I’m sure by now you will have heard of Gypsea Swimwear, one of WA’s most recent brands to pack a punch with their entry into MBFWA this year! Produced by surf photographer Scott Bauer and designer Emma Jones, the collection brings art and fashion together by infusing photography into their prints and designs. We caught up with them for a chat about Gypsea at MBFWA and here’s what they had to say!
PS: Jordana Ripp | S: Scott Bauer | E: Emma Jones
PS: How did you guys get started, how did you start the collaboration?
S: I met Emma in Hawaii through her husband Mikala Jones, he is quite a well respected surfer. I have worked with Mikala a number of different times in WA and Hawaii and met Emma through him and got chatting. I got to know a bit about her background with her swimwear – it was about the time she was really starting to get momentum.
E: Yeah it was actually, and Scott told me his idea and I was like oh my god I love this idea! It sounded like so much work but I love it!
PS: The first retail collection Gypsea came out with was the one Perth Style shot earlier in the year, what inspired the photography for that ?
S: That collection more centred around my work, my personal work – we aslo brought in another photographer Glen Collins, he is a Fremantle photographer – he specializes in underwater photography, he has really quite extraordinary work. So that was our first collaboration and this collection now we have brought in two photographers of various ages. In all honesty I’m so much busier with the whole collection, running everything, doing all the graphics and collaborating with Emma I don’t really have as much time to inject my work into the brand but its really exciting because we get to pull in these really different, extraordinary photographers to collaborate with.
E: In this collection you do have a photograph
S: I do, yeah mine is the desert cloud – a black and white piece and its matched with a charcoal – it’s really different.
PS: The shaping of the pieces that you had for the first collection I loved, they were a little bit different. Who came up with with the shapes and styling?
E: Normally I work on the styles. We work a little bit backwards because we normally pick out the prints and photographs together first that will work with our concept– Scott’s got to lay out the photograph to match the suit because we can’t just use any suit for any photograph – it needs to be really worked on so Scott spends many hours getting the image ready and we have the pattern that we’ve scanned so everything’s printed to scale for the piece. Depending on what the photograph is and depending on how much he can put on there and how much space I have, then that’s when I decide what shape is going to work with what photograph.
S: It’s really quite difficult because you’ve got an image that is either vertical or landscape and certain images just wont fit with certain parts, it can be hard. At the start Emma sends the concepts through and injects her ideas of the cuts and then I’m constantly pulling in images that I think will work and then we bring all that together and see what fits with what.
E: This collection went really well, we sat down for about a week together in the office playing around with things and working it all out.
PS: Where do you get your inspiration for the shapes in the latest collection?
S: Emma is all about fit.
E: I generally work on the fit and then add little detail. I really want the person who buys Gypsea Swimwear to feel good and comfortable so we always try and make sure the fit is the best it can be. For this collection we’ve got a whole range of different types of body coverage and lots of different types of structured tops and different types of padding.
PS: So with the photography – you were saying before that you have a couple of other photographers that have worked on this second collection – do you give them a scope or an idea of what it is you want?
S: Yeah I basically give them a brief but its an open book, I’ll say if you’ve got any ideas send them to me too.
E: There were a couple of things in this collection that Scott really wanted from the very start. When we started working on it he kept saying to me I want this cockatoo – I don’t know what it is I just have got to find it – and then he got it.
S: Alex Kerns – an animal photographer – she does a lot of studio work, she loves animals and she travels the world doing all kinds of stuff, she’s an amazing photographer and she’s really passionate about what she does. I had met her before through Sea Sheppard – just doing fundraising and stuff and gave her a brief and told her I was thinking of a white cockatoo side profile with its mane showing. She sent me the black cockatoo and I just went yep that’s it that’s exactly what I was thinking but its just a different colour . We went with the black and worked amazingly – I think it worked better. You’ve got the contrast with the white as well so its really crisp and clean.
PS: What is Sea Shepherd?
S: They are animal activists – there main focus is anti-whaling. Very hands on. There is a really good following in Fremantle and I work a lot with Jeff Hanson, the Australian Director. Sea Shepherd is huge and Fremantle is their port for when they come to WA so there’s a really strong tie there to that area.
E: And they have just been really successful in their last campaign against Japanese Whaling – the best ever
S: We have a special swimsuit that we’re doing in support– we’re selling that online so we can raise money for Sea Sheppard.
PS: Do you have stockists in WA?
S: We are predominantly online, we’re still a relatively new brand so we’re just putting our feelers out – the whole industry is really tough right now and doing a unique brand is seen as a little bit risky so we’re trying to show them that we’re stayers in the industry and that we really love what were doing that that we can sell.
E: And our online sales have been fantastic. The response from the public has been great, with the feedback on how much they love the suits and the repeat business.
PS: How did your first MB fashion week go?
E: It was great!
PS: Did everything go smoothly?
S: Yes I think it went really well and all the other brands in the swim show were amazing too – everyone supports each other. It does get really intense when all the girls are going out though.
E: We had Ben as well
S: Yeah our Art director Ben – he is amazing
E: He was on it with all the shoes for all the models – because a lot of their comp cards said that they were a certain size but they weren’t actually that size.
S: Just little tricky things like that
E: We only had 20 pairs so we had to mix and match to to make it work- he did an amazing job.
S: Ben coordinates all our photo shoots – it’s been amazing having him on board – he’s focused on the style and really stepping up that side of things so we can kind of concentrate on the inner workings of the brand which makes things a lot easier. It’s really fun doing the whole shoots away from the beach too – it’s a bit different. It’s always a great little team we have working at the photo shoots.
PS: How does model castings work in a show where you’re got mixed brands?
E: Well you put in your preference of who you would like
S: You give them your brief
E: and then they just pick out the 20
S: It was classic actually because our brief that we sent through is actually what they followed through for the whole show.
PS: Where did the name Gypsea come from?
S: That was more my side of things
PS: It’s a great play on words
S: As a surf photographer I’m traveling a lot for perfect waves, the most amazing destinations, the most amazing waves. In some ways it is a bit of a Gypsy life.
Congratulations to Scott and Emma for such a successful MBFWA show – looking forward to seeing the collection on Aussie bodies this summer!!
Photos: Official Gypsea Swimwear shots from MBFWA 2013 and Unscrippted images
Interview Scribe: Ali Beeck