We recently caught up with Kate Davis-Steer from SunSoaked Swim & Resort, who kindly gave us an exclusive interview.
What motivated you to start SunSoaked?
I went searching for a stylish rashie for a beach holiday back in 2012 because I was tired of getting burnt and the reactions I would get to sunscreen, as I have quite sensitive skin. On investigating I was aghast at the lack of attractive options. After a conversation with a friend it got me thinking what was this rashie I was searching for, what would it look like, what did I want to wear? So I put my design background to use and SunSoaked was born.
What are the secrets to finding swimwear that gives a flattering fit?
Finding the most flattering fit is different for each person. Overall you want to go for quality over quantity. Spending a little more on a swimsuit that is well cut and constructed from quality lycra is money well spent. Invest in a swimsuit that enhances your assets and balances out your proportions. For example, if you have a wider hip choose a style that has some fullness at the shoulders. For straighter figures look for a swimsuit that creates a waist and accentuates your curves. We all have those areas we want to hide and those we want to highlight. So, focus on your best features and make them shine!
What inspires your designs?
The SunSoaked aesthetic is one of effortless chic. So, when I am designing each collection I am inspired to create a range that complements our easy-going Australian way of life and relaxed beach culture. Where your swimwear can take you from beach to street with ease, removing the need to have multiple changes of clothes throughout your day. Instead, you have a summer wardrobe that transitions from the beach/pool to whatever you are doing next with family and friends. Feeling great and knowing you are protected leaves you free to relax and enjoy time outdoors enjoying our beautiful country and climate! I’m also inspired by the Italian Riviera and the glamour of old Hollywood, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. I like to inject a sense of glamour into my pieces but glamour that is relaxed and accessible so that everyday women can incorporate it into their lives.
Who is your favourite style icon?
Edith Head, head costume designer at Paramount, with a career spanning almost 6 decades. Edith Head created some of the most iconic style moments on film during the Golden Age of Hollywood, defining the look of stars such as Grace Kelly (To Catch a Thief), Audrey Hepburn (Funny Face) and Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity). Which also happen to be three of my all-time favourite movies. The wardrobes of the women in these movies were so iconic that the styling carried over to become part of their image and is what we still associate each of them with today.
Can you describe your latest summer collection in a few words?
Sun safe, chic, figure-enhancing.
How do you decide your models and ambassadors?
I am drawn to women that are kind, passionate and who live life to the full, that are inspirational but relatable. When approaching women to represent SunSoaked we choose ladies that everyday women can feel connected to and who they can look at and say that could be me. Like the amazing five women in our very first Everyday Women campaign this year. They range in age from early thirties to late 60’s from diverse backgrounds who work as stylists, travel bloggers, event planning and photography. Our ‘La Dolce Vita’ campaign also features a size 8/10 model and a size 12/14. I spend a lot of time perfecting and tweaking our cuts so that they look good on women of all shapes, sizes and ages so we wanted to show that with our campaigns and promote beauty diversity and body confidence. By showing more diversity in our campaigns we want to be part of the global movement towards self-love and body confidence, changing the way women see themselves, embracing their bodies and loving the skin they’re in!
What’s a typical day look like?
Hectic! Lol! Most mornings I’m awake early going through what needs to be achieved that day and getting emails and social media posts done before the school run. Then it’s back to work for the day which could consist of anything from designing a new range to checking samples and doing fittings to liaising with stockists and answering customer enquiries. There’s such a diverse range of roles that I take on with SunSoaked. I really love that I get to be both creatively expressive and business minded. There is always something new happening and you’re constantly learning. I’m always trying to better whatever I do so I enjoy the challenges, the problem solving and the hard work. It makes the successes that more sweet!
What’s been your proudest moment?
Personally, my proudest moment and biggest achievement was the birth of my beautiful daughter, who is now 14, a constant support and my biggest SunSoaked fan! I am one lucky mum to have this caring, loving soul as my daily cheerleader. My proudest moments professionally are always when women tell me how much they love Sun Soaked, from the woman who has melanoma and can now go out in the sun feeling gorgeous as well as protected to the mum who says she hasn’t felt good in swimwear for over 10 years. I have been extremely lucky and am eternally grateful to my fabulously generous and loyal customers who spend the time to write or tell me in person what SunSoaked has meant to them. It drives me forward and is a constant reminder of what I am working for.
What are your plans for the future?
SunSoaked’s future is looking bright! We’ve just gone into Sunburn (ironic I know) stores nationally and the reception has been fantastic. The brand has had exceptional sales in its first few weeks with refill orders being placed already. We have been very fortunate with all of our stockists who are all very supportive and are now stocked in over 25 independents nationally. With global sales via our website from places such as US, Asia, UK, UAE and Europe we are now exploring OS opportunities with stockists to be announced later this year.
Congratulations on your national deal with Sunburn this month.
SunSoaked’s first collection of three swim tops was released to an eager market. The label has now grown to include an extended line of swim tops, along with coordinating swim shorts, swim skirts and swimsuits. SunSoaked caters for a broad range of sun protection needs from those women needing to cover up for health reasons to those wanting to protect themselves from the damaging and ageing effects of the sun. With many first-time rashie wearers, Kate is pleased to be making a contribution to skin cancer awareness and education and to be influencing women to take care of their skin by covering up. Visit the SunSoaked website to buy online.
Kate started selling her range locally in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Now SunSoaked is sold and worn all around Australia and internationally.
The SunSoaked Sisterhood
This month marked another important milestone, the launch of The SunSoaked Sisterhood, a group of like-minded women of all ages and sizes who have become everyday ambassadors. While 2017 is seen by many as the age of celebrity endorsements, Kate has taken a different pathway, opting to create and work with
The SunSoaked Sisterhood – real women – to spread messages of empowerment, joy and positivity across all walks of life, because …. The SunSoaked Sisterhood is not exclusive, instead, it’s a movement Kate wants all same-thinking women to join. The revolution continues every day.
About Kate Davis-Steer
Born in Victoria, Kate had a well-travelled childhood living all over Australia, the UK, Europe and Papua New Guinea before returning to Brisbane and studying Art & Design, and then moving into printmaking, graphic design and interior design. For 8 years she ran a successful interior design business before expanding into Personal Styling. The daughter of a talented seamstress, Kate’s mother’s love of fashion and style saw her create bespoke outfits for her mother/daughter outings to the ballet and theatre.
Finally, when she saw firsthand the emotional journey women went through in the change rooms in trying to find swimwear that fit and flattered and looked fashionable, as well as trying to find a rashie for herself, all of her worlds collided into a single beam of inspiration – she needed to design a range herself. And SunSoakedwas born!
#SunSafeChic #ultimateonepiece #SunSoakedSisterhood