Interview with KEA Swimwear Designer: Patricia Kwok

PK and Kelli LinnWe had the pleasure of interviewing Patricia Kwok, Creator and Designer of KEA. We are slightly obsessed with her new line of swimwear and surf gear. Here is what she had to say.

Tell us more about KEA and your new line.

KEA is a surf-chic swimwear brand for the modern woman. The line was inspired by morning surf sessions in New York. KEAThe city-to-sea routine transcends in KEA’s minimal designs, where performance meets style so you can wear it to catch a wave or just the rays. The name KEA is inspired by a bird from New Zealand that is known for its intelligence and curiosity. The KEA woman definitely embodies those characteristics!

What’s your story? How did you get where you are today?

​I grew up in Hong Kong and was educated in the UK and the States. After graduating, I began working in the fashion industry and before creating KEA I worked as a merchandiser at Tory Burch in New York. A lot of my experiences are driven by my curiosity and strong sense of adventure. A few years ago, I would never have imagined myself designing a swimwear line, but I feel grateful to have so many supportive friends and family throughout this journey!

What inspired you to create KEA?

KEA was inspired by my surf travels. Having learned to surf in my mid-twenties, I traveled a lot to surf as a way to catch up for lost time. These trips were a great way to experience different cultures and meet new friends. However, I noticed there was a lack of high quality, stylish and functional gear out on the market made for active females. This gap inspired me to create KEA.

What do you love about surfing?

I love to surf and enjoy being in the ocean. No experience out in the ocean is ever the same and I think that’s what keeps me going back for more. Somedays, it feels incredibly exhilarating to be surfing and then there are days where I feel my limits are really pushed. I guess the idea is to embrace every day as it comes.

 What inspires you?

Having studied and created art as an undergrad, ​I have a great fondness towards all things creative. Recently, I saw an art exhibit in New York by the op/kinetic artist Jesus Rafael Soto. His meticulously constructed yet minimal pieces offered a lot of inspiration for the next photoshoot we are planning to do!

Favorite indulgence?

Ice cream!

Advice for other creative women?

I don’t think this applies to women only, but I often refer to this quote by Ira Glass:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just nPkowk2ot that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Go to to view the entire collection and shop!


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