For the girls that don’t believe in seasonally-dictated swims, who instead, opt for the adventure (and challenge) of finding a place to swim, whatever the weather is doing, nu swim is most certainly made for you.
The name ‘Nu’, meaning nude in some languages, starts to suggest the idea that swimwear can be so comfortable, it’s like wearing a second skin. Useful as any sort of under garment; underneath loose tunics, for running or sleeping in – perfect for those of us who practically live in their swimmers year-round.
Inspired by nu swim‘s pool of imagery and colour palette, I contacted the girl behind the new brand for an interview. Since then, not only have Gina and I been creating email threads the length of the Wanganui River, I’ve also come to realise that nu swim is indeed a natural combination of Gina’s most favoured things. A simple equation for a brave new venture, sure, but it’s inspiring to be reminded that that is all it takes!
AG: How did the first collection of nu swim come about for you?
At the very beginning of last year I was having a little crisis about turning 30, it all sort of hit me at once that I hadn’t been really living my dream career yet. I had always wanted my own line, and have tried to start one many times, but things never felt quite right. Being a swimmer, I have always wanted to do swimwear, but I don’t think I realized I should exclusively start with it until I had a really long hard look inside myself. It was a real light bulb moment. Right away, I knew what I wanted. I began concepting and designing the line, talking with nearby factories, sampling, editing, and connecting all the dots, and then long story short, nu swim was born and launched into the cyber world in January 2015.
AG: How does your previous experience in the industry inform your new venture?
I’ve spent a lot of time working in the corporate design world, which definitely jaded my dreams from when I first started out, but I was able to turn that into a positive thing. The experience has taught me to maintain a focus which will then, hopefully, result in strong brand identity. I think it has also helped a lot in being able to reduce the back-and-forth during production. It has just made me a much more organized person and has taught me patience, which I am so grateful for. It’s not like I sit at my desk and draw all day long, as a designer you are working directly with all of your cross-functional partners on a daily basis (merchandising, production, finance, etc), you are a collaborative team that makes a business function and grow stronger, and now that I have many years of that understanding under my belt, I feel quite confident I can take that big experience to my own. I am so glad I waited this time to really learn, and am finally doing something that feels so right.
AG: I love the campaign images on your website. What was the reasoning for not complying to the usual white background online store imagery that you see everywhere?
Sometimes I just choose things that feel right to me and I’m not always sure why. The title of the first shoot is Shape and Placement, and the focus was really the swimsuit’s shape and the placement of the model and objects in relation to each other, without distracting the eye.
AG: The colour palette of your collection is beautiful! How did you edit this down?
It started with 18 colors! The factory manager laughed at me. I was really inspired by the imagery from the film Paris, Texas when the line first started forming. The color placement is really brilliant. I would pause almost every frame and look at the colors in regards to each other, I really wanted to create that feeling. Of course, starting out with 18 colors is crazy, so I had to edit it down by convincing myself that certain colors could depart. Luckily I wasn’t too devastated, and ended up with 7 colors, but there’s more to come!
AG: Let’s talk about the shapes and fits too, what was the editing process of this?
I really knew what I wanted when I starting concepting the line. The one piece and the straight top are really the first things that were designed in my head right away. They can be both sporty yet feminine because of how low it sits on the chest. I swim laps in both of them and use the straight top as a bra – it’s really good under a sheer t shirt. I rarely take it off. I also run in it! But it looks so feminine at the same time, a really versatile item. I wanted to create that versatility. Being a swimmer, I have been wearing swimsuits under my clothes for as long as I know, and I guess I haven’t changed a bit. It also has a minimalist approach – NU means nude in a few languages, and by nude, I really mean no fuss – no padding, no extra strings or hardware, just simple, easy, focused, understandable, fashion, but sporty at the same time.
AG: Who is your nu swim girl?
Definitely someone who likes a little adventure in her life. Someone who will be young forever, live a little brighter and take advantage of what she has. See the small moments, the light and shadows, take unknown roads. A girl who sees the world in a different way than most, but wants to share it with everyone. And she really opens her eyes.
AG: I love your BRAIN page. Tell us about this curation of imagery and why it was important for you to have these included.
This page is going to be an ongoing page of imagery that I am inspired by. For the customers, it may be an extra page for them to connect to the brand and its identity too.
AG: What else, outside of nu-swim, informs or inspires you?
It really changes on a daily basis – Architecture, music, objects, people, food, art, feelings, nature, my grandfather’s brain, my mother’s generosity and power… the list could go on forever. Like most humans, I am in a different mood and have different cravings everyday. Like this morning, for example, I was having a normal Monday morning, groggy and tired as shit, then ate a really, really lovely avocado and it just changed everything, my insides felt better, my skin felt better, it brightened me up – it really changed my day. What I’m saying is, they come unexpectedly most of the time. And if all else fails – Pinterest!
I will never forget when I was still living in New York and I saw the incredibly old woman being pushed in a wheelchair by her caretaker, and she was dressed up in a Chanel suit of some sort and it was the dead middle of winter, but it was sunny, and she sat in the middle of the road on one of those islands looking up at the sun with her eyes closed with this really warm expression on her face. I was standing there across the street staring at her feeling so insanely inspired. You know, it’s moments like those that really change your life, and you force yourself to never ever forget that feeling and really do what you want with it.
Those moments I have to keep with me forever.
AG: What does a nu-swim summer look like?
Appreciating the long days, in whatever way that means to you. Swim everyday. And don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen!!!
See the full nu swim collection [here]