Joanna Kinsman hopes to make a splash this summer in the fashion world. The aspiring designer, a Fryeburg native who now lives in Windham, is launching a lingerie-inspired swimwear line in August with the help of her mentor, noted designer Conrad Lamour.

Kinsman debuted four of her pieces — including a pearl-string black bikini and a cream-colored halterneck with black lace overlay — at VOGUE, Lamour’s weekly fashion event, in Boston in June. She is now preparing new samples for the runway at Lamour’s Providence Fashion Week SWIM in August.

Lamour, perhaps best known for designing a suit for rapper and record producer P. Diddy, is a fashion designer and event planner based in Boston and New York. A fashion industry savant, he often advises up-and-coming designers and invites them to premiere their work at his events.

Lamour said in a recent phone interview that he was impressed by Kinsman’s designs.

“Her swimwear line is actually kind of advanced for someone just beginning,” he said. “Usually it takes time to develop a solid collection and design principle.”

Lamour noted the unusual level of detail in Kinsman’s work. “I was really surprised at how well the trimming matched with everything,” he said. “Her swimwear looks fine and more handmade. I’d classify it as a high-end collection — that’ll be her niche.”

For Kinsman, it’s all about shaping an image of “glamour and luxury. Those are words I’m attracted to. I really want to build this as a big fashion brand.”

She intends to start selling her “Miss Kinsman” bikinis online in the fall and in boutiques by next summer.

Kinsman spent the past few years in San Diego working in Internet marketing and social media. She is back in Maine temporarily, working for an e-commerce startup company and running Miss Kinsman on the side.

Her philosophy? “Work smarter, not harder.”

Kinsman said she doesn’t have the time or patience to sit sewing bikinis.

“I have professional sketches drawn in the Philippines. I outsourced the logo to a guy in Colorado, and I work with a manufacturer in China,” she said. “I’m here to make decisions.”

Before Kinsman encountered Lamour, however, her fashion ambitions were far from becoming a reality. Then they met at a fashion show, through a friend of a friend.

“It was a fluke series of events,” Kinsman said. “We started talking all the time. He knew I was working on swimwear, and then suddenly he invited me to be in his show.”

Lamour’s event in Boston was the incentive Kinsman needed to finally pull together finished samples of her bikinis.

“When you commit to a deadline, all of a sudden you can’t flake, and you have to make it work,” she said. “It was stressful. We were doing the fitting with the model the day before.”

The model was 2010 Miss Maine Teen U.S.A. Norissa Morse of Saco.

“Working with Joanna has been great,” Morse said. “She’s super sweet, thoughtful and articulate. She knows how to target girls, especially my age, with designs that stand out. They’re delicate with a lingerie twist — a little bit sexier but still appropriate — and I think that works.”

The daughter of a professional seamstress for a designer on Newbury Street in Boston, Kinsman had an early interest in fashion, but pushed those dreams to the back burner as she got older. It wasn’t until she moved to San Diego that Kinsman began to recognize her own potential.

“I’d draw something and then see the same idea in a fashion magazine a month later,” she said. “It was frustrating, but I knew I had the right idea. In fashion, though, you have to do it first or do it better.”

The event in Providence in August will be Kinsman’s first runway show. She is branching out to do a nautical-themed line.

“I’m thinking a lot of rope, ties, anchors and buttons,” she said. “It’ll be really fun to add those details.”

Has the swimwear designer made any suits for herself? No, and Kinsman doesn’t intend to.

“Some designers make the mistake of being their own model,” she said. “I think it takes away from the image.”

Staff Writer Sophie Gould can be contacted at 791-6354 or at:

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