Julia Hed­ley, swimwear de­signer and owner of South African swimwear la­bel BeachCult, tells ELLE how it all be­gan

Elle (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

South African swimwear brand BeachCult

Five words that best de­scribe you? Julia Hed­ley (JH): A cre­ative, wan­der­lust-driven en­tre­pre­neur.

Where did it all be­gin? JH: I’d started BeachCult on a small level – im­port­ing and cre­at­ing a few gar­ments – be­fore do­ing my MBA with the In­ter­na­tional Fash­ion Academy in Paris. Af­ter com­plet­ing my Mas­ter’s, I re­fined my vi­sion of de­vel­op­ing a 100% sus­tain­able South African swimwear and re­sort brand and launched my first of­fi­cial swimwear line in 2015 at Mercedes-Benz Fash­ion Week in Jo­han­nes­burg. What is your brand’s core phi­los­o­phy? JH: The jour­ney was an or­ganic one – from see­ing a niche in the market to re­al­is­ing that the pieces I made my­self were pre­ferred over im­ported ones. I’m an ocean child through and through, and feel that life re­ally is bet­ter in a bikini – so there’s a lot of syn­ergy be­tween what I do and who I am. How would you de­scribe your brand and de­sign ? JH: My brand’s largely de­fined by my use of lo­cal artists and il­lus­tra­tors to cre­ate unique art-driven, South African-in­spired prints. I de­sign pieces for strong, con­fi­dent women who like to ex­press them­selves. I draw my in­spi­ra­tion from my trav­els – I’ve vis­ited 56 coun­tries so far – and the brand’s de­fined by my iden­tity. What chal­lenges do you face as a young de­signer? JH: I stick to my vi­sion and what I be­lieve in, even when I’m filled with self-doubt. I only cre­ate gar­ments I would wear my­self and this has trans­lated well to my fol­low­ing. I de­sign for women who en­joy feel­ing beau­ti­ful and want an ex­cel­lent fit. There’ve been many dif­fi­cul­ties and I have to fig­ure it out my­self – some de­ci­sions have been great, oth­ers not so great. Where does your cre­ative process start? JH: In my head! From ob­scure in­spi­ra­tions, I build a con­cept over a few months. I then work with il­lus­tra­tors and graphic de­sign­ers to find a good fit for our prints – this de­fines how our col­lec­tion looks. I make sam­ples in all our new colours and prints and nar­row it down to the new sea­son’s styles. What’s next for BeachCult? JH: We’ve started ex­pand­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally; the brand is cur­rently sold at high-end bou­tiques and beach clubs in Mykonos, Paris, Bo­drum, Buenos Aires, Tu­lum, Mozam­bique and Mada­gas­car. We’ll also be re­leas­ing small cap­sule col­lec­tions through­out the year.

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