ABOUT THE WRITER: Katelyn likes to think of herself as a stereotypical writer in the movies; she wears glasses, her diet consists of English Breakfast tea’s, her dream flat is a studio apartment in London, and oh yes – one day she wants to publish her own book. You can find all of her musings here.
Born in Australia and inspired by the South of France, UNE PIECE delivers must-have swimsuits for women with timeless style and sensuality. Showcasing her designs at Brisbane Fashion Month, we had a chat to the founder of UNE PIECE, Carly Brown to discuss female empowerment, the fashion industry and the creative processes involved with being a successful swimwear designer.
Where did the idea for Une Piece come about? Has the vision and brand changed since initially beginning?
About a year ago, my husband asked me “if you could do anything what would it be?”. I knew straight away. My own business; in an industry I could make a difference in, working with women as consumers (I love women and the way our minds work).
The idea of a ‘One Piece’ (i.e. UNE PIECE) swimwear label came from my time living in Europe. In Europe women don’t just exclusively wear bikinis - they have a ‘repertoire’ of swimwear they take on holidays - which almost always includes at least one staple “one piece”. When I started designing the range I talked to so many Australian women about what they wanted in a One Piece. Overwhelmingly, they said they wanted something that made them feel confident, and in turn, beautiful. One theme that kept coming up was the issue of the Australian sun and how so many women (smart women) are wearing rash vests which they thought were daggy and unflattering. So, I took that as a challenge to see if I could create something truly beautiful in a one piece - and voila - the Original Sexie Rashie was born.
With the fashion and design industry being such a constant evolving and fast-paced environment, how do you combat the challenges of competition and stay relevant, trending and unique?
Firstly - the product is very very special. Only someone that owns an UNE PIECE understands quite how transformative it is when all you’ve owned before was a daggy rashie! The Original Sexie Rashie was created to be fully contoured to a woman’s shape and we use only the best Italian SPF 50+ fabric on the market. I also researched and researched and researched until I got the perfect fit. I never compromised.
Secondly, I think the brand really resonates with women. We are a brand that celebrates women and their passions. UNE PIECE is more than just a swimwear brand - we are creating a global and inclusive community and movement that celebrates diverse women and the things they are passionate about. Hundreds of women across the world are actively advocating for our brand as part of our #unepiecewomen campaign and we are just about to launch an incredible blog which focuses on the things our customers are most passionate about in life (watch this space!). We also sell sizes 6-16, and for a startup brand this is a wide size range. I was determined to make our products accessible to as many women as I could.
What were you doing before you came up with the idea for Une Piece?
I was the Senior Marketing Manager for UBER. Before that I lived in the UK and was the Head of Brand Marketing for REVLON for the UK and Europe. My background in marketing means that I don’t rest until we give the consumer the absolute best product possible. From the very start of the journey, I defined a very clear vision for the brand and also knew exactly ‘why’ I started UNE PIECE. Remaining true to that vision has helped it gather the affection and momentum it has.I’ve got a strong background in product development and innovation, so I’m always looking for the next thing to push the brand forward and remain relevant.
What do you think makes a woman beautiful?
I think there is no one defining thing that physically makes a woman beautiful. I believe that beauty shines from the inside out. To me a woman that is comfortable in her own skin, who lives with passion and supports other women is truly beautiful.
What were the three main factors that were important to you when designing the collection for Une Piece?
Number one is our customer - our community of #unepiecewomen are so critical to our brand. We have a close and open dialogue with consumers and we are actively celebrating and collaborating in everything from design to how we curate our beautiful campaigns and imagery. Second is design and fit. High quality and sun safe fabric is next - SPF50+ is a no brainer for me. It’s more expensive - but it’s so important - we don’t compromise on any of the elements of our garment design or composition.
Where are you and UNE piece planning to head in the future?
There is so much to come with our Australian Summer 17/18 Campaign. We have a super exciting NPD pipeline coming. We will be delivering some incredibly exciting new pieces, more innovation in our product range and some incredibly exciting new campaigns and platforms to expand and celebrate our growing community.
For more information on the UNE Piece designs and movements visit their website here. To join their wonderful community, connect with UNE piece on their Instagram and Facebook.