After the launch of her swimwear brand, UNE Piece, in 2016, Carly Brown has been a trailblazer for the swimwear industry by creating the first ‘sexy’ rashie. Every since then, she has grown her brand and continued to make gorgeous swimwear which is both fashionable and sexy while also keeping women protected from the sun. This year in particular has been huge for Carly as she released her newest brand La Beach Beauty which is now stocked in David Jones. I met Carly a few months ago and have been lucky enough to work with her a few times since then, she really is a woman on a mission! I had the opportunity to chat to Carly about designing swimwear, collaboration within the fashion industry and branching out into beauty products.
Tell us a bit about UNE Piece and how it started…
I grew up near the beach with a surfer Dad and a sun-conscious Mother – so I guess the inspiration was probably forming from a really young age! I saw a trend for one piece swimwear when I was living in London for seven years. In Europe, women have a ‘repertoire’ of swimwear they take on holidays – which almost always includes at least one staple one piece swimsuit. I was fascinated how a one piece made women feel versus a bikini. Women told me a one piece made them feel confident and empowered.
I was having dinner one night with a girlfriend, discussing my new one piece swimwear brand, and she asked me – ‘Can you make me a sexie rashie?’ And I said, ‘what do you mean?’ She told me there was nothing in the market! The next day I scoured the shops and brands online and had an ‘aha’ moment when this research showed a huge gap in the market for stylish (and sexy) ‘Sun-Conscious swimwear’. I saw an opportunity to create something that was both beautiful and fashionable but protected women from the sun – this is where our launch product the Original Sexie Rashie was born. Our range consists of stunning one piece swimsuits as well as a range of beautiful ‘Sun-Conscious Swimwear’ as well.
“I saw an opportunity to create something that was both beautiful and fashionable but protected women from the sun – this is where our launch product the Original Sexie Rashie was born.”
You like to collaborate with a lot of female artists and illustrators when it comes to prints and postcards for UNE Piece. Why do you think collaboration is important in the fashion industry?
Art is at the heart of everything we do. I personally love art (and the artists that create it) and the impact visual aesthetic can have on people emotionally. There is magic in art and so much emotion. We work with a range of artists and I love that we can weave that magic and emotion into our products and brand. We’ve got lots of exciting things coming in this space from us in 2020. Watch this space!
What do you love about making and designing swimwear?
Creativity to do something different every single day. Leading my beautiful team who all
believe in our common purpose. They are an incredible group of individuals who are both talented but also have great energy to be around all day long. The saying ‘hang with the radiators and not the drains’ was made for my team! I also love watching our brand touch the lives of women all around the world, hearing their stories and seeing them post beautiful photos of themselves in their UNE PIECE swimwear feeling confident and empowered. Hundreds of women around the world share pictures of themselves in their UNE PIECE everyday using the hashtag #unepiecewomen. The campaign is centred around celebrating women who support our brand ethos of empowering women, and some of our #unepiecewomen have the highest engagement across our social platforms whenever we share them.
Do you have any tips for ladies wanting to get into designing or the fashion industry?
Trust your gut and have integrity in all that you do. When stuff goes wrong (which it will), don’t react immediately. UNE PIECE has taught me it’s challenges are happening for a very good reason – either to make me make a tough decision, change course or learn an important lesson. I’ve learnt once you shift into solution mode it ultimately takes you to a stronger place.
A few months ago, you launched La Beach Tan! Tell us about the product and what made you want to branch out into tanning products…
La Beach came about from listening to our UNE PIECE community and their experiences (good and bad) with self tanning. It became clear there was a need for a brand to make something that really hits the mark for women on natural colour, natural (and easy to achieve) coverage and brilliant wear (and wear off). The global obsession with looking tanned isn’t going anywhere soon so we are really excited about lifting the bar in terms of the type of product women can use to get a tan now.
La Beach is a 100% vegan, cruelty-free self-tan made with natural and organic ingredients to give you a luxe and natural bronze glow, and a flawless coverage from ‘tips to toes’. Our launch range is super tight – with a focus on creating a new self tan option that eliminates the mess and fuss of self-tanning. We have released an Express Tanning Foam and Tanning Water Mist. Both products work beautifully on their own, however the true magic comes when they are used together as a cult launch product – the Power Couple tan. We also partnered with an incredible artist Beth Moffat to create a bespoke piece of art for our brand. Beth’s piece is also included as a beautiful art print with each La Beach order purchased online.
La Beach is now stocked in David Jones which is so exciting! Tell us a bit about that process and what it was like seeing your product in store.
We were thrilled to see La Beach roll out to David Jones just two months after launching! It has been an incredible process to go through, and we have taken all of the learnings – both the challenges and the high points – that the last 3 years with UNE PIECE have taught us. There are certainly lots of beautiful synergies for our two brands UNE PIECE
and La Beach. We took the team in to our local David Jones store as part of our Christmas celebration, and it was quite surreal to see our La Beach stock on the shelf amongst some of the biggest beauty brands in the world.
What is coming up for UNE Piece and La Beach in 2020 that you are most looking forward to?
There are so many exciting things to come! We will continue to innovate with beautiful new prints and silhouettes for UNE PIECE. The response to UNE PIECE Petite and our latest Mama & Me pieces has been incredible – so watch this space! After the success of the Original Hybrid Leggings and our new Original Hybrid Bike Pants, there will be more to come from UNE PIECE Active. And of course our new beauty brand La Beach! Everything ladders back to our overarching vision of helping women feel empowered and confident and delivering ‘Stylish Sun-Consciousness’.
Big thank you to Carly for taking time out her busy schedule to chat to us and give us a behind the scenes look on UNE Piece and La Beach. Follow Carly, UNE Piece and La Beach to see more stunning swimwear and beauty launches.
We also have an exciting Summer giveaway with UNE Piece and La Beach launching on our instagram TODAY so head over there now for you chance to win some amazing goodies!