South Tahoe bikini makes it to annual Swimsuit Issue |

South Tahoe bikini makes it to annual Swimsuit Issue

Dylan Silver

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – For swimwear designers, there’s an obvious career pinnacle, a zenith thousands try to reach, but few ever do – and that would be the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, glossy pages filled with lascivious curves, low cuts, and the finest in barely-there fashion.

For South Lake Tahoe’s Mike Wischmeyer, the founder and owner of Sambaii Resortwear and Beachwear, the point came this year.

“I didn’t think we were in it at all,” Wischmeyer said, “until I was riding the chairlift and a buddy of mine was like, ‘Congratulations on Sports Illustrated.'”

Swimsuit Issue editors consider more than 10,000 suits for the magazine, wrote Darcie Baum, a Swimsuit Issue editor, in an e-mail.

“For us to consider shooting a swimsuit for the magazine, it has to be a flawless fit on the model and accentuate their best assets,” Baum said.

Hundreds of swimsuits appear in the Swimsuit Issue, but not all of them get the attention Wischmeyer’s received. None other than supermodel Brooklyn Decker, Esquire Magazine’s 2010 “sexiest woman alive” and last year’s Swimsuit Issue cover model, was chosen to wear his bright pink and purple two-piece.

“Each of our stories have specific style themes, so the suit needs to match the color or trend we are looking for,” Baum said.

Decker was shot by photographer Warwick Saint in the British Virgin Islands, wearing Sambaii’s California print.

“That’s the best we could’ve done,” said 36-year-old Wischmeyer. “We were definitely excited. We couldn’t have asked for a better model. Brooklyn is at the top of her game right now.”

A Sports Illustrated representative approached Wischmeyer at a swimwear tradeshow and suggested that he send some of his pieces to them.

“All the stuff we thought would get in didn’t,” Wischmeyer said. “It was surprising that that suit made it in.”

Four years ago Wischmeyer started Sambaii after bringing swimsuits back to South Lake Tahoe from Brazil for friends. He adjusted the cuts and sizes and eventually started selling his own designs at Zephyr Cove and Cha Cha Cha in South Lake Tahoe. His business grew to Southern California shops. With the recent exposure, Wischmeyer expects it will grow even more.

“It’s helped a lot. The amount of feedback we’ve gotten has quadrupled,” he said. “With this exposure, we’ve definitely solidified a lot more appointments with stores.”

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue sells over a million copies on the newsstand every year.

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