Cult Brand Behind “Ark” Bag Dives into Swimwear

The brand behind summer’s hottest accessory is taking the plunge with its first-ever swimwear line that’s guaranteed to have fans of the must-have signature Ark bag lined up around the pool for a chance to buy. With one-piece and bikini designs that feature tropical-feeling bird and leaf prints in shades of green, ecru and pink, the new Cult Gaia collection is bound to be a sell-out. One standout is the perfect coverup, a dreamy silk dress trimmed in ruffles.

The now instantly recognizable bamboo Ark bag launched LA brand Cult Gaia into the fashion stratosphere after becoming an Instagram sensation. Jessica Alba was among the first celebs spotted with the wearable art on her arm, and other fashion influencers such as Beyoncé, Michelle Williams and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley soon followed.

The new 21-piece swimwear line is a collaboration that incorporates the flair of Brazilian label Adriana Degreas with Cult Gaia’s geometric and natural-inspired spirit. The swimwear is notable for details such as unexpected cutouts and large rings that often show up in Cult Gaia’s ready-to-wear collection. And, of course, you will find the handbags that have catapulted the small LA label into an international success story. Look for updated versions of the Ark bag suitable for stowing all your beach necessities.

After the Ark bag started showing up in the Instagram feeds of some of the world’s most famous fashionistas, Cult Gaia followed up by delivering notable shoe and ready-to-wear collections.

Last year Cult Gaia introduced its first five footwear styles in collaboration with Net-a-Porter. The styles were sophisticated mules and sandals that subtly reference the look of the brand’s famous bags.  With prices that range from $225 to $350, the collection nearly sold out within four days. Larian says she sees shoes as another opportunity to give her fans wearable art that’s timeless and not overdone at an affordable price.

Larian believes that social media has been a driving force behind her label’s success. Although she spends no money on marketing, sales are projected to hit $15 million this year. Growth has not been as difficult as you might expect because the brand’s ethos is so well defined and translates easily from bags to ready-to-wear to shoes to swimwear, according to Larian.

The Ark, a half-circle constructed of open-weave bamboo, was the very first handbag that Larian ever created. Hekmat launched Cult Gaia in 2012 with an investment of only $7,000. Her original plan was to craft flower crowns from silk flowers and hair turbans from vintage fabrics that she had collected over the years.

She introduced the Ark bag in 2013, but after it failed to catch on, she decided to focus instead on flower crowns and turbans. Sales of the Ark bag started to climb after Instagram started showing people how to style it. And that, says Hekmat, is really what Instagram is about.

The Cult Gaia collection sells from $198 to $750 at and

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