EVER TRIED TO FEEL LIKE A BOND GIRL IN A RASHIE? WHILE STYLE AND SUN-SMARTS HAVEN’T ALWAYS BEEN THE BEST OF BEACH PLAYMATES, A NEW RANGE IS CHANGING THAT
In a sea of bikinis, a Queensland swimwear label is bringing back the eternally elegant one-piece. The seed was planted early for UNE PIECE founder Carly Brown, who had a baptism of surf-and-sand on the Sunshine Coast before moving to London.
“My father is an avid (and very good) surfer, so we spent lots of time growing up at the beach,” she says.
“My amazing mother was always really careful with our skin as she was very fair – there was always slip, slop, slap in our household.
“When I was in my twenties I lived in London for almost seven years and discovered a real passion for summer (given how cold and wet London could be).
“Summer holidays in Europe are another level of planning and focus for women. They have a repertoire of swimwear that they take away with them and this almost always includes a one-piece.
“I quickly became captivated with the elegance and simplicity of a one-piece compared to the Aussie obsession with bikinis.
“What I also realised is that women feel more confident and empowered to enjoy the beach in a one-piece. They feel more beautiful.”
Back in Brisbane, that realisation was enough for Carly to apply her brandbuilding background to launching her own label.
“I’ve worked for a lot of other companies in my career creating brands from scratch and managing global brands like Revlon, Coca Cola and Uber, so I have a lot of experience in product design and brand development,” she says.
“It’s a passion … but I’d never worked in fashion.
“My husband was the true catalyst for this all to happen.
“One day he asked me, if I could do anything what would it be?
“From there I knew – to start my own business and create something that was truly beautiful and that would make a difference to women.”
UNE PIECE launched with a single “icon” piece, the Original Sexie Rashie, a figure-hugging flatterer with in-built confidence boost.
“I literally worked on it for more than a year to get it to the final piece it is today,” Carly says.
“It went through 11 design iterations before it hit the market and was tested and tested and tested on real women to make sure it hit the mark.”
Currently hard at work on her next collection, Carly says the connection with her customers relies on keeping it real.
“I think shopping for swimwear can be a chore for women. It’s that sinking feeling that it looks great on the hanger (or on the model) but when you try it on it just doesn’t look the same,” she says.
“I want to make sure women never have that sinking feeling.
“We are creating a brand that embraces and celebrates diversity of beauty and healthy body image.
“This is a bit against the grain for the fashion industry, but I want UNE PIECE to be a force for good for women.”