22 August 2017

#PlusSizeSwimwear An Interview With Designer Phylyda #TravelTuesday

Have you begun thinking about your possible Winter Sun holiday? if not, you really ought to!

Now is the time!

As I begin to discuss the opportunities of spending either pre or post Christmas season in either the Caribbean, Cuba, Cape Verde (I'm sensing a pattern here, are you?), I wanted to share with you an amazing new Swimwear Designer I found right here in the EU, who has made a specific point of designing swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes which is inclusive to us curvy & plus size women too!

See, it's not so hard or too much to ask to design and include curvier women into your consideration brands! You know who you are!

Enter Phylyda, a luxury swimwear brand designed by Berlin based designer Lydia Maurer, who has kindly agreed to publicise one of her first Blogger Interviews with ChloePierre.com 

Firstly, what does the term Plus-Size & Plus-Size Fashion mean to you?

As a designer, I’m not sure I like distinguishing fashion with the terms ‘straight size’ and ‘plus size’. I find that it’s not very modern because all women deserve the best in terms of design and fit and in my opinion, most women don’t wear the same size for bottoms and tops. Let’s say we have a customer who has a small bust like a 34B and more generous hips like a size 16, you wouldn’t be able to find one bikini that fits at either the plus or the ‘straight size’ shops! It’s so outdated and it makes women feel alienated!
I just think it’s important to imagine pieces from which each woman can pick and choose that which will be the most flattering for her, and to develop these pieces in the right sizes.

As a designer catering for the plus size woman, amongst other shapely figures, what are your opinions on the controversial debate ‘Drop The Plus’?

I think that labelling and separating fashions into plus and straight only makes sense from a merchandising/logistics point of view for the retailers. However, times are changing and women are emancipating themselves from the dictate of fashion and its antiquated beauty canons.
I think that these polarising labels not only completely exclude women who are in between these size groups but I also think that this separation generally feeds into a certain feeling of a two-tier society between body types, which ultimately does not resonate with our times.

How did you get into designing Phylyda?

I started feeling drawn to expressing a stronger female approach to fashion after working in luxury women’s fashion in Paris for ten years. I love the exceptional artisanal work that goes into that segment in fashion and I felt that it was a pity that this isn’t available to most women simply because, from a proportion point of view, most of these pieces don’t seem to be designed for grown-up female bodies so their sizing is terribly limited.

I was craving for a more female-friendly point of view in fashion, I wanted to create a world in which women can find beautifully made, timeless and intriguing pieces in their size. A world that honours the right to be the way you are and to be content with what is granted to you.

How does designing Plus Size swimwear differentiate to designing straight sized swimwear?

I think that the larger sizes, beyond a UK 20, require more flexibility as body shape can vary much more than in the sizes below. This means that the finishings need to be extra extensive to allow for more freedom while easing into a garment and of course, more options of different tops and bottoms to provide the one that works best for your silhouette.

Shop the look here

What was the inspiration behind the label and first collection?

For the first collection, I wanted to build the core swim wardrobe for Phylyda. It felt important to make a departure from designing with a story in mind. I was inspired by different women, strong women who are passionate, women who know themselves and enjoy life and their own selves.
Of course ladies in my close circle come to mind but also various women such as Serena Williams, Amal Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Philomena Kwao, Adele, Mindy Kaling, Amanda De Cadenet, Gwyneth Paltrow…

Where does the name Phylyda come from?

Phylyda is an ancient greek name which means foliage. I felt that that meaning was quite symbolic, but I was drawn to it even more because this word is created from the root-phile which means love and affection and I felt that luxury fashion is in need of some of exactly that.

Who is the Phylyda woman? What is her style, travel preferences and lifestyle ideals vs reality?

The Phylyda woman is a contemporary ‘bon-vivant’, she enjoys life and is confident and warm. A woman’s woman, she values family and adventures. She is beautiful because she knows herself first and foremost, she values expression, whether that is in the arts or communication. She is cultivated and open and loves traveling.

What makes Phylyda different from any other plus size swimwear brands?

Phylyda allows women to find their size combination to fit their individual silhouette. Women who need  a small top size and a larger bottom size or vice versa often have a very hard time finding swimwear that fits perfectly. Swimwear brands do not typically offer swimwear in bra sizes, often grouping them into XS/S/ML/DD….
Besides, there is also no high-end brand that makes swimwear above a size UK 16 and to us, all women deserve the choice of purchasing the best quality possible.

Market wise, is Phylyda high street, premium or luxury? Will this change?

Phylyda is a made in Europe high-end brand. I think it’s important to offer the best quality possible and to make sure it is made within a socially responsible facility.

Which future trends can we expect from Phylyda and will the brand be trend-led or not?

Phylyda is not trend-led. It is a collection of timeless pieces which are first and foremost designed to flatter women of different silhouettes, not to follow often unrealistic trends. You can expect for Phylyda to adapt to what our clients want because that is my single-minded aim.

What are the fashion/ holiday/ travel staples every woman should have in her wardrobe or suitcase?

I think that a suitcase should contain a good selection of fresh knits for the evening and for traveling, (plane rides can be so cold!) a boyfriend shirt with beautiful detailing for the beach, versatile, non-crease pieces like sarongs and kimonos which can be worn in the city and on the beach, one evening dress, a hat, some sunglasses…a pair of classic flat sandals, espadrilles, moccasins and one pair of heeled sandals. And of course, sun protecting lotions and oils to keep your hair protected and hydrated.

What are your most proud moments so far as as a plus/designer to date?

Doing Phylyda, I’m so proud to be able to offer pieces that are respectful of a larger pool of women than I used to. Any time a customer, no matter her size, gives me positive feedback upon wearing Phylyda, I am overjoyed with pride! I was so happy to hear encouraging words from Body Image Spokeswomen, Charli Howard and Clementine Desseaux!

What do you predict for the future of Plus Size Fashion?

I hope we can look at a more open fashion world in general. At least that’s what I’m working toward with Phylyda.

Do you have a Plus Size pet hate?

I think I don’t like the terminology in general. Fashion should be more open.

Talking to a student designer who wants to create their own collection/ plus size collection, what would be your advice? What resources are their outside of education?

It would be to follow their hearts and to make sure to always keep their real customer’s feelings in mind. To be considerate in their way of expressing their creativity. Next, it is important to collect as much experience as possible and to always stay humble.

What does success look like to you?

To me, success is measured by making women happy and being able to turn that around to create an even better product as a result.

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