I first “meet” Valerie Chan, Co-Founder of La Pêche Swim, over Twitter. After a chat about luxury swimwear I took a closer look at her brand and fell in love, not just with the elegant aesthetics of the designs but also their eco sustainable efforts. Their swimwear is designed to be as eco as possible so as not to add to the global issue of waste that is created by the fashion industry, something we should all get on board with! Their small but perfectly formed collection offers a style for most body types and that is something I also appreciate as a pear shaped girl who finds it tough to find swimwear that flatters. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to interview Valerie and her Co-Founder Jolynn Chew about La Pêche Swim and what the future holds for this new swimwear brand.
What lead you to set up La Pêche Swim?
We love our swimwear and the idea came to us whilst on holiday in Ibiza. We were both holding down corporate jobs and we wanted to do something different, something creative and fun, that was uplifting and represented our personal style and values. We wanted to create a product that made women feel good about themselves, and we knew we had the drive and vision to make it happen. Our conversations led from one thing to another and soon La Peche was born!
What sets La Pêche Swim apart from other swimwear brands?
Wearing La Peche is about the experience from start to end, from unwrapping the beautiful packaging, to feeling the softness of the fabric on your skin to and looking amazing in it, while knowing that you are being kind to the environment. La Peche is a labour of love, we spend as much time as we need to to perfect the designs and the details of our products. Our fabric print designs are intricate and hand illustrated by talented artists, which is then printed off in a printing mill in the UK on the best fabrics from Italy. Our swimwear designs are unique and feature elegant silhouettes; they are meant to be wearable pieces of art, complete with beautiful details for an added touch of sophistication.
Have you found the present economic situation has changed how people shop and if so how?
Yes definitely. People are having to shop online much more than before, and they are much more willing to purchase online and via social media as long as there is a refunds/exchange policy in place. They have also realised that they have much wider choices, access to smaller labels (like ourselves), ease of comparison and more time to research their purchase before buying, compared to going to the high street or a department store (which isn’t happening right now anyway). But having all the information available at their fingertips also makes them much more selective about what brands they would be happy to support, they are much more interested in the story of the brand now than ever; the “how” and the “why” are just as important as the “what”. The brand has to encompass the lifestyle that they aspire to.
What has La Pêche Swim done to pivot its business to work with these new shopping trends?
We are currently leveraging our presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and working with the online community which include Google shop, e-commerce boutiques, e-luxury magazines, fashion bloggers and so on, to boost our brand awareness. We have orders coming in from all over the world which is pretty cool and that is something that we will not be able to achieve through a physical store.
How do you source your materials? Why is recycled and ethically sourced materials so important to La Pêche Swim?
We source our materials directly from established suppliers who are ethically, socially and environmentally responsible. We visit our factories to ensure that they embody the same values as us. Sustainability is part of our brand’s ethos – we are seeking change, a better way of being, a more thoughtful way of living. At La Peche, we believe in preserving the planet for future generations. I think there is a generational shift currently taking place towards sustainable businesses due to higher social awareness and environmental consciousness. We want to be part of the movement that helps to lead the change towards a better world for all.
How do you get inspiration for your designs?
Our designs are inspired by travels, tales and global adventures. We wanted to create something that is cheeky, fun yet elegant enough to wear from beach to bar. Part of the fun is coming up with something original that is uniquely us. We look at lots of designs and decide what bits we like, what can be improved functionally and aesthetically, what looks great on most normal body types (not just those with super blessed figures) and then try to merge all of those ideas together. Our Tropical Fruit Garden collection is inspired by the rich flora and fauna found in the part of the world we grew up in. It showcases indigenous fruits, prized flowers and beloved insects. A reminder to return to nature when we need to relax.
What is your most popular or iconic pieces and why?
Our most popular and iconic pieces are our Tropical Fruit Garden one pieces because the print is so unique and most of our customers who saw our pieces in real life fell in love with the designs immediately. There are a lot of people who want more coverage than a bikini, and both the St Lucia and Capri one pieces are very flattering for most body shapes and there is enough space to see the entirety of the print, which helps!
Can you tell us more about your charities? How did this come about?
We have two charities Project Zero and Daughters of Tomorrow. Project zero seeks to turn the tide on the climate crisis by investing in and preserving the Ocean. Our oceans cover 71% of the Earth and are paramount to our long term survival. As a swimwear brand espousing the values of sustainability and of enjoying nature, we think it is very fitting to be supporting such a universally urgent cause such as protecting the ocean. Daughters of Tomorrow supports underprivileged women in Singapore. As Singaporean women brought up by other Singaporean women, we wanted to find a way to give back to the underprivileged section of our local community.
Do you think becoming more ethical and sustainable is important in the fashion industry in general with so much fast fashion? What can we all do to be a more conscious shopper?
Becoming ethical and sustainable should be at the forefront of every fashion company’s mind. There is so much waste generated by the fashion industry every year and there is so much more we can do to reduce our environmental impact and carbon footprint. Even the little things can make a difference. For example, one of the things that we do at La Peche is laying out the patterns on a computer screen before cutting to minimise fabric wastage. Many companies don’t do this because it costs more time and money to use this technique than the fabric that is wasted. We can become a more conscious shopper by asking more questions about the brand’s philosophy and values, where they are manufacturing, if the brands they are collaborating with share the same values, ditching disposables, buying quality products that have a longer life cycle and sometimes be willing to pay more for conscious brands. Unfortunately I feel that the fashion industry is still a long away from full transparency but the more questions consumers start asking, the faster reform is on the way!
What is in the future for La Pêche Swim and do you have any exciting new launches in the pipeline?
We have only just launched our first collection but we are working hard on our second collection, which will be inspired by the Batik motifs found in Asia. I can’t say much more as we want it to be a surprise!
For more information on La Pêche Swim and to shop their collections see online.