Written in collaboration with Not My Style
To celebrate those working towards making the fashion industry a better place, BICBIM and Not My Style have joined forces to interview some of our favourite independent sustainable fashion brands….
First up, we spoke to Rosie Cook, founder of London-based ethical swimwear brand Deakin and Blue. Deakin and Blue create transformational swimwear that helps women to feel great on the beach, in the pool or when doing water sports. Their swimwear is sleek, sculpting and sustainably made from regenerated consumer waste, such as fishing nets, and produced ethically in London.
1. What motivated you to start Deakin and Blue?
I started Deakin and Blue after struggling to find swimwear that I felt amazing in. About two years ago I was shopping for a swimsuit I could wear for my weekly swim and take on my honeymoon – I wanted something flattering and feminine but that was also supportive and functional – but struggled to find anything that did what I needed it to.
After researching the problem further I realised that swimwear and body image concerns stop women every day from swimming, enjoying water-based activities and feeling confident on the beach, which was all the motivation I needed to set out in solving the problem myself!
2. How would you describe Deakin and Blue in three words?
Transformational, Sculpting & Sustainable.
3. What’s your mantra of the moment?
If not now, when? If not me, who?
4. What describes your style best – minimalist or maximalist?
Minimalist all the way. My wardrobe is made up of about 15 black, white and grey t-shirts and four pairs of jeans. I love wearing bright colours and pretty dresses for special occasions but I’m a staple, capsule wardrobe kind of girl – it just makes laundry easier!
5. What does success mean to you?
Feeling fulfilled – intellectually and emotionally.
6. What’s the best thing about your job?
Some of my favourite moments in my job have involved watching women smile at themselves in the mirror as they fall in love with their bodies again.
7. What’s your biggest challenge as a sustainable fashion brand?
Keeping our pricing accessible. Using high quality, regenerated fabrics, paying suppliers and partners fairly, and manufacturing responsibly and transparently is more costly than a fast fashion approach, and I sometimes feel the challenge of having to explain our price point compared to the fast fashion items you can purchase on the high street. However, in my opinion, it’s the only way to operate and I wouldn’t change it at all.
8. What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who by?
I once heard Sarah Wood, CEO & Founder of Unruly Media, speaking at an event. She said that as an entrepreneur it can be helpful to “fire yourself” every night before you go to bed and “reappoint yourself as CEO” every morning as a way to help you constantly refresh your perspective, keeping a long term lens on your day-to-day activities and to ensure that what you’re doing is aligned with your overall priorities. It can also be energising and motivating – just as you might feel when you start a new job or project. On occasions where I feel myself entering a slump or struggling to build momentum, I remember this and it makes a huge difference.
9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Love Island was amazingly addictive but alas I don’t think I’ll be taking much inspiration from their itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis for D&B SS19…
10. Vegan, veggie, flexi, or meaty?
Meaty all the way. I love my vegetables but nothing beats a great steak or a Sunday morning bacon sarnie.
11. What’s on your current culture radar?
Given this incredible weather I’m currently trying to visit and swim in as many UK lidos as I can which is proving a lot of fun! I constantly have a book on the go (I’m currently on book three of Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Novels) and I love reading the London Review of Books.
12. What’s on your to-do list for tomorrow?
I’m finalising our designs for SS19 at the moment so I’ll be looking back over those and checking I’m happy with them.
Not My Style is an app that tells you how much your favourite fashion brands share about how they treat the women and men who make our clothes. Not My Style is now available for download on your iPhone.
Do you have a favourite independent sustainable fashion brand you’d like us to feature? Get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org