THE BEACHWEAR OF THE “SOUTH-WEST”
SOWE is a beachwear brand that was founded in 2014 under the guidance of Perrine Lacombe. The idea was to offer women the chance to create their very own swimsuit set, with a mix and match concept pushed to the max. From swimsuits to leggings and “surf suits,”customers can mix their tops and bottoms as they wish. Meeting with Perrine Lacombe:
Why did you choose to create this brand ?
From a young age, I mixed and matched my swimsuits, it always made me feel like I had more. But as I got older, I could never find what I wanted in the shops. So, I created this brand from my own frustration at never being able to find the perfect swimsuit on the market. I come from a textiles background and I have worked for sports brands such as Reebok, Nike and most recently Ripcurl which was the brand I left Paris for, to the live on the Basque coast. At Ripcurl, I worked in the swimsuit sector so the market wasn’t completely new to me.
Every woman has such a unique body shape, and at SOWE she can mix and match all types of tops and bottoms. We offer 5 styles of tops and 5 styles of bottoms, with a whole range full of colours and prints and all the prints can be mixed with the plain colours as well.
Describe your brand in 3 words.
Fun: because we are constantly mixing pieces and sometimes clients create combinations that even we hadn’t thought of. We have fun and so do our clients.
Active: as we are based in the Basque country we take advantage of the sea and the Ocean, the SOWE woman is constantly on the go. This has also led to us developing a surf and active range with leggings made of the same material as our swimwear. They can be worn for both paddle boarding and yoga.
Daring: with mix and match.
What are your sources of inspiration ?
I am inspired by everything around me. I have clearly used stripes a lot, which makes you think of the contours of the ocean. I am also inspired by my travels. For example, I went to Costa Rica last year and I saw some incredible butterflies. I then designed a butterfly wing print.
What is your signature piece ?
This changes a bit every year but, right now, it’s the ‘surf suit.’ It was initially designed for surfers but we realised that women who want to protect themselves from the sun wear it to go boating or even to go swimming in the pool. Others wear it as a bodysuit!
What advice would you give to people who want to launch into the world of design with their brand and want to take part in Who’s Next to gain visibility ?
That’s a bit difficult because this is our first time at Who’s Next. Before, we attended the Mode City trade-show in July. But over time, Who’s Next started to include swimwear brands. In July buyers don’t have time to attend trade-shows, and so I think that in the future all the swimwear brands will choose to come to Who’s Next in September.
How to not go unnoticed today ?
You have to be different to everyone else, to stop looking at your competitors and to try to create something that isn’t on the market, even if it’s not that easy. I think this is the best way to stand out.
What are your upcoming projects ?
Now, we want to expand into the international market as everything is going well on the French market. We also want to work on our ‘active’ range a bit more. And since we are so close to the ocean and our products are linked to it, protecting the ocean and the environment is going to be at the heart of our business again. Three years ago, I released activewear made from recycled materials and no-one was interested in it. Today, I don’t think we should get sidelined. This season we haven’t used recycled materials, however we are committed to changing our polybags which were made from plastic to using only biodegradable materials. We also want to pay attention to details, with our label tags and other things. We are currently doing a lot of research on new materials.