1946: Louis Reard had this problem. He had designed something that would stir the masses. But he needed a name for it, something exotic, bold, and eye opening. Four days before he was to show the world his new Bikini in Paris, the U.S. Military provided him with a name. They exploded a nuclear device near several small islands in the Pacific known as the "Bikini Atoll" on July 5th 1946, On July 9th he unveiled "The Bikini". A year before on Friday July 13th Joe Clinard Jr, now known as Bikini Joe was born in the U.S. in a small town in North Carolina. Reard would later claim he named the Bikini after the islands and not the atomic blast, he was clearly taking advantage of a "Hot Topic". Another frenchmen, Jacques Heim, had created his own two piece bathing suit, which he called "The Atome" and he described it as "The World's Smallest Bathing Suit". Reard's "Bikini" was so small, in fact, that no Parisian models at the time would wear it on the runway. He hired Micheline Bernardini, who had no qualms about strolling around in a Bikini, seeing as her day job was a nude dancer at the Casino de Paris. Two piece suits were not new. As part of wartime rationing, the U.S. Government, in 1943, ordered a 10 percent reduction in the fabric used in woman's swimwear. Off when the skirt panel, and out came the bare midriff. At beaches across the country, men paid special attention to women doing their patriotic


1951: Bikinis, perhaps seen as an unfair advantage to the wearer (and as potentially dangerous to the health of some judges) are banned from beauty pageants after the Miss World Contest that year. Bikini Joe entered the first grade that year and his favorite thing to do at school was to draw shapes and color them bright colors with crayons.


1957: Bikini-clad Brigitte Bardot frolics in "And God Created Woman", creating a hot market for the swimwear. Coincidentally, Hollywood markets 3D glasses in theaters. That same year little Bikini Joe found his way into a local drive-in movie to see the movie and the North Carolina theater ask the 12 year old to leave because he was not old enough to watch the movie, at that time movie rating codes had not come about.


1960: Brian Hyland sings "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini", triggering a bikini-buying spree among American teens for the first time.


1963: The Bikini meets a challenge in the generous form of Annette Funicello. The ex-mouseketeer's "Beach Party", with singer Frankie Avalon, leads to six sequels, including the memorably titled "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" (in 1966). No special effects were used. Joe Clinard Jr "Bikini Joe" graduated from High School that year and took a road trip with his senior class to New York City. He found his way into the "Garment District" which

he never forgot during the next 10 years as a Sax player in a traveling Band. Later when he started a T-Shirt screen printing business he headed back to the New York in search of the Garment business.


1964: The bi-("two")-kini becomes the mono-("one")-kini, in the eyes of designer Rudi Gernreich. The Vatican denounces the topless garb. An unrepentant Gernreich sells more than 3,000 suits in less than a season in Europe. More Americans go abroad.


1966: The Bikini grows fur in "One Million Years B.C." which catapults comely cavegirl Raquel Welch to stardom despite mixed reviews of the saggy screen saga.


1970's: Rio and St Tropez produce the Tanga suit-also called the Thong, the string bikini or "dental floss look" in the back of the bottom. The uncomfortable design becomes de rigeur for teen posters, muscle car magazines, auto parts Calendars and boxing ring girls to announce the rounds.


1973: Joe Clinard left behind the music business and started one of the first T-Shirt screen printing companies with partner Tim Batten. This grew into a chain of T-Shirt and Blue Jean stores named "Cheap Joes" and later the "Texas Jeans" brand. It also brought Joe back to the beach and he was now in the garment business.


1980's: Carrie Fisher, as Princess Leia, wears an ornate version of the Bikini (studded collar optional) in "Return of the Jedi" Even Yoda notices. The film is the most successful of the George Lucas trilogys. MTV introduces Spring Break "Bikini Contests" to the world. The late 80's saw a bit of a dip in Bikini sales as the styles and fabrics had not changed much in 10 Years.


1991: Bikini Joe opened a little Bikini shop in Myrtle Beach, SC. A swimwear company California Waves had started offering to supply Bikinis as "Separates", the tops and bottoms sold separate. Many ladies have different Top and Bottom sizes and the big advantage is the sizes and even colors and styles of tops and bottoms can be "Mixed & Matched" to give the customer a better fit. Up until about this time all Bikinis were sold only as sets and you had to settle for one of the pieces that did not fit.


1992: Bikini Joe opened a store in Atlanta Georgia, where in four years the 1996 Summer Olympics would be held. With the help of a friend in Florida doing the sewing, Joe created what has now become the most copied Bikini style in the Sexy Bikini and Costume market. It was his Stars on top-Stripes on Bottom, "Red, White & Blue Bikinis" He offered them for sale on the east coast beaches like Pamama City, Daytona, Myrtle Beach

and one large national Mall chain boutique scooped them up. He even worked with a Radio station to get one into the White House to the attention of Hillary Clinton. The popularity of "Bikini Contests", Thong Bikinis, getting tanned and "Bikini Watching" was at its peak in the early 90's.


1993: Long before the Olympics came to Atlanta and a few years before the fashion world rolled out its "Red, White & Blue" styles of everything from shoes and shirts to hats and jeans. Bikini Joe moved to Ft Lauderdale Florida that still offered some great Swimwear sewing factories. Bikini Joe's line had now grown to include the hottest trend "Shinny Fabrics" with sequins that had to be put on with heat seal one Bikini Piece at a time. The next year Joe set out back to New York to try to find Nylon Lycra fabrics with "Holograms" sealed to the fabric. Up until then only Italy had supplied these fabrics and the cost was very high and the quality not always the best. Joe found Arnold Kolbelt who was starting to use the "Hologram" effects on "Non-Stretch" fabrics for the likes of the Circus acts and stage costumes for the dance trade. Joe, worked with Arnold to develop the Heat transfer all over foils, holograms, dots etc and was the first swimwear company to use the fabrics from Korea.


1995: While most Swimwear and Bikini designs featured "Tropical and Beach Themed Prints" Bikini Joe took a completely different approach. His designs included a "$100 Bill" Print, "Smiley Face" engineered prints, Tattoo Designs, Pot Leafs, Stars, Hearts, Skulls, Camo, Lots of Shine and the suit that was outlawed in the state capital of South Carolina, the original "Rebel Flag BIkini, a version is still sold today and he says it was never meant to be more that a fashion thing, not political in any way. A little later Sports Illustrated featured Bikini Joes "Poodle" bikini that got its name because Joe had found a fabric that looked more like a Poodle dogs hair than a bikini.


2000: The rise of the Bikini bottom had now finally became lower like those that had been shown on fashion runways years before. Lighter skin, less sun and the Tattoo craze was having its effect on swimwear and Bikini sales. Young girls were starting to wear their Bikini low like their Jeans but demanded that the back side of the Bikini Bottom was full coverage, the Thong and Rio backs that came on the scene in the 70's was dead.


2004: Bikini Joe moved to California and joined forces with the same company that made the Mix & Match Bikinis popular 10 years earlier. Joe loved living in Hollywood doing all the photo shoots and catalogs for all the lines doing his own artwork and building his own websites. But Bikini Joe's heart was not into just making "Swimwear-Swimwear".


2006: Bikini Joe moved back to North Carolina and designed a Western Jean line for men and began doing what he is known best for making his "Party Bikinis" as quoted Bikini-Beach.com. This was the year the "Bikini" celebrated its 60th anniversary since the bomb was dropped on Bikini Atoll and Louis Reard introduced his first Bikini in France.


2009-10 In a time when most of the swimwear brands that were around when Bikini Joe started have gone out of business, sold out or closed. BikiniJoe has for the first time ever brought into his mix two new Brands 'H2oh!' a value-quality new line of  9 Solid colors, 10 top styles up to E-Cup underwires and 9 Bottoms from String tie side to a more mature coverage banded high waist bottom and all sold as Separates to get a better fit. In addition another Boutique Swim line called LEGAL BEACH with Engineered prints and special hardware and details keeps Bikini Joe looking for his next "Smiley", "$100 Bill", "Rebel", "Flames", "Hologram"...many of Joes first styles and fabrics are still being made today by other companies which shows the true influence of Bikini Joes Steet looks & Art and Fabrics an example is the "Peace Sign" suits he did in 1995 showed up again in the last few years in many lines and being the first to do "Camo Bikinis" in 90's and the first USA Flag suits are still seen today with lots of other labels and makers all the while Bikini Joe is looking forward not Back!!


2012 After Many Years of being out of serious Retail business.... Bikini Joe designed and brought forth the concept of AQUA Boutique, a Swimwear total Separates store 200 miles from the nearest Beach in High Point NC for his Younger Brother Eddie. As the swimwear and Bikini designer now 66 years old Joe has an edgy forward LEGAL BEACH Line and continues to help direct and merchandise and import the growing H2oh! Colours line for Myrtle Wear inc Myrtle Beach SC. H2oh! has changed the way stores sell and merchandise Solid separates with more inventory, more sizes, styles, fits and and wider ONE LINE Size range than anyone. Solids have become the basic Swimwear of the last 4 years and as others look for the newest print or trim, Bikini Joe takes H2oh! to the Extreme level of choices for everyone that needs a swimsuit in a time period when much of America is looking for Basic Quality merchandise that will not over extend their budget and at the same time look and feel like they have the Hottest Swimsuit at the Pool Party, River Party or on the Lakes of USA and all along the Beaches of America.


2013 Brings the the Largest and Best Swimwear, Separates, Bikinis from Joe in his over 20 years, Newest line is AQ-WA! Separates featuring Larger Cup Bras and special solids and stripe fabrics, along with a larger H2oh! Colours and Bikini Joe's Special Fun LEGAL BEACH Bikinis!


2014: Bikini Joe does it again with a larger Bra Size Separates line of AQ-WA! Bra sizes from C to G Cups as more of American women want to look good and demands Fashion Swimwear that FITS! Both great Solid colors and New prints with Bottoms from Lower Hipster styles to Retro High Waist.


2015: AQUA Boutiques and AquaBoutiques.com along with AQ-WA! Bra Size Separates keep Bikini Joe busy for now for 23 years was quoted in the California Apparel News as the World's Oldest male Bikini Designer at 69 years old


2016: A much larger  Retail AQUA Store was opened for the season, The AQ-WA Separates Wholesale line picked up new customers and had one of the best selling Wholesale seasons with Swimwear stores from NC, SC, GA, FL, TX, AZ, MO, CA  with great new Prints and styles which now feature Cup Sizes from B to G cups and XS to XX Bottoms.


2017-19: Eight New prints were designed Patterns with Colors by Joe in the off season to produce a New Season with AQ-WA Cup Sized Separates in 10 Original prints and 4 Solids in 8 Tops styles from B to G Cups and Bottoms from S to XX. The Quality and fit of Joes AQ-WA line is now thought to be one of the best Values and sells to Loyal stores and Retail customers key Beach areas of the US.

          History of the Bikini and Bikini Joe



Bikini Joe's LEGAL Aqua Boutiques My Retro Bikinis 1992-2000 NEW 2017 AQ-WA See Early Styles Joe's Bikinis Follow Joe TWITTER OUR FACEBOOK! USAwebeffect

First Bikini Joes Suits from 1992

Now New! AQ-WA Swimwear Separates!