Growing up on the Sunshine Coast with a surfer father and a sun-safe mother, Carly Brown has always loved the beach. Her coastal upbringing, combined with the experiences that came with many years exploring European beaches, inspired her to launch Une Piece; redefining swimwear, making women feel confident and empowered.
The aptly named label, which is French for ‘one piece’, was initially released in a range of bold, block colours (with a waitlist of a casual 500 before its release) and has gone on to be brought out in a range of fun prints and new designs.
We caught up with Carly to discuss the story behind the label, her tips for making swimwear shopping more bearable, and how she’ll be spending her summer.
What prompted you to develop Une Piece?
I lived in London in my 20s and I would spend all my spare holidays escaping the rainy weather to the beaches of Europe. In Europe, women don’t just wear bikinis - they have a ‘repertoire’ of swimwear they take on holidays - which always included a one-piece swimsuit.
The idea for creating Une Piece came when I asked Australian women about what they wanted in a one-piece swimsuit. Overwhelmingly, they said they wanted something that made them feel confident, and in turn, beautiful.
One theme that kept coming up was the issue of the Australian sun and how so many women (smart women) wore rash vests to set a good example for their children and to protect their skin. Women told me they were frustrated there was nothing that made them feel beautiful as well as protected from the sun. They told me what they would love was a ‘sexy rashie’. So I took that as a challenge to see if I could create something truly beautiful in a one piece - and voila - the Original Sexie Rashie was born.
Why do you think sun safety is so important here in Australia?
The climate we live in is beautiful but it is so incredibly harsh physically on our skin.
Our icon launch product, the Original Sexie Rashie, has been carefully crafted and tested with many women. Firstly women with children that were frustrated that there was nothing that was sun smart but still made them feel and look great. The more mum’s I spoke to, the more I realised the gap in the market. I then sought feedback from millennials and was blown away by the positive response - they are so much more sun-aware and careful with their skin than I was at that age! Une Piece has a broad appeal - from young women with fair skin to active women and older women.
There is SO much potential here to create things that are sun safe and that women will actually want to wear. I am excited about creating beautiful and iconic pieces that help women protect themselves from the sun.
You’re based between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, what beaches/hangouts will we find you at this Summer?
This Summer I’ll definitely be heading to some of my favourite spots on the Sunshine Coast. I also love Byron and Kingscliff for weekend escapes!
What does summer in Queensland mean to you?
Mangoes, beach time and Chrissy holidays! Also being in the sunshine, by the water, eating seafood with a glass of good white wine and sharing the company of family and friends.
How is Une Piece redefining swimwear?
We are doing this in two key ways.
Firstly - the product makes women feel confident and empowered. They feel beautiful when they wear it. The Original Sexie Rashie was created with 28 pieces to be fully contoured and the best Italian SPF 50+fabric on the market. I also researched and researched and researched until I got the perfect fit. I didn’t compromise.
Secondly - the brand resonates with women. We are a brand that celebrates women and their passions. We have a beautiful, clean and chic aesthetic, but we are inclusive and we are actively supporting the diversity of beauty at every touchpoint. We sell size 6-16 and for a startup brand, this is a wide size range. I was encouraged not to do such a broad size spectrum but I was determined to make our products accessible to as many women as I could. It’s not fair just because you aren’t a size 8 or 10, you can’t get access to beautiful products. We just launched our #unepiecewomen campaign on Instagram which celebrates women from all around the world. We saw an amazing reaction to this and some of our #unepiecewomen have the highest engagement across our social platforms whenever we share them.
What are your tips for making shopping for swimwear more bearable?
Go for what makes you feel good. Find swimwear that is carefully and thoughtfully constructed and that you feel beautiful in. I also think lining, beautiful fabric and UPF50+ technology is a must. At www.unepiece.com we are focused on creating swimwear that makes women feel comfortable and empowered (and from there you feel beautiful!). Our products are all UPF50+, fully lined and made with the most incredible Italian fabric.
Also, find prints that are fun and that you can coordinate with other things in your wardrobe. Our latest range the Cap d’Ail Collection is designed with ‘beach-to-bar’ in mind.
What is your favourite beach in the world?
Cala Mondrago on Mallorca, Cap d’Ail in France and any beach on the Sunshine Coast.
Besides swimwear, what are your ‘must-haves’ for a day at the beach?
My essentials are a fab beach bag, a Beach People Roundie Towel (I’m obsessed with these), a cute hat, a beach umbrella, my Sunday Somewhere sunnies, spray on sunscreen (again obsessed and so convenient) and a good book (I’m reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown right now).
Une Piece is available online only at www.unepiece.com
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