The swimwear inspired by psychics and NY graffiti

Think swimwear, and you automatically think California and Malibu, clean waters, and blue sky. However, since its founding in 2010, Graffinis — an edgy New York-based swimwear label, popular on the West Coast of the USA — has built its reputation by drawing inspiration from the built environment of, and life in, the East Coast metropolis.

Graffinis MTA Graffiti-inspired one-piece halter swimsuit.

Graffinis MTA Graffiti-inspired one-piece halter swimsuit.

The label, which has been featured in Maxim, Swimsuit magazine, and Teen Vogue, uses hi-tech placement printing to engineer patterns and photo-real images to fit each garment precisely. Favorite subjects for Graffinis swimwear include photographic close-ups of graffiti from different areas of New York City – from Soho to Chinatown – as well as other elements of the urban environment, from ATM machines to street signs.

Graffinis’ creative director, Paul Cartelli, himself takes the photographs and transforms them into textiles prints for his swimwear and limited edition scarf lines.

Recently Graffinis has taken inspiration from NY’s iconic spiritual kitsch: the psychic. The one-piece swimwear outfit comes in white with bold red lettering and a red hand print. The label says that, “it’s pretty safe to say it’ll be easy to predict you’re gonna turn heads when you wear this little number.” But, you don’t really need a fortune teller for that.

Other prints for the label’s one- and two-piece swimwear outfits have included pixel-leopard skin and boombox patterns, details of a 1940 map of the New York Subway System, and a massively enlarged and manipulated Quick Response (QR) code. You can check out the label’s latest swimwear collection at