Grad Launches Sustainable Leisurewear Brand
Diana Ganem graduated in 2016 with her Merchandise Product Development degree. After working in the industry in various roles, she felt a calling to develop a business that reflected her values in sustainability and ethical practices. She launched her leisurewear brand Nightswim and divides her time between Los Angeles, where she does her manufacturing, and Costa Rica which represents the ethos of her brand. She said that the pandemic has allowed her company to slow down and reconnect with their business intentions. For her, this period has validated that her company is on the right track with applying conscious experiences to fashion. We caught up with her to learn more.
Tell us a little about yourself: I’m Diana Ganem, born in Mexico and raised in the Southwest. Moved to LA to attend FIDM, then continued to pursue a career in fashion, specifically as a market analyst, merchandiser and editor. Nowadays, I spend a lot of time between the city and the beach in Costa Rica, living a simple life with my dog Coco. Nightswim is my drive and I strive to make the business reflect my own personal values — respecting and honoring the environment and the people who create it while expressing my craft. When I’m not working, I’m at the beach, jungle, hiking, in the ocean or exploring new places, enjoying the simple things in life.
Tell us about Nightswim, how you got started, and where you are now: Nightswim was born out of my desire to become my own boss and take control of my time. I wanted to express myself without boundaries and also develop a business that I truly felt reflected my values in sustainability and ethical practices. After holding a merchandising position at a women’s contemporary brand, I was exposed to the injustices of fashion — I didn't want to be part of it any more, I wanted to create responsibly and give back. Live a more fulfilled life via my creative outlet.
Nightsiwm is now based in Los Angeles and Costa Rica. We’re working on adding conscious experiences to our retail experience and also developing our third collection which will be released early 2021.
Tell us more about the wellness experiences -- sound baths and meditations on the beach. Why do you offer this and how does this work into your brand's story/image? I really apply my lifestyle to Nightswim, it’s an extension of myself. I absolutely love meditations, soundbaths, movement and living mindfully through these practices so I want to make sure that what I offer resembles a feeling of being in-tuned and at peace within. My intention with Nightswim was never a superficial pursuit, I truly want to make my customers feel confident, comfortable and empowered, which mostly come from within. So if I host a pop-up shop / trunk show, why not integrate a Rune reading? Why not educate shoppers on slow fashion? Why not add on a sunset meditation? I want to give back and this is my way of giving back.
How is COVID changing your business model and what positive things do you think will come out of this pandemic? We were able to slow down and reconnect with our business intentions. In a way it was a validation that we are on the right track and that we do indeed need to apply conscious experiences to fashion. COVID also made us rethink the way we operate, solely operating on a wholesale module no longer worked for us, so now we’re focusing on connecting with customers directly.
What are the advantages of manufacturing in Los Angeles? I’m aware of the conditions of the factory and how each garment worker is treated. If I say my business is ethical, manufacturing in LA makes me be able to fully commit to this and know that what I promise to our customers is being delivered. I can also guarantee that the quality of my product is up to our expectations and it's more of an on-hand experience for me. I’m more connected to the people making the garments and to the entire production process.
Why did you choose FIDM, and how did you decide on your major? I was actually enrolled to go to AZU to pursue criminal psychology before ever knowing that FIDM existed. My mother didn’t want me going into this field and encouraged me to instead pursue my love for fashion. After giving it some thought and research, I connected with FIDM, visited and fell in love. I wasn’t sure which major to choose but did have a clear vision that I’d either want to be a stylist or trend forecaster and eventually have my own company. I felt that product development was a well-rounded major and touched on the 3 interests of mine.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? It was like an intro course to everything I do now. I’m an avid believer that experience is everything but education definitely gives you insight into what the future may look like in a fashion career.
Any advice for current FIDM Students? I’d say start working and getting experience right away, intern and dedicate yourself to what interests you the most. Don’t give up and of course, welcome the unknown and take risks.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to build a Nightswim destination where I can have a retail and creative space together, one which welcomes people to stay, shop or experience the Nightswim lifestyle.
Anything else you’d like to share? Sure, let’s connect! @nightswimbrand and nightswimbrand.com. I’d love to offer a 20% off code to FIDM students and alumni, use FIDM code at checkout.