inspirational women

Woman I admire: Inna Popova on her journey to creating a sustainable bikini transformer

Growing up in Kazakhstan, Inna was raised by a traditional family. As a culture of women being telescoped with education, she was expected to get a degree. Her father is a geologist so she had to become a geologist, too. Her career in geology reached great heights – she worked in Australia as a mine geologist then, later on, developed business for a New Zealand Company in Europe. Inna realised that she was good at building people’s business from scratch so when she reached a crossroad in her career, she decided to take a different path.

At some point, I realised that I was not happy. I knew something was missing. I also discovered that I was good at growing other people’s business. That was the time when I felt a strong calling – I wanted to have my own business! I wanted to be excited about what I do, come to work and have fun! I wanted to be creative and make a difference. I knew that my company had to be built around my two favourite activities: travelling and sewing. I am a dreamer and believe that anything is possible! So, if I think that I want to become a Swimwear Designer at 35, it is easy.
inspiring women

@misscosmopolita / Instagram

For many societies, women are always expected something when they reach the age of 35: we are told that at this age, we should be married, have a house, get a dog, and have children. 35 sounds “old.” 35 sounds “it’s too late.” 35 sounds “you’re going to spend the rest of your life alone.” But for Inna, there is no age in doing something that makes you excited and full of life. I am only 31 years old but Inna inspired me to get rid of the obsolete ideas of who women should be when we reach a certain age.

And so, her journey to sewing and traveling began. She slowly built her own brand called Miss Cosmopolita. Inna started traveling at the age of 22. She left Kazakhstan to study in the USA. At the time, social media was not a thing so she made a newsletter for her family and friends to keep them in the loop. She called this newsletter, Diaries of an American Student. In this series of newsletter, she told her story about US road trips and National Parks. She confesses that Grand Canyon was the place that took her heart away. After this study abroad escapade, she realized that in order to truly explore a country, she should live in it. This is when she started moving: The UK, Australia, Russia, South East Asia, Spain etc.

My favourite way to travel is by car and no plans, no destinations. No research as well. I don’t like to be influenced. I love discovering and stumbling upon places. South East Asia is my favourite destination. The countries there are so diverse and interesting. I like learning about their cultures, taste food and enjoy nature. I love finding locals and sit with them, ask questions about their lives – it is fascinating. I believe that if you haven’t travelled, you haven’t lived. You kind of stuck thinking from one perspective. I think that travel transforms you in a way you would never have imagined. And this is the best part of travelling, not taking photos with an Iconic location.
inspiring women

@misscosmopolita / Instagram

One day, during a long walk down the streets of Barcelona, the idea of a Bikini Transformer came to Inna. She is so fond of having multiple sets of swimwear but she was also bothered by the fact that it takes so much space in her luggage. What if there was a multi-functional piece that would allow women to buy less bikinis? She thought. Of course, this also evolved into another thing that Inna is passionate about: zero waste and sustainability. If there is one bikini that will give you a lot of options to change, it generates less waste.

These days, cheap bikinis are the once women fancy to buy: less money, more sets. We like to have different looks but little did we know that fast fashion is creating an environmental crisis. According to The Conversation, the rise of fast fashion in Australia means 6000 kg of clothing is dumped in landfill every 10 minutes. All over the world, nearly 20% of global wastewater is produced by the fashion industry. It takes more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. About 15% of fabric intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor. This waste rate has been tolerated industry-wide for decades. According to Christina Dean, waste generated in China is not known, with estimates that China will soon make 50% of the world’s clothing – the indications for textile waste there are mind-blowing. Daily in Hong Kong, there are 253 tons of textiles sent to landfill.

The idea was to create a multi-functional piece that would allow buying less. I wanted to create more looks and generate less waste. Seeing polluted beaches in South East Asia made a significant impact on me! The places I loved so much were overflowing with waste! This was the turning point for me – I decided to use recycled materials and to help to raise awareness around sustainability.

inspiring women

For Inna, sustainability is a way of life. It is generating less waste and educating others. She believes that living in less waste should start with an individual –  it has to start with you! When you do it, the message is conveyed to the people around you —  family, community, city, country and later on, the world. There are some things we can be doing right now to minimise waste and help the planet. Inna’s most simple step in her daily life is avoiding one-time use plastic. When she is in a supermarket, she doesn’t pack every fruit in a bag and she brings a reusable shopping bag all the time. I am aware that recycling is super difficult – it’s so much easier to toss things in the trash when they don’t have “value” to us anymore. But I have to agree with Inna on this – we can also stop being lazy and recycle what we use.

I think if every person thinks about it and do best they can do, we will begin having more sustainable businesses. My worry is though that people still think it is not about them! It is somewhere on the news, and that the politics will have to think about it. They also tell me not to show them disturbing images of ocean pollution etc. People don’t want to see or hear. We need a revolution, and I think it is coming!

 

 

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A post shared by INNA. BIKINI-TRANSFORMER (@misscosmopolita) on

Introducing the new build your own Bikini set with Miss Cosmopolita Bikini Transformer. It is sustainable, versatile and fun to play with! Their ultimate goal is to raise awareness around sustainability through this fun concept.

Tired of thinking about which bikini to take with you on your next trip? You don’t have to bring all your swimwear with you. This swimwear gives you many looks in one set! You can build your own bikini set by choosing bikini parts that you like: bases, cups, straps, bottoms. The parts are sold separately, you can add new looks to your swimwear by getting additional parts. This way you can follow fashion trends! You don’t need to buy new bikinis, you can simply buy another set of cups.

It saves you money! You buy 1 swimsuit instead of many. This is fun. This is sustainable living.

Miss Cosmopolita uses ultra-resistant Italian fabrics made from recycled yarn. The yarn is produced from regenerated nylon, such as reclaimed fishnets, carpets, and other nylon waste. They also use digital printing to reduce the footprint and to improve the longevity of the product. It is perfect for travelers, girls on the go and women that need that extra versatility.

[us_iconbox icon=”fas|angle-double-right” iconpos=”right” title=”Click here to support Miss Cosmopolita’s kickstarter campaign and get your own Bikini Transformer!” title_tag=”h5″ link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kickstarter.com%2Fprojects%2Fmisscosmopolita%2Fmiss-cosmopolita-sustainable-and-versatile-bikini-transformer||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow” alignment=”left”][/us_iconbox]
[us_single_image image=”26824″]

Who are your inspirational women? 

Can you relate to Inna’s story? Isn’t she inspiring? I’d love to know who inspires you the most and why – leave your thoughts in the comment box below!

[us_separator type=”default” style=”dashed”][us_iconbox icon=”fab|pinterest” iconpos=”left” title=”Use Pinterest in finding inspirational women like Inna Popova!”]Hover the image on the left and pin it to Pinterest.[/us_iconbox]

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • Vanessa Chiasson
    September 1, 2019

    I love Inna’s creativity and drive and her open-mindedness. I’m sure not many people would have the courage to deviate from the path that they seemed preordained for and instead branch out on their own. She’s amazing!

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Vanessa, thank you so much for your comment! You know it was scary at first, but then you get used to the thought that you are leaving your job, than you get used to the thought that you are having your own business and then it kinda becomes your new reality)). I can go back to Geology any time I want to, so for me there is no risk there)
      Hugs,
      Inna

      reply
  • Joella
    September 1, 2019

    What a fabulous idea to create one bikini that can in reality be many. How awesome to have many looks from one set. Also amazing to read about her journey and how she started in this venture later on. It is very inspiring to know hat it is not to late to follow your passion. I also really admire her way of travel. I do not know how she does it without researching. But I can see where not being influenced by others really helps enjoy the journey more.

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Hi Joella! Thanks so much for the compliments! You know, I didn’t feel like I was old to have the change and even now, 2 years later, I still feel young)) I think it is maybe something to do with how I feel inside – I don’t feel old. My husband is 6 years younger and it feels like I am the youngest in our family, not him)). So if the business doesn’t work out, I can go back to Geology, but at least I would know that I have tried it. Yes, travelling with no research has it’s own surprises, but this is what makes it fun haha:). Hugs, Inna

      reply
  • Elaine Masters
    September 2, 2019

    What a great life and mission. I didn’t know how much waste fashion was contributing to landfills and love the idea of a transformative bikini. My bikini days are behind me but I totally support Inna’s project. Thanks for introducing her.

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Hi Elaine! Thank you so much for your support! Yes, fashion industry creates so much waste, it is crazy! Some big mass market retailers burn tonnes (literary) of unsold products and it is worrying. The waste accumulation rate is growing rapidly and we don’t have another planet to go to. It is definitely hard to be a small ethical + eco-friendly brand in the era of consumerism, because people expect products for “free” and they are not really free. Big mass market retailers make their money on margins and it doesn’t hurt them, since they have budgets and they can produce tones of clothes every month!
      Cheers, Inna

      reply
  • Tom
    September 2, 2019

    It’s a great example of sustainability, she sounds like a great entrepreneur and someone many of us can be inspired by!

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Tom, thank you so much for your comment! I would never have imagined to be inspiring other people!:) Hugs, Inna

      reply
  • Rosemary
    September 3, 2019

    What an inspirational story and a neat idea. A sustainable product borne out of her love for travel. These bikinis are perfect for those who love spending time by the water. I love the stylish and sustainable approach. Wishing Inna much success.

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Rosemary, thank you so much! I am so glad you liked the concept and the bikinis! Hope this project takes off and I can create more style/sizes!
      Hugs, Inna

      reply
  • Eric Gamble
    September 4, 2019

    Wow, from Geologist to awesome fashion designer…I love it! I love when I hear stories like the one of Inna where someone finally realized they weren’t living their best life and just quit and ran to pursue a dream. She had nothing to lose by trying because she could always go back to the same career of her father.
    So I know nothing about bikinis but I also showed Darcee about how you can buy one suit with so many interchangeable parts and she LOVES it! We are always having issues with too much to carry especially on our long bucket list adventures. SO this creation of the Transformable Bikini is genius. Now if I can get her to help me with some outfits for men!

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Eric, thanks for your comment!! This is exactly what I thought! I can always go back to Geology. What do I loose? Nothing, really…Well, some money of course)) Glad, Darcee liked the bikinis! So what do you have in mind for the men’s swims?:)

      reply
  • Adonis Villanueva
    September 4, 2019

    Inna’s got some awesome bikini designs! She sounds like a very creative and driven woman. Her inspiring journey is something to aspire to. I too travel like her, no research and find out as you go 🙂

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Adonis, thanks so much, mate! Glad you liked my story and my bikini transformation idea! Travel with no research is great!!)

      reply
  • Debra Schroeder
    September 4, 2019

    Such an interesting story. LOVE the concept of the bikini transformer, lots of looks but less bulk or cost. All the images and videos show slimmer women with smaller cups, curious how the bikini transformer would work those of us with a bit more meat on our bones. 🙂

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Debra, hi! Thanks for the comment! This is great that you liked the concept! Unfortunately as a small start up brand with little investment I can not go BIG. I am focusing right now on sizes S to XXL and I will see where it would take me. I am also working on a top design that would provide better support for bigger Cup sizes. It is in my plan to find plus size models too, so people can relate. I am looking for investors at the moment, because the physical product business is all about investing upfront. If you have any recommendations regarding sizes/shapes/styles – I would love to hear from you!! Thanks again! Hugs, Inna

      reply
  • Vasu Devan
    September 4, 2019

    A very interesting concept. I am sure there is a future especially when we are talking about eco-sensitivity. It is surprising to know that Inaa started out as a geologist!

    reply
    • Inna Popova
      September 6, 2019

      Vasu, thank you so much for your comment! Yes, true, there is a big “Let’s Save the Planet” movement going on right now and people are starting to wake up. It will take some time though, before people abandon their habits of buying more for less. We all know how hard it is to get rid of old harming habits. And yes, I started as a geologist. Studied Geology for 7 years. It is weird to think about it:) It feels like it was in my other life) Changing the direction was hard but it is rewarding. It opened up other opportunities to me. I re-discovered myself in a way. Well, will see where this is going to take me!

      reply

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