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Like the A-listers who wear their teeny hardware-less bikinis and flirty-yet-functional Aloha dresses and separates, Kalani and Oleema Miller are hardly in one place long. (By the way those stars include Beyonce, Rihanna, Cameron Diaz, Emily Ratajkowski, Amy Schumer and Kaia Gerber.) The sister-founders of Mikoh — born in 2010 in SoCal — are eternally on the move to enviable locales, more often than not tropical ones.
Kalani, whose longtime boyfriend is world champion surfer Kelly Slater, lives out of a suitcase when the pair is not on the North Shore, in Australia or California, while Oleema splits time between Oahu and Orange County. Though bikinis are their bread and butter — the wellness-minded Cali girls grew up surfing, modeling and sunbathing at beaches from Malibu to Orange County — their ready-to-wear collection gives diverse patrons opportunities to embody that singular jet-set, sand-centric energy wherever they go.
Spring/Summer, for example, includes both soft and darker palettes comprising pale pinks, bright blues and moody, dark florals. They’re also just about to launch their unretouched “Our Mikoh” campaign for Resort 2018, featuring a diverse collection of women from around the world — representing all ages and body types — the sisters connected with in Hawaii.
Fresh off their first visit to India, the sisters talk spring travel inspiration, bucket-list destinations and on-the-road wellness hacks.
What was the impetus for visiting India?
Oleema: “I told Kalani this year would be the year we would go visit places we haven’t been before and that we would put ourselves out there to experience travels we typically wouldn’t.”
Kalani: “Oleema was the real driving point of us going, and I couldn’t be happier we went. It was so special to experience a place unlike anywhere we have been. We tried to describe it like Bali (where we do our manufacturing) meets Mexico meets Asia.”
What did you discover there?
Oleema: “I have never been to such a colorful, vibrant and culturally rich place — the colors, smells, people, fashion and food were intoxicating. We planned it super last minute, literally days before. We tagged along for the first part of our trip with our girlfriend, Jen, who has been going for years. And then ventured off.”
Kalani: “We spent a lot of time in Jaipur and then explored the different areas of Rajasthan. Udaipur, known as the Lake City, was magical. We were lucky enough to stay in the floating palace in the middle of the lake (the Taj Lake Palace). We also spent a night at a leopard camp three hours outside the city. It was fun to spend time in this beautiful place where the leopards roam free within the city and the surrounding mountains. The Indian people live alongside them and neither fears each other. It was so special to see nature and man-made civilization coincide.”
Oleema: “It was absolute magic.”
What role does travel play for Mikoh?
Oleema: “My travels are the biggest inspiration every single season. The Polynesian islands are my absolute favorite to travel to — you can’t help but be inspired by the colors, textures, fabrics and landscapes of all the islands, and you can see nods to these qualities of Polynesia in each collection.”
Who do you have in mind when designing?
Oleema: “I always think of a strong, confident, outgoing and adventurous type of woman. These qualities start as young as toddlers and go all the way up to my mother’s age. I think of little babies being sassy and grandmas carrying that same flair. I love that all ages wear Mikoh and have confidence when doing so.”
Where are you planning on going this spring?
Kalani: “We’re hoping to spend time in Japan, Tahiti and I would love a European summer one day!”
Oleema: “I’m hoping to pop over to Japan, New York, and definitely somewhere tropical, too. I never really go anywhere with much of a plan ahead of time — it keeps life exciting.”
Where do you look for travel inspo?
Oleema: “Mostly from word of mouth, seeing photos of friends’ travels, and watching House Hunters International — I love that show.”
What destinations are on your bucket lists?
Kalani: “I really want to take Oleema to Japan since we grew up learning the language at our local school. I also really want to do a road trip throughout Europe and Australia. Seeing Alaska would be amazing, too.”
Oleema: “I am dying to go to the Swiss Alps, see the Northern Lights and go to Antarctica. I just realized these are all cold places — I suppose I’ve seen enough islands!”
Speaking of, you both spend a lot of time on islands. What are some of your favorite?
Kalani: “Hawaii has become a second home for us. We live out on the North Shore, so I think it’s important to go into town, Waikiki, and spend some time in the city. Also, everyone should add a little island hopping to their itinerary; every island is unique. I personally love Maui and the Big Island.”
Oleema: “I have been going to Bali for 10 years now and this last trip was the first time I stayed in Canggu. I rented the cutest place on AirBnb and had the best time. It started out as a small surf town and has turned into the cutest little boutique-y area with amazing restaurants, good shopping and a beautiful beach.”
As frequent travelers, what are your must-haves for the long-haul flights?
Kalani: “I love to do mini facials onboard to both pass the time and also protect against the almost zero percent humidity on the plane. I love Derma-E’s products, their wipes and hydrating spray. I also love applying a moisturizing serum from Eminence, and I always top it off with the Caudalie Moisturizing Mask. I also think it’s really important to have a good plane pillow, snacks and an eye mask you love.”
Oleema: “I swear by taking off all my makeup and applying a ton of moisturizing products. I love Ursa Major makeup wipes, Tata Harper face mist, Caudalie’s Moisturizing Mask and Malie Organics lotion for my hands. I also always bring my own food: pre-made salads, cut-up carrots and celery, grapes, some chocolate and Nerds (yes, I love them).”
What’s your favorite place for a SoCal staycation?
Kalani: “We used to live in Malibu and there is nothing quite like a Malibu summer. They’ve opened up a few hotels in the area so it’s easy to go spend a day or weekend there — I highly recommend it!”
Oleema: “The Montage in Laguna Beach is hard to beat — it’s right on the water and has the most beautiful view and incredible restaurants.”
Any styling tips for building a day-to-night springtime vacation look?
Kalani: “I love anything that is beach to street. I wear one of our one-pieces like the Kilauea and pair it with a cute pair of vintage boyfriend jeans or a maxi skirt. Add cute sandals and voila!”
Oleema: “I love wearing a cute coverup during the day and jazzing it up at night with a big pair of statement earrings and sandals.”
How do you stay well and fresh while on the go?
Kalani: “People would be shocked by the amount of supplements, food, snacks and all-around wellness products I pack when traveling — it’s basically a moving natural pharmacy. I pack fish oil, immune support, Garden of Life’s women’s daily vitamin, Amazing Grass Greens Powder in the perfect little travel packets, and calcium magnesium, which helps you sleep at night when you’re in different time zones. Plus I have everything from natural manuka honey packets from Wedderspon, lozenges, nausea medicine, allergy medicine — all natural and organic — and a couple Benadryl and Aleve just in case. I have a full arsenal of vitamins, too. If I’m only going for a week or two I like to pre-distribute them in a little pill case so it’s easy.”
Where is a hot 2018 summer destination?
Oleema: “Europe is always a must. An itty bitty Mikoh bikini, a flowy maxi dress, flat sandals and an oversized hat are all you need.”