L.A. bikini designer Courtney Allegra is causing a heat wave in the fashion world.
The young entrepreneur was the darling of L.A. Fashion Week earlier this month with a well-received runway show. She’s becoming a social media favorite, too, boasting roughly 146,000 Instagram followers.
But even with a thriving new business, 10 full-time employees, plus an office and showroom in downtown Los Angeles, 18-year-old Allegra said she finds it hard to be taken seriously as a businesswoman.
“When I turn up at fashion shows people think I’m one of the models rather than an authority figure and designer,” said the teen.
It’s an easy mistake to make, however, because Allegra does model her own designs as the face and body of the self-described “edgy, feminine and flirty” bikini line.
“I think that’s really important as it allows people to identify my brand with me,” she said.
Allegra said that she first got the bug for clothing design at age 12 when she started sketching leather jackets. She launched her company three years ago selling a wide range of clothes, but Allegra eventually moved almost exclusively into swimwear.
“Swimwear seemed the best thing to focus on when launching a business here,” she said.
Her line of 30 bikinis, which all cost less than $90, are available for purchase on the company’s website and in four L.A. boutiques, including Round 2 LA in downtown. Allegra designs all the clothes herself, which are manufactured at a factory in Huntington Park. Her company has not received any outside investment.
Her future plans are to launch a men’s swimwear line and expand her brand internationally.
“Revenue is up on last year and business is awesome,” Allegra said, though she declined to disclose further specifics regarding her company’s finances.
– Sandro Monetti