Founder: Alexandra Balcells 🇵🇷
Balcells is a swimwear brand founded by Alexandra Balcells in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Alexandra is a self-taught fashion designer who began upcycling clothes in high school. She started as a self-taught designer and would play with her mother’s sewing machine to re-create fashionable pieces from her family’s old t-shirts, dresses, and sweaters.
Fast-forward to college, Alexandra’s love for designing and creating clothes did not dwindle. She decided to save up her money and take a course from Carlota Alfaro, a Puerto Rican fashion designer who is “a master of the masters” and has taught most of the well-known designers from Puerto Rico.
Balcells is a swimwear line that launched in January 2021. The swimwear brand is colorful, playful, and inspired by the island-life in Puerto Rico. Because of living and growing up on the island, Alexandra is drawn to colors, flowers, and anything full of life. Balcells creates swimsuits that are both flattering and comfortable. The first pieces that Balcells launched provide comfort and optimal coverage for every body. Alexandra continues to play with sizing and patterns to fulfill the needs for different body types.
Looking toward the future, Balcells hopes to expand as a brand and move into dresses and every-day wear. As the brand continues to grow, Alexandra emphasizes the importance of keeping the production of Balcells local. It is important to create jobs for individuals in her country because many Puerto Rican brands outsource to other countries.
“For me, it is very important to make it a local product and brand… I would like to have my brand and at the same time create jobs for other people here on the island and not outsource.” (Alexandra)
Another long-term goal for Balcells would be to give back to charities and nonprofits that are located in Puerto Rico. Alexandra feels it is essential to give back to her community, especially the education-sector. Higher education is unattainable and unaffordable for many individuals, and Alexandra hopes to give many individuals the opportunity to learn.
“A lot of people here have a hard time paying for school, not high school but college and higher education. I hope to change this.” (Alexandra)