The Maui Girl Story

Debbie Kowalski Wilson arrived on Maui in 1969.  Inspired by “Endless Summer,” a surfing documentary by Bruce Brown, she drove her VW Beetle from her home in Ocean City, Maryland to Las Vegas, before catching a flight to Hawaii.  She never looked back.

Since then, she’s made it her mission to inspire others with the things that inspire her. 

She taught herself to sew, and opened The Clothes Addict in 1978, a French style vintage clothing boutique in the Bohemian beach town of Pa’ia.  The store grew quite the following including Ringo Starr, Stevie Nicks and Cindy Lauper.

But then windsurfing became popular and she committed herself to finding a bond between her art and her devotion to the ocean.  And then came Maui Girl.

One day in 1985, Deb was driving her VW from her farm in Peahi above Jaws.  While cruising along the scenic Northshore on a beautiful summer day, a song came on the radio - “Maui Girl”.  “I’d heard the song in the past but on that particular day a light went on.  That’s it!  That’s the name of my label.  Maui Girl!”

Now here we are, almost 40 years in the rearview mirror.

The later you arrive at Maui Girl the more sand you’ll find on the floor!  Located at 12 Baldwin Avenue in Pa’ia, in its storied ocean blue building, steps from the beach.

MJ Day, editor of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, describes our suits as “works of art.”

After all, we’re the most published brand in SI Swimsuit history.  According to MJ, “When you have a zillion swimsuits, this is something different.  It’s still sexy and it works.” 

  • Wilson’s swimwear was and always will be—a siren’s call. So, it shouldn’t really be a surprise then that her swimsuits have been featured in Sports Illustrated over 48 times.

  • When the editor of Sports illustrated describes something as a work of art and it’s not the models she’s referring to, but the swimsuits, well, that’s going to turn some heads.

Inspiring, yes. Art, for sure.  Authentic, and Made on Maui still after all these years.

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