FELLA x Maggie Marilyn
Maggie Hewitt: Hi Rosie and Christine, I can’t believe our FELLA x Maggie Marilyn swim collaboration is finally launching into the world! It’s been such a beautiful process and feels like a long time in the making. For those who don’t know, could you share with our community the driving force behind starting FELLA?
We started FELLA in 2012 at a time when mass-market, barely-there surf brands dominated the category. We wanted to bring a sense of simplicity and modesty to Australian swimwear. Everything at the time had either overly feminine trims such as ruffles, or poorly-made padding which offered little support. We wanted to fill a gap in the market that focused on high-quality fabrics, beautiful fits and refined shapes.
Another big focus was on wastage. For the first four years of Fella, we existed completely as a made-to-order company, until demand became so high that we had to transition to putting stock behind our best-selling styles and keeping the lower sellers as made-to-order only. Any fabric that is left over, we have either used as lining, or on our previous Little Fella collections.
MH: I distinctly remember a striped bathing suit my mum wore every summer when I was a kid. It was almost like her second skin, and I remember how beautiful and effortless she looked — running after my three sisters and I, or prepping lunch in the kitchen - wearing this striped one-piece that offset her golden skin. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to carry MM’s classic navy and cherry red stripes over to our collaboration. What are your favourite memories of swimwear pre-FELLA, and how did those memories influence the brand’s ethos?
Rosie: I have this amazing photo of my grandma at Wadjemup (Rottnest Island, Western Australia) in this amazing 70s geometric bikini which was strangely enough also white, blue and red colourways. Right from the get-go I have always been inspired by vintage bathing suits from old family pictures to movies like James Bond and even The Fifth Element. Our very first photo shoot was very Ursula Andress from James Bond, with a modern twist.
MH: A lot of swimwear on the market is seasonal and short-lived because the quality or designs aren’t able to withstand multiple summers - that’s why I was so excited to collaborate with FELLA because you use the most incredible, textured fabric that isn’t just durable but really sculpts and supports the body. How important was it to perfect the fabric and provide silhouettes that suited all body shapes?
Thank you, this is exactly Fella’s core ethos. Our fabric has always been the top priority, and we have spent a lot of time sourcing and perfecting the textured fabrics from Italy, France and Brazil over the years. If cared for correctly, our customers should be able to wear their pieces for several years. Christine has a pattern-making background, so her silhouettes have really been our forte.
MH: What’s your favourite way to style our FELLA collaboration away from the beach? Say you’re going from a day at the beach with friends to a pub or local restaurant for drinks and dinner.
Christine: My favourite set from the collaboration is the Julian triangle top and the Franz high-waisted boyshorts in red stripe, worn with the navy striped MM shirt. I love mixing and matching the stripes together and wearing the bottoms as shorts with an oversized shirt and a nice pair of sandals.
MH: And lastly, describe your perfect summer’s day - from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed.
Rosie: Going for a sunrise walk and a swim at the beach, followed by a sauna with a friend. Getting my coffee and a book, reading and lounging with the windows open and the breeze coming through. Going out on my dad's boat either fishing or catching crayfish and abalone (when it's in season!). After catching all of this amazing food, I love putting together a late lunch with close friends; spaghetti vongole, BBQ crayfish, crumbed abalone, crusty bread, grainy salads, and of course — lots of wine. Dancing as the sun sets back on the beach, as the summer heat starts to finally cool down at dusk. Bellissimo!