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Eco-chic swimwear

Eco-chic swimwear

We speak to the Australian-born founder of new sustainable swimwear brand Bower Swimwear, Fiona Ryn, about her motivations for starting an eco-conscious fashion brand, her work/life balance and the ultimate holiday-essential (besides of course, swimwear!).

What made you set up Bower Swimwear, tell us how you started out. 

Rupert (my boyfriend and business partner) decided to start it in response to a lack of contemporary swim brands coming from Europe. Being Australian I was so accustomed to shopping a wide range of swim that was amazing quality and really struggled to find that when living in London.  

Was there a tipping point/what was your first big break? 

Securing our first major store was when we realized we had something people wanted. Also, our first every piece of editorial was Gisele shot by Mario Testino for Vogue – that endorsement was amazing. 

What brought on the decision to make sustainability a key focus of your brand? 

When sourcing fabrics we found that many of the Italian mills had a wide range of recycled fabrics in beautiful colours, it was an easy decision to make. We felt it was important that if we were gong to launch a company in one of the most wasteful industries we want to ensure we are doing our small part towards shifting production and consumer patterns. 

What have been the biggest challenges in sticking to your ethos? 

Being a small 2 person brand we don’t always have the resources or budget to invest in new processes or fabrics. We would love to be able to take more time sourcing clothing fabrics and invest in research. 

What surprised you most about setting up your own company? 

That is is a 24/7 role. As much as you try to be strict and only work within normal hours, when you work with your partner and live with them you can’t help but talk about ideas and future plans. 

What does a typical day look like to you? 

My dogs wake up very early so it’s usually straight out for a walk with them, with a quick workout afterwards. I quickly check my emails to see what the day ahead holds, before breakfast. By 10 the day has started, we do everything in house so some days we are shooting content, designing, researching, invoicing, accounting, sending press requests, booking buying appointments, general admin. If it is a warm day we usually break from 3-5 and head to the beach for a swim. Then it’s another few hours work before dinner & time to switch off and cook.  

What inspires your collections? 

Every collection we focus on a woman we admire, from Lauren Hutton to Bianca Jagger - A lady with style but also substance. Although it may not be literal it sets the tone for our colour palette and mood. 

And your gorgeous shoot locations? 

We spend 80% of our time in Biarritz, in the South West of France. We have amazing locations on our doorstep and spend our weekends on road trips exploring the surrounding area – we are lucky enough to having San Sebastian, Guethary and Hossegor literally on our doorstep. 

What new and exciting thing are you most looking forward to currently? 

We have a really exciting collaboration launching in October. We can’t say anything but it is something both Rupert and I have always wanted to do. Aside from work, we are packing up our house in Biarritz this August and will hit the road for a month visiting Ibiza, Mallorca and Germany before relocating to Amsterdam. 

What do you do to relax and unwind? 

I recently got into do home facials. I use a foaming one 3 days a week and it is nice to just sit down with a book while it works it magic. 

What’s your favourite way to get moving? 

I love taking my dogs for a hike in the mountains on the French / Spanish boarder. It’s so peaceful up there and you get amazing 360 views from the ocean to the Basque country. 

What book is on your bedside table? 

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I have quite a large collection of books so am currently going back and re-reading some of my favourites.  

Last song you downloaded? 

Visions of Gideon – Sufjan Stevens.   

Where are you going on holiday this summer?  

As mentioned we are taking September to travel before our move to Amsterdam. It wil be my first holiday in almost 4 years so I am so excited to see places I have never been, especially Mallorca. 

What are your holiday essentials (apart from your swimwear!) 

Sunscreen, being from Australia you grow up knowing the damage the sun can do. I do not go anywhere without factor 50 for the face and 30 for the body. A good book, a summer playlist, sun umbrella and sparkling water. 

Thanks, Fiona! To find out more about Bower Swimwear and to shop their gorgeous spring/summer collection, visit their website here


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