Melissa Odabash was scouted at young age from her hometown in New Jersey, leading to a very successful modelling career which brought her to live in Italy in her early 20’s. While working as a swimwear model there, Melissa noticed a lack in the market for swim styles that she wanted to wear and very quickly decided to launch her own line.
Her first collection was curated with chic solid coloured bikinis, however this soon expanded into beachwear, often inspired by her Mother’s 1970’s crochet pieces, before developing and growing the collections to what we know today.
Melissa Odabash relocated once more to London where her brand is now based. The American designer continues to be deeply involved with her brand and the daily operations within it.
Throughout her success as a designer, Melissa continues to support her philanthropic ventures including: Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Prince’s Trust, Kidsco, CHIVA and has partnered with Elton John’s Aids Foundation. In 2015 Melissa launched her debut mastectomy line with the Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity and she continues to support, partner and champion their cause whenever she can.
In 2022 Melissa was sworn in as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) at an official honours presentation at the Tower of London on behalf of his Majesty the King. The long-awaited ceremony comes after the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Her Majesty The Queen appointed Melissa Odabash as an MBE in June of 2021. The honour was awarded in recognition of her services to international swimwear fashion. Amongst many awards she has received over the years, she was also bestowed the honour of receiving the Founder's Award from the WIE and Humanitarian Award from the Future Dreams charity.
Launched in 1999, the beginnings of the brand were inspired by Melissa working as a model in Italy, often modelling swimwear and wanting to create something that she herself would wear.
Melissa began creating and selling small capsule collections of swimwear in Italy. Shortly after, Melissa’s pieces featured on Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell in the Sports Illustrated calendar followed by Victoria Secret stocking one of her designs leading to Melissa Odabash quickly becoming internationally recognised as a timeless brand that ‘re-introduced high fashion into the swimwear world.’
Taking its cue from Melissa herself, a former swimwear model, the brand’s collections are developed and created to sculpt and enhance the silhouette for all body types, empowering the wearer and making them a must-have for the distinguished global traveller.
Shortly after its launch, British Vogue named Melissa Odabash, 'the Ferrari's of the bikini world' making it clear that the brand had a strong, luxury position in the swimwear market.
Each collection illustrates signature Odabash style and quality. From the finest quality Italian swimwear fabrics to re-worked archived and vintage prints that are ethically sourced and manufactured. Small and considered capsule collections have been skilfully produced from regenerated yarns and sustainable fabric to continuously work towards reducing the brands environmental impact. To the multiple fittings of swim and beachwear garments before every collection launch, personally conducted by Melissa to ensure each items fit is perfected before reaching the customer.
Melissa’s collections are sold through her online stores which ship globally and two flagship boutiques in London, located in Notting Hill and Chelsea that offer clients a complete experience of the luxury brand. Additionally Melissa Odabash is distributed internationally in over 50 countries and throughout 500 luxury department stores, boutiques and resorts.
As an extension of her collections, Melissa has frequently collaborated with other designers and brands to create standalone capsule collection to bring a fresh take on the brand and expand its audience.
Melissa created a line of luxurious beachwear and swimwear with best friend, and highly skilled couture designer Julian MacDonald together they pushed swimwear boundaries and created statement pieces.
A highly successful collaboration is Melissa Odabash X Amoena, creating a collection of mastectomy onepieces and bikinis with iconic Odabash style.
Other key collaborations include working with Victoria Secret to create their best-selling bikini, teaming up with Gwyneth Paltrow for GOOP to develop ‘The Perfect Bikinis’ for the lifestyle brand together, working with Bryan Adams for a special edition Speedo’s coffee table book for their 75th Anniversary and Rachel Roy to create a decadent capsule swimwear line that achieved astounding success.
Melissa Odabash has also developed iconic swimsuits for films such as ‘The Impossible’, ‘Diana’, and ‘Passengers’.
In 2019, Melissa Odabash launched an affordable jewellery line with QVC, Escape by Melissa Odabash.
Melissa Odabash has gained a cult following throughout the brands history, favoured by many high profile celebrities and fashionable peers. The brand continues to be beloved by those including: Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Christie Brinkley, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and the Kardashian/Jenners to name but a few.
The collections have a consistent presence in both national and international fashion publications e.g Vogue, Elle, Porter, Harpers Bazaar, In Style and Tatler, as well as a signification presence online and support from respected fashion channels and influencers.
Melissa continues to enjoy many philanthropic ventures and has worked with Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Prince’s Trust, Kidsco, CHIVA and has partnered with Elton John to create an exclusive hat for his Aids Foundation. In 2015 Melissa launched her debut mastectomy line with the Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity.
She also been bestowed the honour of receiving the Founder's Award from the WIE and Humanitarian Award from the Future Dreams charity.
Melissa has contributed to educational establishments such as speaking to Harvard Alumni in New York and inspiring undergraduates at London’s Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design.
Melissa has been acclaimed the Salon International de la Lingerie's 'Designer of The Year' award and has been awarded as one of the 50 Most Influential People of London at the 2014 London Lifestyle Awards and the 'Retailer of the Year' in 2015.
Melissa has also continued her work in broadcast media, which has involved mentoring models in the popular television programme Britain & Irelands Next Top Model and has provided endless fashion expertise for Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two.