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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I have quite a large collection of books so am currently going back and re-reading some of my favourites.
Visions of Gideon – Sufjan Stevens.
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.
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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