Nestled between the mountains and the waves, the small town of St. Jean de Luz has served as Quiksilver’s global design department’s base since 2015. And this is where Sophie the creative head behind Quiksilver’s inaugural women’s collection, new for spring / summer 2019.
The choice to become an apparel designer was an obvious one to Sophie ever since she can remember. Much to her teachers’ dismay, she spent hours drawing in her books sketching her dream designs. After class she quickly translated her ideas to garments. She persisted in her passion, passing through a traditional apprenticeship in tailoring and later completing a business-oriented university program. Sophie went on to work at a number of renowned fashion and sportswear brands. No type of garment or technique ever appeared unfamiliar to her and her passion for design and creative expression is contagious.
Nonchalant and charismatic, Sophie is driven by a natural curiosity and eagerness to discover. “Travelling is something I simply couldn’t live without,” she says. “This feeling of freedom, carelessness, not knowing what tomorrow will be bring… that’s how I find my best ideas, my greatest inspirations.” A diehard vintage and denim-aficionado, Sophie left her unmistakable signature on Quiksilver womens that she created with a small team of in-house artists and product designers in St. Jean de Luz, France.
Sophie, congratulations on the new Quik Women Collection, what’s the inspiration behind it?
Thank you so much, I am happy you like it! For me this is really a special collection as the inspiration came in somewhat naturally. We just looked around and saw how many women are actually wearing Quiksilver – officially a men’s brand – for years. Especially within our teams! No matter if you step into a Boardriders office in France, Australia or California, all over the place you’ll see ladies rocking men’s pieces, often twisting them a little by cutting off jeans, tying t-shirts… When I started working on this line my first objective was to create something durable and cool for exactly these people. Since we didn’t want to create a separate women’s brand but rather proudly stick to the fact that Quiksilver has a pretty specific appeal I like to call “no gender”, we share the same colour palettes and artwork with our apparel collection for men. It’s mostly the fits that we adapted to correspond with the female morphology, however we never wanted to disconnect the vibe and attitude from the rest of the range.
What are the stand out pieces?
I’d like to this think that all the pieces stand out in some way… ! 😉
One of the key pieces for this summer is definitely the camp shirt that we offer both as a plain version and with all-over print. It’s so easy to wear and style, an item that truly suits everybody. A lot of our tops take up a distinct retro vibe that prevails through the whole collection, blending smooth and sun-bleached colours with eye-catching influences from the 90s such as high jacquard collars or all-over stripes. Another highlight is our swim range – a curated line of one piece swimsuits and bikinis made with an Italian fabric called Vita by Carvico. It is eco-friendly and technical at the same time, using 78% ECONYL® recycled yarn. 20% thinner than standard bathing suit Lycra, it is incredibly smooth, stretchy and durable. It’s perfect for frequent and tough uses (hello, surfer girls!) and for those who are down to roll straight from the beach. We have a selection of plain, classic colors and expressive all-over print: Old school tea towel prints mingle with psychedelic shapes, graffiti drawings, sunny stripes and timeless black – you’re spoiled for choices.
Describe the DNA of a Quik Women’s customer?
An independent woman who knows she wants and doesn’t wait for things to happen, she simply goes for them in a relaxed, yet persistent way. She’s casual and a bit rock’n’roll, a tomboy who explores her feminine ways without ever trying too hard. She’s a positive person, supportive with other women and also hangs with the guys – at Quik we truly believe in equality and embracing who you really are as a person, not following any stereotypes. She’s natural and bold, with a strong interest in music, culture and art. She’s very curious and active, constantly seeking new experiences, unknown places and making new friends. While our customer might have a knack for sports like surfing, she’s not necessarily a core surfer girl – rather somebody blatantly open to new try things and always restless for adventure.
What are your plans for the brand?
Apart from staying creative and exploring new horizons through a strong art program, we have set a strong agenda to make our products and brand operations more sustainable. We have started to work with recycled materials such as Repreve polyester yarn years ago; now we are in the process of stepping it up to transition into a fully eco-friendly collection that we want to achieve over the next few years. This will come along with innovative ways to reduce waste and optimize our production circles. Associating with the right partners will be a key element to help us make a positive impact.
For a big company like us this transition is a complex process demanding a lot of diligence and a fair amount of time; however I am proud to say that we are getting better and better while continuing to face the challenges of a complex economic environment.
Tell us what your favourite piece is and where will you be wearing it?
One of my personal favorites is a boxy jumpsuit. It’s super fluid and easy to wear, combining comfy walk shorts with a buttoned shirt. You can either wear straight and casual or give it a more feminine touch by combining it with a belt. It stars our key print “acid tribe” combining Australian tribal art influences with a sophisticated black and white outline – it looks a pretty edgy and definitely catches the eye, so you’ll surely see me wear it at the next rock show I am going to this summer !
Describe the Collection in five words:
Authentic, casual, bold and comfy. Artsy with a dash of weirdness.