Marcia Hacker, Sauipe founder and swimwear designer, created her brand on the principles of sustainable production, modern and feminine silhouettes that stand the test of time, and beautifully made fabrics of the highest quality. Here's her story.
How did you get into fashion?
It was really by accident. I don't have a fashion background at all - in fact, I was in IT, so about as far away from fashion as you can get. My sister, Ana, was the one in fashion.
How did you decide to team up and create a swimwear brand?
It was about 12 years ago. We just wanted to do something together and create a business. Given that swimwear is such an integral part of Brazilian culture, that felt like an obvious place to start, especially given my sister's know-how in the fashion industry.
Tell us about the first collection.
It was incredibly unfocused. We came from a place where I knew absolutely nothing and my sister knew too much and we weren't organized at all. As time went on, we started really understanding and knowing who we were serving and our designs organically became much more cohesive.
You use very specialized fabrics that are incredibly soft, unlike other swimwear brands.
Absolutely. What makes our suits so special is the materials that we use and we absolutely refuse to compromise on this. We use a couple of different fabrics but the one that we use the most often is very silky and of the highest quality. When you stretch the fabric, you don't see any white fabric between the colors, which unfortunately happens quite a bit with regular lycra. This speaks to the quality of the fibers we are using.
Having said that, the fabrics aren't cheap. Moreover, our quality standards for production and fabrication are just as high. As a result, we use amazing seamstresses, many of whom have been working at our factory for two decades. We are adamant that our workers are paid fair wages and are valued for the top quality work.
Sustainability is a big focus for you.
The textile industry in Brazil is extremely focused on sustainability. When we talk about sustainability, it's not just about the materials that we use but about the production methods as well. The manufacturers here are very much incentivized to be sustainable and green which is great. We read a lot about swim brands that use recycled plastic for their swimwear which is great and all but if the factories have high emissions and produce a lot of waste, using recycled materials doesn't exactly help.
Just going back to our amazing fabrics, the one that we use the most in our collection also happens to decompose under certain conditions in a relatively short period of time (< 3 years).
Who is the Sauipe woman?
Back when we started, there was a huge gap in the swim market. You had a couple of "old lady brands", the skimpy styles, and the sporty Speedo type styles but not much in between. We wanted to come up with an aesthetic that a woman could wear that is timeless, sexy, elegant, and modern. We don't showcase extreme skin; that's not our brand at all.
Our woman is a health-conscious and active woman who cares very much about quality and the provenance of her products. We had a lot of partnerships with resorts because, unsurprisingly, our woman is a regular resort visitor.
Where does the design inspiration come from?
Initially I used to get my inspiration from dresses. I knew our customer was going for a sophisticated look and I would see beautiful necklines and silhouettes that we would try to recreate. Now that we've been around for so long, we know exactly what works for our woman!