EM­BRAC­ING YOUR­SELF

LO­CAL DE­SIGNER OF­FERS A SWIMWEAR LINE THAT COM­PLE­MENTS EV­ERY TYPE OF WOMAN

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | COVER STORY - WORDS: AN­NIE CAUGHEY

Liv­ing on the Sun­shine Coast, it’s hard to avoid the sun, whether you’re surf­ing at the beach, hik­ing one of the Glass House Moun­tains or pe­rus­ing the Plaza river restau­rants in search of lunch. Coast lo­cals are al­ways me­an­der­ing about in the sun­shine. But the ac­tive, healthy life­style that de­fines this re­gion is more than just keep­ing fit and eat­ing the “oc­ca­sional” smoothie bowl. It’s about look­ing af­ter ev­ery part of the body, even the skin. The sun-safety mes­sage is drummed into us at school, and we are forced to com­ply (any­one else re­mem­ber cry­ing af­ter the teacher told you “no play” be­cause you’d for­got­ten your hat?). That feels like a life or death sit­u­a­tion at the time. Then, as we get older, many of us be­gin to sac­ri­fice this safety in the name of fash­ion. And that re­ally could be­come a mat­ter of life or death. But a Queens­land brand that un­der­stands all too well the harsh­ness of our state’s cli­mate and the dam­ag­ing ef­fects harm­ful UVA and UVB rays can have on our skin is UNE PIECE. Af­ter liv­ing in Europe for many years, UNE PIECE founder Carly Brown came home to Australia to re­alise a wor­ry­ing gap ex­isted in the Aus­tralian swimwear mar­ket. She wanted a swim­suit that was stylish, shaped and a time­less cut that flat­tered the wearer, while also pro­tect­ing them from the hot Aussie sun – some­thing sim­i­lar to what she had seen Euro­pean women wear dur­ing her time abroad. Carly set out to de­sign a la­bel for the woman who is con­fi­dent, em­pow­ered and holis­tic and who lives a ful­filled and ac­tive life. So, who bet­ter than Noosa-based model, surfer and lover of all things out­doors, Bree War­ren, to be­come the new face of the dy­namic brand. Bree’s re­fresh­ing take on the fash­ion in­dus­try is what de­fines her ca­reer. As a plus-size model who’s faced re­jec­tion, crit­i­cism and dis­crim­i­na­tion, she em­braces her unique fig­ure and uses it as an as­set to her in­di­vid­u­al­ity. And pro­gres­sive and con­tem­po­rary brands such as ASOS, Tigerlily and Lorna Jane ( just to name a few) are em­brac­ing that, too. Bree’s ca­reer has taken her all over the world but af­ter dis­cov­er­ing the Sun­shine Coast, the 31-year-old de­cided to set­tle here with her part­ner Mitchell Mccan. With the launch of the new UNE PIECE Sum­mer 19 cam­paign, Week­end Mag­a­zine caught up with the lo­cal stun­ner.

How are you set­tling in to the Sun­shine Coast re­gion?

It’s to­tal par­adise. I’m still trav­el­ling a lot but I love com­ing home now even more. The beach is at the end of our street and I can surf ev­ery day. The life­style is just so good and re­fresh­ing.

How did your mod­el­ling ca­reer be­gin?

I used to get scouted as a teenager and I did ac­tu­ally sign with an agency in Bris­bane early on. How­ever, I never re­ally got much work be­cause I was just big­ger and curvier than other mod­els. I was sort of in this mid­dle-size cat­e­gory and most peo­ple weren’t re­ally sure what to do with me. It wasn’t un­til a few years later when I was on hol­i­day in New York, I was signed to a plus-size di­vi­sion of a ma­jor US agency and that’s when things re­ally started to take off. I spent three years liv­ing in Lon­don and work­ing through­out Europe and then the past five years based in New York.

What chal­lenges have you faced along the way and how did you deal with these chal­lenges?

I’ve been go­ing against the grain my en­tire ca­reer. When you start out as a young model, the high­est prob­a­bil­ity is that you will fail but even more so for my size. It’s com­pet­i­tive, there are no guar­an­tees that any hard work will be re­warded, you are liv­ing and work­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and your sched­ule can change at any mo­ment. I don’t think I’ve been any­where longer than a week in a re­ally long time. Even now, I’m on planes and wait­ing in air­ports ev­ery sec­ond day. I’ve learnt to adapt and have built a cer­tain level of re­silience. The big­gest chal­lenge for me is chang­ing peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of what makes a model in the first place. There have been many peo­ple over the years who think my size doesn’t be­long in fash­ion but I re­ally don’t care any more. There will al­ways be peo­ple re­sis­tant to change. In 10 years, peo­ple will think it’s crazy we never had di­ver­sity be­fore.

What does it mean to you to be the new face of UNE PIECE Australia’s Sum­mer 19 Cam­paign? What do you love about the brand?

UNE PIECE is the kind of brand I am all about. The brand aes­thetic is on point for me. I love the beach and I want to pro­tect my skin but I also want to be a bit sexy. UNE PIECE is the tri­fecta.

Do you think UNE PIECE stands out from the crowd in com­par­i­son to other swimwear la­bels in Australia?

UNE PIECE is re­ally the first brand to own that sun-safe space. They have rein­vented the clas­sics in a cool way. I think peo­ple want that ac­count­abil­ity now and they want to pro­tect them­selves when they go to the beach.

Where do you see your­self in five years?

Hope­fully still at Noosa surf­ing with the hus­band and kids.

What mes­sage would you like to pass on to Aus­tralian women out there?

We are all cre­ated dif­fer­ently and that’s a good thing. My mes­sage has al­ways been about in­clu­sive­ness and di­ver­sity. We need to see dif­fer­ent shapes, sizes and eth­nic­i­ties in fash­ion. We have the op­por­tu­nity to change things for the next gen­er­a­tion and for them to grow up with a healthy dose of body con­fi­dence. The UNE PIECE Sum­mer 19 col­lec­tion is avail­able at Noosa Heads stock­ist Waterlily on Hast­ings St. The full range also can be bought on­line at un­e­piece.com

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