If you’ve read the fall issue surely you’ve admired the beautiful swimwear effortlessly modeled by Isabeli Fontana. Do you want to know the best part? There’s more! We caught up with the founder and designer behind PIKAI Swim Hawaii, Malia Costa, to learn more about the brand.

How would you define yourself as a designer?

I would describe myself as a big dreamer, endlessly inspired by nature and all the beauty that surrounds me living in Hawaii. Form and function are a vital element in my designs. I play with minimalist concepts making reversible and multi-functional wear.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I began sewing when I was four years old: hand stitching and designing clothes for my dolls.

After receiving my degree in sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art, I worked in furniture and interior design for years before wanting to transition my artwork back to the human form.

If you were to choose a character from a nursery rhyme or film, who would it be and how is that personality demonstrated in your portamento of work?

I have been referenced as the Fairy Godmother before. I always want to make women feel comfortable, confident and as beautiful as Cinderella.

Who is the PIKAI consumer?

 Pikai isn’t made for one specific type. Instead, we create a customized experience for all individuals. With such diversity in collections ranging from athletic, resort, swim, crystal, and lingerie, our original designs are liberating and an exact fit for all.


What empowers you about design?

The most empowering aspect of the design is the ability to create functional pieces that can transition from day to evening wear. Versatile, yet discrete, feminine, and well-constructed with delicately intricate detail.

How does your heritage influence your craft?

Being of Italian descent and spending summers in Italy with family as a child has dramatically influenced my eye for quality. Being around the most beautiful handmade items truly ignites my passion for creating with my hands. Valentino had an influential impact on me.


 Do you see fashion as a voice to unite and transform the world?

I believe in using fashion as a vehicle to bridge reality with your inner dream world. Our surroundings continuously galvanize us. In creating wearable art, it can help to transform someone’s mentality and build the bones of self-confidence, positive vibration, love, and healing.

Is there a musical or architectural preference that embodies the spirit of each collection?

Natural sounds and rhythmic waves reflect movement and a personification of the ocean that cleanses your soul.

In today’s era, fashion has been more than just about the beauty of a garment; it’s about igniting the senses. Is your concentration in discovering the behavior of a piece or the pantomime of nature’s vibration?

 I am concerned with the behavior a piece that works with all lifestyles. This balances from an original design I dedicated years to crafting that removes the need for padding, elastic, and seams that dig. In wearing a Pikai garment is a freeing experience. Freeing in the sense that the fabrication moves with your body without lines, indentations, and irritation.

Why do you like the niche of bodywear? (swim, lingerie, activewear, and bodysuits)

Bodywear serves an extremely functional way to incorporate full protection into an everyday routine. In Hawaii, our coral reefs are dying from sunscreen chemicals coming off in the water. To eliminate this element is to honor and respect our land and ourselves.

How do you see the evolution of your brand?                                                         

We are in the development stages of creating technological advancements to make our level of customization process more seamless with a global reach. No longer do women fit into a group of sizes or body types. PIKAI is going to blur the lines that separate, and make every style for everybody at any age.

Philanthropy is ingrained in your brand’s awareness. What are some of your instrumental causes?                        

We source and buy food locally to give back to the community. We also host sewing workshops and school internships that are available at our studio. We urge to connect to our roots and the simplicity of life at a time where technology has diminished the importance of how we not only communicate with each other but in keeping a tradition alive. We aim to help Keiki (children) channel their energy through creative expression. We’re advocates of breast cancer awareness, environmental foundations that support our oceans, as well as promoting human and animal rights.

What does Pikai mean?                                                            

PIKAI is a traditional Hawaiian ceremony of sprinkling seawater or saltwater to purify an area or person from spiritual contamination and harmful energies. Symbolically, the ocean is the essential source of life.

PIKAI is just this… A way of Life, A form of Being, A Movement                    

We encourage girls and women to abandon the old ideologies of what society dictates what beauty is and to embrace who they are. To wear a PIKAI is to love who you are.


featuring Isabeli Fontana

photographer: JD Forte

creative director: Kamitha Sloan

stylists: Kamitha Sloan and Joey Rolon

hair/makeup: Pablo RiveraArtist Management Miami using MAC Cosmetics and Bumble & Bumble

Isabeli agency: MP Miami

assistant photographer: Chad Andreo

location: Secret Gardens Miami



Pikai Swim Hawaiiamazon long sleeve lace up

Dragons Backbone by Echo Higuchi gold phoenix leather headdress

Kimberly McDonald apache gold drop earrings with diamond in 18k white gold

Judith Leiber couture camera flash clutch

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Pikai Swim Hawaii arrow monokini

Kimberly McDonald one-of-a-kind watermelon tourmaline slice pendant with diamond edge set in 18k yellow gold

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Pikai Swim Hawaiiswell halter in teal and grass

Gucci multicolor glitter sunglasses

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Pikai Swim Hawaii limited edition crystal embellished catsuit in White Tiger design by Joey Rolon Signature

Judith Leiber couture byakko white tiger clutch

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