An Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Eco-sensitive Bikini

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by Taj Morgan

letarte_bikinis_mauiIn Letarte Swimwear’s sleek white store with the signature blue details, green is a sideline color. But for swimwear designer and professional windsurfer Lisa Letarte Cabrinha, green has always been center stage.

A longtime Maui resident, Cabrinha partnered with the Surfrider Foundation last fall during the opening of her flagship Pa’ia store, donating 10 percent of the first week’s sales to the preservation of Ho’okipa Beach Park.

Cabrinha and sister Michele Letarte Ross launched their line in 2000, placing the Letarte logo in posh boutiques and resort stores around the world. It wasn’t long before celebrities made the social pages clad in Letarte, and the sisters’ swimwear popped up on covers from Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition to the Bergdorf Goodman catalog. When the glitterati hit the red carpet at the 2009 Academy Awards, many found Letarte bikinis or tunics tucked inside their gift bags.

Cabrinha credits the ocean environment for inspiring her swimwear designs, eco-awareness for guiding her business decisions, from the 2010 tunic collection she’s creating with organic materials, to the store’s environmentally friendly packaging. Bags, boxes, ribbons, tissue–even the stickers–are made from recycled and post-consumer materials.

You can visit Letarte’s flagship store at 24 Baldwin Avenue in Pa’ia, or online at letarteswimwear.com.

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