BEHIND THE LABEL: STYELLE SWIM
Hi Charys, could you please introduce yourself? Who are you?
My name is Charys, I am the proud owner of Australia’s first biodegradable swim brand, Styelle, and the mother of 6 beautiful children, and last but certainly not least, the wife of my amazing husband and CFO, Shane.
In my spare time, I love to be with my family at the beach and go snorkelling.
Charys, founder and owner of Styelle.
Charys diving at the Great Barrier Reef.
Where are you based?
We are based in Sydney, NSW.
When did you start your brand/ label, and why?
We started Styelle back in 2016, as we felt the need to give women something that is just simply better than your average bikini. Not only better in fit, but also better for the environment and for the betterment of society, providing real change to the lives that need it most, children. Our core existence was built up around providing children in Sao Paulo access to schooling needs, like pens, pencils and books. As a neglected child, seeing the poverty gap closed is something I am very passionate about.
What has been your biggest hurdle so far in your business journey, and why?
The biggest hurdle by far is being seen as sustainable in a flood of greenwashing brands that is already an oversaturated market. So many people really struggle to believe the difference that is made by individual brands with so much garbage in the media and in marketing.
Tell us more about your products.
There’s so much to tell! The most important thing, they just fit. Their quality is premium, the sourcing is ethical plus the fabrics and processes are sustainable. They feel as soft as silk and a comfort that is unlike any other.
What inspires you?
What inspires me most is seeing a woman feel beautiful, confident and proud to be wearing my creations. What drives me, is closing the education gap in Brazil through our ethical sourcing and community growth initiatives.
Styelle Swim’s new range.
What has been your brand’s proudest moment so far?
Oh, wow! That would probably be our achievement of circularity. We partnered with Upparel and are one of the first swimwear companies to be completely circular, and the first to take back all swimwear, not just our own.
(Note editor: Upparel is the leader in textile upcycling.)
What sets your brand apart?
Definitely the cut. The way our Brazilian artisans carefully craft each bikini with the love and care of small makers is possibly second to none. We offer all the things that people want: ethical practices, sustainability in our garments and processes, while keeping our swimwear under $200 for a whole set so it’s competitive in the market of fast fashion companies.
Tell us more about your current collection.
The new SS collection is our biggest ever. Boasting 42 new styles we will be releasing over the next 6 months for AU summer and EU Spring. With customised prints, the introduction of size 14G with the Indy Bikini, and the top selling Ava Bikini redone in new season colour. Ways that will get you dreaming of your next beach stay!
Styelle Swim’s photoshoot for SS21.
What’s next for your label? What are you excited about?
We are about to launch globally onto Zalando, the ASOS of sustainable fashion. We will be launching into Germany, France, and the Netherlands simultaneously.
How do you source your products? Or how do you source your fabrics?
We source our products ethically and sustainably. Our fabricators use recycled water in the dying and washing process and the offcuts are collected to send to schools in Sao Paulo to use for art and craft.
How do you ensure your production is:
We viewed the warehouse unannounced and interviewed staff on a whim to ensure that it was ethical. The business is family owned and run and is a very small production house.
We only produce what we think will sell, ensuring small runs and never overproducing.
We use biodegradable Amni Soul Eco polyamide as our only fabric. It is certified toxin free. We have also partnered with Upparel and are now taking back any/all swimwear, no matter the brand and providing a $25 Styelle voucher. We then recycle the old swimwear to be fabricated and made into new garments, closing the loop and achieving circularity.
All our shipping in and out of HQ is done carbon neutral and we have recently achieved carbon positive through Greenfleet with our day to day running. Our packaging is certified compostable and/or recyclable, even the stickers.
Styelle Swim - New Range.
Do you give some of your profit to charity? Which one(s)? Why and why this one?
We absolutely do. We plant a tree with every order for $1 US Through One Tree Planted. The customer also has the option to add more with their order if they would like to.
What are your predictions for the future of ethical and sustainable fashion?
It is a very complicated process for large enterprises to switch over and ensure minimal disruption to their client base, but unfortunately for them, if they don’t, they face being left behind as ethical and sustainable fashion is the only way forward. If we plan to have a future on this planet that is.
What advice would you give to any Australian entrepreneur/ designer who wants to start their own label now?
Test, test, test, then test some more. Test your product, your branding, your marketing, your socials.. everything.
You can never have enough knowledge before you launch. And, what is worse than trying and failing, is never trying at all. Don’t compare yourself to anyone other than who you were yesterday, I know it sounds corny, but it's true. If you spend too much time worrying about what others are doing and not yourself, you will never get anything done. And there is a lot to do!
Would you like to add anything else?
Just a quick thank you for reading this far, I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed answering.
Charys, you were amazing! Thank and thank you for your time!