Merrilee’s Swimwear was founded in 1977 by Merrilee Madrigal, and remains under her original ownership to this day. The roots of her style and success stem from being a creative, die hard, beach going hippie, with a passion for fashion and a love for sewing passed down from her mother, Evelyn.
Merrilee started out sewing bathing suits for friends and family in high school, but word quickly spread amongst local beachgoers and demand for her hand-sewn bikinis grew faster than she could keep up with. To keep up with the demand, she was permitted (by her mother, of course) to stay home one day a week from school - under the condition she keep up her straight A’s while sewing her increasingly popular suits. Every weekend she would set up shop on Main Street in downtown Huntington Beach selling these bathing suits out of her leather suitcase. Her love for sewing bikinis started in the 70's, a time before there were stretch fabrics.
The city of Huntington Beach considers Merrilee's Swimwear a historic business. Our first Merrilee's Swimwear Boutique opened in April, 1977 at 111½ Main Street, within the Mezzanine level of Sunline Surfboards. Jack's Surf Shop purchased the property in 1983 and she moved her business across the street into 124 Main Street, formerly Jose's Shoe Shop. The new store quickly established a reputation as the local spot to find the very best in women’s swimwear and cute complimentary apparel and accessories. Operations expanded, more retail stores opened, and Merrilee began wholesaling to department stores, specialty boutiques and other retailers all over the world - but over the years she decided to refocus and concentrate her time and energy on what she'd always loved…designing fabulous swimwear. To this day she continues to manufacture her own swimwear which she retails in her own boutiques that offer a fun, unique blend of bikinis, clothing and accessories to customers who love the Southern California, casual-chic styling.
Merrilee’s Swimwear has always been famous for their swimwear line which is designed by the mother/daughter team of Merrilee and Felicia Madrigal. Our swimwear is designed and handmade in Laguna Beach, CA and sold exclusively at Merrilee’s Swimwear Boutique stores. We take pride in making high-quality, fashion-forward designer suits at affordable prices. Merrilee has proven herself to be a dominant design force behind swimwear trends across the world with countless top notch designers shopping her store to see what's new and hot. Many designers have tried to replicate her style and designs over the years but no one has managed to parallel her ability to continually out do the previous year and reinvent the way swimwear is worn year after year. Having made swimwear for over 40 years now, It’s not uncommon to find households with a grandmother, a mother and a daughter who have all owned and loved a Merrilee’s swimsuit of their own.