Founder, Creative Director and lover of all things that shine, Elin Ritter is on a mission to make the worlds a sparklier place.

Based between London and Ibiza, apart from running SambaCouture, she spends her time managing Posto9Activa.com – an Ethical fitness and yoga clothing brand, and Ibizabikinis.com, surrounded by lycra, feathers and rhinestones, preferably with a glass of bubbly for extra inspiration.

Why I started SambaCouture

I started drawing fashion from a very young age, so it always felt like an obvious career to study fashion design. But I could not have imagined in a million years how far this journey would take me.

If someone had told me while I was studying fashion at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, that I would be designing crystal bikinis for women all over the world I most probably would never had believed them…

After graduation, having realized that getting a paid job in the fashion industry proved rather difficult back in 1996, I embarked on an alternative career as a digital designer to pay the bills.

I worked a freelancer for various design agencies in London, on amazing projects that taught me very valuable skills on how to run a digital business.

But I never gave up on my dream, the desire to create couture garments was always there.

After having spent some time in Rio de Janeiro, including dancing in their famous carnival,  I started performing with a Brazilian Samba group in London, and started to make first my own hand-beaded dance costumes, then for friends.

I developed an obsession with intricate details, exquisite finishes and hand beading.

Combined with my passion for Brazilian Carnival and samba, SambaCouture was born.

When the digital jobs market took a dip in 2009, I had some spare time and decided to make a small website for my hobby.

My first fitness competitor customer was Nathalie Minh, now a famous photographer. I created a very Brazilian “rainha de bateria” style bikini with wings for her, and she won her competition.

She referred me to my second customer, her friend Ashley Horner who was competing in Las Vegas at the WBFF Worlds. I decided to hop on a plane and see what the WBFF was all about, and to meet Ashley in person.

After spending 24 unforgettable hours in Vegas, I flew back buzzing with new ideas on how to fuse Brazilian carnival costumes with the fitness competition bikinis.

Since then I have been on a mission to make bikinis that make women feel fabulous and empowered, whether on the WBFF stage, at Burning Man or at a party in Ibiza.

I work with a wonderful team of people, and together we stitch, glue, laugh, brainstorm, develop new ideas, with a few cocktails in between.

London may not seem like the most obvious place to be starting a swimwear couture business, but what started as hobby quickly grew into a business with a team and customers all over the world.

All designs are hand-made in our atelier

House of SambaCouture has offices in London, UK and Ibiza, Spain.