Romantic attractiveness is one way of defining the word glamour. Think Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn or Dorothy Dandridge, women naturally beautiful with a style that ordinary women the world over have coveted and copied. Yes, they were movie stars, but they combined their real-life glamour in a way that was both sexy and demure with clothes that were forgiving and flattering at the same time.
This is a look familiar to Swedish-born designer Mimie Reed, founder of her own eponymous swim and resort wear brand, who has long admired the effortless chic of icons such as Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy. In fact, it is these sirens of the silver screen along with that other contemporary exponent of the hour-glass figure – Dita Von Teese – who Mimie would most like to see in her designs. And it is an era that has provided the stimulus for her new elegant collection of monochrome pieces.
As the Mimie Reed collection launches, we were delighted to have the opportunity to get the low-down from Mimie Reed on her inspiration, her commitment to sustainability, and her future plans for the brand:
Where does your design inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from the Forties and Fifties, which in my view is the golden era of fashion. I have always spent time by the sea - on a beach or on the ocean - but struggled to find swimwear that appealed to my vintage style so I set out to create my own. I see the collection as a revival of sustainable luxury swim and resort wear inspired by the bygone eras, but with a twist - combining the elegant designs of the 1930s, the feminine tailoring of the 1940s, and the powerful silhouettes of the 1950s. The collection is designed to accentuate the female figure, to fit every body shape and make you feel empowered and confident.
Where did it all start, what's your journey to Mimie Reed?
I already had a toe in the fashion ocean so to speak as I first designed a small collection of vintage-inspired formalwear in London. I remember the thrill of strolling around the fabric shops on Berwick Street in Soho and eventually teamed up with a seamstress to create my own designs after being complimented on my style one too many times! It was then that I decided to pursue my dream. I studied at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design and gained a Vogue Fashion Diploma. And started my business just as we went into lockdown!
How did the Covid restrictions impact you?
We have had some setbacks with manufacturers, being short-staffed and other delays but I have made it my mission to remain undaunted and to use the setbacks as lessons instead. And aren’t we all living in hopeful anticipation that we will soon be able to book our next holiday?
What ignited your passion to make sustainable swim wear?
Whilst I wanted the Mimie Reed collection to reflect a golden age, I also want to protect the future of our planet. The entire ethos of the brand is ethical fashion with sustainability at its heart. Each Mimie Reed swimsuit is crafted from ECONYL® – regenerated nylon from waste such as discarded fishing nets, or ghost nets, as they are often called. This means that they are not only long-lasting and hard-wearing, but also recyclable. The hats are handmade out of 100% straw and the sunglasses are made in Italy out of bio-acetate, a natural renewable and biodegradable alternative to plastic.
We are passionate about slow fashion, sourcing sustainable materials and rethinking classics. It was important for me to be a brand of purpose and I also wanted to give something back so it seemed fortuitous when I came across the Olive Ridley Project in the Maldives. This is a sanctuary that protects sea turtles and their habitats in the Indian Ocean. We donate 3% of all purchases directly to the Project.
Who is buying Mimie Reed?
The majority of my clients are UK-based, with interest building in the US and UAE. Many are fans of the brand’s understated elegance with a focus on structural minimalism designed to flatter every body shape.
What are your best-sellers?
The Mimie Reed collection features nine swimsuits and two cover-ups: the Norma Contrast Kaftan (€280) and the Rose Beach Kimono (€125), as well as hair-protecting turbans (€99), cat-eye sunglasses (€149) and wide-brimmed straw hats (€250). Our best sellers are:
Grace Belted Swimsuit (€269)
The Doris Tankini Top (€89) & Swimskirt (€89)
The Vivian Ruched Swimdress (€269)
The positive feedback I get drives me forward and I am working on a new made-to-order resort wear collection using carefully sourced organic materials. I think this will be the future of ultimate luxury and with substantial benefits to the environment, of course. We want to help inspire and be part of a positive shift in the industry. To keep promoting slow fashion, rethinking classics and creating long-lasting designs that will stay chic over the years. Designs that today’s women will love to wear over and over again.