In this day and age, convincing women to ditch their teeny weenie string bikinis for a traditional one-piece is a near-impossible mission. But you’ll find that swimwear designers Jeremy Somers and Indhra Chagoury are quite persuasive.
Running under the name We Are Handsome, this talented Australian duo has created the veritable Seven One-Piece Wonders of the World — seven one-piece bathing suits so cool it almost hurts. Their slick suits represent wearable art at its best, with Somers using his graphic design background to turn each piece into something guaranteed to turn heads in a way one-pieces haven’t since the early 1900s.
We pulled Somers aside to ask why they chose to be handsome, how each maillot is made, and what he and Indhra wear when they hit the beach.
Why the name “We Are Handsome”?
We wanted something a little different. It had to be nice to say out loud, easy to spell, not be too cool for school, not have an ampersand, not start with “The,” and have an available URL. Eventually we came across the word “handsome.” At first we weren’t sure, but it grew on us. It has multiple meanings, and people can interpret what they like from it.
Indhra has experience doing swimwear with her own line, Oscar and Elvis — did you, prior to We Are Handsome?
I’d never done swimwear in my life. I never even thought much about fashion before we started, and now I’m in the deep end! (Excuse the pun.) The learning curve has been huge for me. We just shot and finished all our new styles, and I was surprised how easy the ideas are now coming to me. I’ve also noticed that rather than just looking at our pictures when we get press in a fashion magazine, I’m actually reading the rest of the mag, too. And liking it. I’m slightly worried about myself…
One-pieces are often seen as a conservative swimsuit choice. So why one-pieces?
The initial idea — me being a graphic designer — was that I wanted the largest possible canvas. I knew there was something that could be sexy about a one-piece, but wasn’t sure what. As we moved on, we focused on that challenge of making them sexy again. These days, a woman covering up can be more sexy than showing lots of skin.
Did you ever expect people’s response to be so overwhelmingly enthusiastic?
Not in the least! We knew we had something cool when we got our first samples back, but it blew up so quickly we still haven’t even sat down for a celebratory drink! The response is totally overwhelming, and very humbling.
Each piece is made by hand. How long of a process is that?
It takes a while. Because our prints aren’t patterns, and each one has to be cut a certain way, it takes longer than a normal swimsuit to complete. For the first [collection], we used a mixture of original images and retouched sourced images. The Twilight Flight One-Piece is a mix of about 13 images, some illustrations, some textures.
Let’s jump to the future. Can we look forward to more swimsuits and styles?
Yes, you can look forward to about six new styles by the end of the year. We have some great collaborations coming up too. Lots of awesome stuff in the works!
What do you guys wear on the beach? Is it anything as bold as your designs?
Well, Indhra wears our stuff. I wear a simple patterned board short (above the knee, of course). My dressing style isn’t as out there as our swimsuits, so I’m not sure I’ll wear our men’s range (in store end of year!).