Women who Launch
Inclusive swimwear brand makes a splash — and a move to Austin
For some, there is nothing more daunting than finding the right fitting swimsuit. Does it cover all the right bits, will it be snug in some parts but gape in others, or even worse, ride up where it’s not supposed to? Enter Kitty and Vibe brand swimsuits and their 28-year-old founder and CEO Cameron Armstrong.
Armstrong has put a lot of thought into this stressful ordeal. Though the brand officially launched in 2018, things really took off after Armstrong shared a January 2021 TikTok of herself trying on bathing suits and explaining the Kitty and Vibe sizing. The video went on to garner 3.9 million views, reaffirming the brand was on to something.
Organic and authentic celebrity endorsements soon followed from the likes of Katie Sturino, and Lena Dunham, as well as TikTok and YouTube celebrities. What these women were embracing was not only the cute fabrics, the fit and styles, but that the swimsuits came in sizes 00-28, where many on-trend swimwear manufacturers stop at size 10 — even though size 16 is the average dress size in the United States. Kitty and Vibe considers hip and inseam for best fit, in other words, hip and butt-focused sizing along with sustainable fabrics.
As the brand gained traction in 2021, Armstrong decided to relocate herself and the company from New York to Austin in February 2022. Once she’d settled in, she put out the welcome mat, celebrating the arrival with a pool party “for every booty” at the Austin Motel in early September. With local Austin vendors and a guest list that included customers showing off their Kitty and Vibe suits, the brand relies heavily on customer input to determine product launches. Their campaigns feature real women and real customers.
“Kitty and Vibe is a community-first brand,” Armstrong says, “which means we don’t make any major decisions without asking our customer base and social following first.”
Armstrong, grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, started her career in New York City in brand marketing working for companies like L’Oreal, Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani. When she decided to launch her own swimwear company, she wanted to instill the concept of kindness into the brand. The trademarked slogan “Kind is my Vibe” isn’t just about being inclusive with branding, but something much more personal to the founder.
"A part of my story that isn’t as well-known is how I chose to focus on a mission of kindness,” she says. “I am blessed to be the sister of a special needs person. My brother, Richard, has been instilling the virtue of kindness in me from the day I was born. Although he can’t talk, his heart speaks volumes. He is the purest person I know, incapable of cruelty, jealousy, or any ill intentions. His impact on my life has directly influenced our mission of fueling kindness at Kitty and Vibe. Our trademarked slogan always makes me think of him.”
With the move to Austin, Armstrong hopes to tap into the city’s “entrepreneurial spirit.”
“Austin drew me in because some of the most successful female-founded businesses have been built here – Bumble, Outdoor Voices, Kendra Scott, etc. I’ve found that Austin is an incredibly inclusive and welcoming town. This inclusive and open-minded nature is very reflective of both Austin and Kitty and Vibe, making this a perfect place for our business to grow. We hope to become the Austin gals’ favorite swimwear brand – spotted on Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs, and top of mind for women of all shapes and sizes and known for our inclusive nature and welcoming events.”
Armstrong welcomes the Austin community to apply to be models for the swimwear, but also their line of pajamas and play dresses, a hybrid swim-meets-exercise dress made for activities in and outside of the water. Their most recent campaign was shot at Boggy Creek Farm and included all local Austin women, demonstrating that Kitty and Vibe are serious about becoming the kind, considerate neighbor we’d all like to meet — the one who also throws the good parties.