Released in 2016, New Zealand brand Simma Studios was founded by Fine Arts graduate Victoria Carran, to focus on providing minimalist swimwear that's empowered by the female form. All of the material is crafted from high quality Italian fabric that contains 78% recycled materials, UPF 50+ sun protection, and is made with love on the coast of Australia.
What's Good sat down for a glass of wine with Victoria to chat about feminism, swimwear, and sustainability.
How did the motivation for the brand come about?
Victoria: Needing to make, but not wanting to make art - for now.
Describe the aesthetic of your brand with 3 words?
Victoria: Clean, conscious and fresh.
For this current collection, why did you choose the cuts that you did? What inspires your designs?
Victoria: My designs are inspired by the women around me, what they like and want and the wish to provide swimwear that empowers them.
What sets Simma apart from normal as well as high end swimwear brands?
Victoria: The quality of production and fabric sets us apart from normal brands. Our refined designs and local mentality sets us apart from our high end competition.
How are you approaching ethical manufacturing?
Victoria:When I started it wasn't even a question, why would you want to put anything negative into the world? This is my creation so I am very conscious about every aspect that goes into it.
How do you think having a Fine Arts background, in particular Elam, has helped shape you as a designer?
Victoria: It has given me a critical eye, which has helped me especially in the production and sampling process.
How are you approaching the current integration of feminism that seems to be on the rise with lingerie and swimwear brands such as Lonely? Where does Simma fit into this?
Victoria: It's inherent in the choices I am making now and in the future. We work with women and start ups where we can - its about community and supporting each other. Choosing to employ friends and creatives that have not been around long, rather than corporate machines. Our designers - the first people I worked with (one-sixteenth creative) are two amazing Wellington based ladies who run a graphic design, typography, photography and Maori design agency. They are awesome. Most of the people we have worked with are stories like that.
Simma Stories is another way that we are supporting our inspirational local ladies. It is a platform to celebrate their success, whichever form it is in.
What do you think are important steps to take in the swimwear industry, and in particular marketing, to help it become more body positive?
Victoria: I think it's all about diverse casting - something that as a start up is very hard to do - if you want to show a range of girls, it's too expensive to do it through an agency (and they generally don't have much of a range). Street casting is a good answer, as well as projects like Simma Stories. We need to show girls that being a bronzed blonde bombshell is not the only way to look good in a bikini. The unfortunate thing is that 'ideal' is what sells, which is why it is so hard to get away from. As a brand it's important to figure out what is the priority for you.
Describe your ideal summer day from AM to PM?
Victoria: Exploring the beaches of New Zealand. Finishing work and going for an evening swim. Just any day in summer really.