters
How did you go from wanting to be a race car driver or florist to a swim designer?
Well in essence I get to do all three. In the swim industry, we move fast and make beautiful creations. But I guess was really all just location. I fell in love with Bali and I wanted to stay, wanted to make this my home and I needed a job. I have a good eye and I have guts. Two things that are super important as a designer. Sometimes you just have to go for it, I've hit some designs out of the ballpark and others are like, “Wow really wtf was i thinking..” but I always just went for it.
Where are you guys based? Where is all the clothing and swim made?
Everything is out of Bali for now, but we are in the process of outsourcing so it's an exciting time!!
We had already moved here and had started working in garments and I would make myself me own suits. At that point there were no small swimwear brands, so I think it was just a natural progression to start making suits. And the suits were successful right away, I think there was a big hole in the market at that time for something different in swimwear.
Were you one of the first brands to manufacture swim in Bali?
Yes, we produced our first collection of swimwear out of Bali in 2001.
How does it feel to be a pioneer of sorts since so many brands are now turning to Bali to manufacture their suits?
Well, I don't really see myself that way. There have always been designers coming to Bali making things. I'm sure at that time, in 2001, there were other people making suits too. Maybe not for the US or the market I was in; but I do think it’s cool that I have been an example to young designers, showing them that it’s possible to make it all from scratch. It just takes putting in a ton of hours and a lot of hard work.