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