Local swimsuit designer dreams big onto Sports Illustrated

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It's a dream come true for an Eau Claire native who once had goals of being a professional swimsuit designer.

Less than a year after graduating from UW-Stout, one of Missy Isaksson’s swimsuits is now featured in a popular magazine known for its high fashion suits and sex appeal, the Sport’s Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Isaksson, a Eau Claire North High School grad of 2005, said she was head over heels when she heard the news.

“I started screaming and jumping up and down in the middle of the airport which I’m pretty sure a lot of people thought I was a little crazy,” said Isaksson. “I called my mom right away.”

In December, while she was visited her parents Carol and Steve Isaksson and family for Christmas she found out that the suit had indeed been chosen after seeing a preview post from Sports Illustrated on the social media app Instagram.

Her swimsuit, suitably titled “The Missy” is now featured on page 97 of the magazine, released on February 12, 2013.

“I do know Sports Illustrated receives tens of thousands of pounds of swimsuits every year and they hang them up in a closet and the editor in chief, MJ Day, she chooses what’s going to go with them on the trip,” said Isaksson.

And talk about exposure – SI is estimated to sell four million copies of the magazine and around 70 million people see the issue every year.

“I was looking for my internship to complete my graduation for UW-Stout,” said Isaksson who now is an assistant designer at Kate Swim in Las Vegas.

She designed the suit during her internship at the company, working for founder Kathleen Breunig. A design by Breunig made the cover of the 2012 swimsuit issue featuring model Kate Upton.

"I knew I wanted to go for something fun but also sexy because Sports Illustrated, that’s what they're looking for, something sexy,” said Isaksson.

She said the one feature she loves about her bathing suit is the zipper. The zipper up front stops wherever you want it stop and can coverage as much or as little as the wearer wants.

"The Missy" is made of nylon spandex and sells for $240. It can be seen at www.kateswim.com.

Even the super model wearing the suit couldn’t help but love the design, saying in a video on SI.com that it was her “favorite swimsuit.”

Eight other suits Isaksson helped design for Kate Swim also made the cut.

But before she got into the swimsuit design business, she wanted to be a marine biologist.

“I actually wanted to go all the way to Hawaii and be a marine biologist and that’s what I did and I actually ended up not going to some of my classes because I wanted to design swimwear so I’d stay home and design swimwear on my laptop,” said Isaksson.

That’s when she left Hawaii back to Wisconsin and enrolled at UW-Stout.

"Don’t ever underestimate the education you're getting in the Midwest, especially in Wisconsin. Taking those risks can definitely pay off,” she said.

One of her professors Kathryn Kujawa remembers Isaksson as someone with passion and downright obsession for swimsuits.

“Missy, and so many of our graduates, are prepared for success in this competitive industry because they chose the Apparel Design & Development Program at UW-Stout. Our program is unique in the country because it offers a strong foundation in both creative design and technical development of saleable apparel products,” said Kujawa.

“Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams,” advised Isaksson to the young people who dream big, “Even if you stumble you can always pick yourself up and start over again.”

If product demand is strong, which is common after swimsuits appear in SI, then Kate Swim contracts with a manufacturer and “The Missy” could go national or even international.

Designer of "The Missy" - Kate Swim Missy Isaksson of Eau Claire
Swimsuit designed by Missy Isaksson featured in Sports Illustrated swimsuit 2013

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