There’s a reason we hate shopping for swimmers; we’ve been conditioned to hate our bodies.
One Australian swimwear brand shaking things up is UNE PIECE, who not only make sustainable and beautiful swimwear, they refuse to market to women’s vulnerabilities. Carly Brown, Premium member and, founder of UNE PIECE has found huge success by championing body positivity and going where no rashie had ever gone before. In 2016, through much research and sampling, Carly created a sunsafe, luxe cossie you actually want to wear. She’s now expanded the range, and just wrapped a collaboration with fashion illustrator Kerrie Hess. We asked Carly to reflect on her two years in business and what she’s most proud of.
Carly writes …
Before launching UNE PIECE in 2016, I noticed something about the swimwear industry that made me uncomfortable. Women were marketed to in a way that preyed on their insecurities and few brands were approaching swimwear from a truly positive stance.
As someone who grew up in a cossie at the beach in Queensland, and who’d been the head of marketing teams at Revlon, Coca Cola and more recently in senior marketing at UBER (launching products was my passion – I launched over 300 products to the global market across these brands), I realised we had the power to change the industry and improve the way women accessed swimwear.
My mission for UNE PIECE from day one has been to create luxury, sun conscious swimwear that empowers women to feel beautiful and confident by the water, and it’s a philosophy my team and I will always remain true to. Our brand was born in Australia and inspired by the south of France, and since launching our Original Sexie Rashie and our subsequent collections, we’ve been thrilled to create products as well as a brand that women around the world love and connect with.
Building a community of empowered women.
Probably the most incredible part of creating UNE PIECE has been forging a real community with our customers. The women who buy UNE PIECE love style but it’s our message of confidence and empowerment (whether that’s physical or spiritual) that resonates with customers all over the world. Every morning I check our Instagram feed and am greeted by pictures, comments and DMs from women sharing how wonderful they feel in our swimwear. They all look comfortable within themselves and are living joy-filled lives and it makes my heart sing.
Instilling confidence in women is in UNE PIECE’s DNA, so it’s been amazing working with body positivity advocate and model Bree Warren for our Summer 19 Côte d’Azur Collection campaign. Bree really resonates with our brand’s values and we don’t take her praise lightly. We believe all women, however they come packaged, are beautiful and deserve to feel so. It’s a goal we strive towards daily.
You can execute the most incredible marketing campaigns and put out the most inspiring messages but if your product doesn’t stack up, it’s never going to be a success. As such, creating the most luxurious, beautiful product possible has always been what we strive towards. In fact, we went through 11 careful design iterations of the inaugural Original Sexie Rashie until I created the perfect fit that’s fully contoured to a woman’s body. It’s fully lined and has 28 pieces in its composition, when most rash vests on the market have only six.
Also at the heart of our brand is a passion for art and supporting Australian artists. We’ve forged incredible partnerships with some of Australia’s most incredible artists. Fashion illustrator Kerrie Hess (who’s worked with Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Cartier and more) creates incredible incarnations of our swimwear and the talented Heather Hawkins hand-illustrates our beautiful prints. Creating timeless, innovative products is constantly front of mind.
The impact the fashion industry has on our environment is devastating and we’re really committed to finding ways to lessen our footprint. Which is why we create all our swimsuits with sustainable fabric that’s comprised of regenerated nylon derived from recycled materials. Sun safety is also an important cornerstone of our brand, so we’ve used luxurious, chlorine-resistant Italian fabric with the highest possible sun protection rating of UPF50+ that blocks 98% of UV rays. We want people to wear our products with the knowledge that they’re doing something good for the planet and for their skin.
We’ve just blown out two candles on our birthday cake and reflecting on how far we’ve come is, at times, a little overwhelming. UNE PIECE has now sold into 51 countries around the world. As of November, we’re stocked in selected David Jones stores (and online) around the country, with Bridget Veals, General Manager of Womenswear and Accessories at David Jones announcing that, “We are delighted to have such a creative Australian brand as UNE PIECE join the David Jones swimwear offering for customers”.
It’s feedback like this that really spurs the team and me on to continue to really step up and deliver a product and brand that exceeds any expectations a woman has of a swimwear brand. We’ve experienced high growth – not just in sales, but in growth across our community. We now have over 19,000 social followers and our small but mighty team is growing. The challenge of creating luxury swimwear that instills confidence in women – rather than preys on their insecurities – can be achieved.
Carly Brown is (of course) a Premium member, connect with Carly here, and check out UNE PIECE here. It’s what we’ll be wearing to the beach this summer!