Sisters Zhu Ru and Layla Chen were raised in Honolulu but now live in New York, and wanted to create something that would bring them closer to “home.” So in 2011 they started a swimwear line called Estuaries.

“Living in New York City for so long made me miss the beach lifestyle,” says Zhu Ru, who moved to New York in 1999. “Creating Estuaries was a kind of escape, a way for me to feel closer to the sea.


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Gabriella Sheindlin: Estuaries ‘Mekong’ sweetheart bandeau bikini with strap colorblocking details $220

“Also, it was perfect timing when Layla moved to New York in 2009. As sisters, creating this collection brought us closer. We find each other filling in one another’s missing gaps; we really work well together. My design and fashion background combined with Layla’s business experience was a great match. We share the same goal and vision, and we both miss Hawaii very much. It just makes sense.”

Zhu Ru, a 1998 graduate of Moanalua High School, attended The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she majored in accessories design with a minor in pattern making. After graduating, she worked for Be & D followed by Alexander Wang. Layla, a 2000 graduate of McKinley, studied at University of Hawaii, followed by University of Massachusetts at Amherst for business, and has been working in sales.

They recently debuted their newest collection, which features more leisure wear pieces, including dresses and cover-ups.

“Estuaries is inspired by a beach lifestyle meeting the lifestyle of the city,” says Layla, noting that their pieces feature a seamless finish, interesting but subtle patterns, and are fashion-related with minimalist and clean designs.

“The label is about being versatile, being able to transition from day to night in the same outfit and still look great,” adds Zhu Ru. “We want people to be able to incorporate swimwear into their wardrobe and to add it to their personal style. That’s something we miss from

Hawaii, therefore, we are bringing it here.”

Estuaries can be found at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Maui and Kona, as well as in specialty boutiques in Hawaii, California and New York. Or visit them online at For more information, call 646-397-1238.

Photos by Leah Friel
Jewelry provided by Indi Ocean by Mia Bella Belluche / available at Fighting Eel and
Styling by Geremy Campos