What Makes a Brand? Click to Find Out
Have you ever wanted to really feel what it would be like to become a part of a brand, to become immersed in their vision and see what makes them tick? Welcome to Wearehandsome.com, the online branch We Are Handsome, the brainchild of Australian design duo Jeremy Somers and Indhra Chagoury. A visit to the site will undoubtedly leave you tempted to buy at least one of their signature prints. Side effects include the unquenchable urge to snap up the entire fall collection and an uncontrollable desire to go to the beach. You have been warned.
The brand itself was initially launched in 2009 by Somers and Chagoury as a swimwear collection via the warm shores of sunny Australia. With the ability to transform the ordinary maillot into something covetable and fierce, the brand quickly took off after gaining publicity from the likes of Rihanna, Florence Welsh, and Miranda Kerr, all of whom have been spotted both on and off the beach in We Are Handsome.
Their success might have something to do with the comfortable materials they are made out of, or the universally flattering cuts, (The Italian lycra used on each suit specializes in highlighting the natural lines of the body, without that dreaded look of squishing anything up or down.) but the real cause of their instant popularity comes mostly as the result of their imaginative dream-like HD prints. Beware though, these prints are not for the timid among us.
Somers, who has a background in graphic design, says that prints are “designed to take you back to memories, sights, sounds, and smells of younger years and simpler times.” Not that there is anything simple about these prints. Peacocks, the wild west, a chilly mountain village, fields of flowers, and psychedelic hot air balloons are among the killer options that past collections have offered. Clearly, inspiration comes from a wide variety of sources, but mainly out of “ our wild imaginations. Each season is different of course, but we try to pull out as much information and inspiration from out heads as we can.”
Expansion has come naturally over the years. What started as brand built solely on women’s swimsuits, has transitioned smoothly into ready to wear and men’s without losing any of their eccentric identity. In addition to the full collection available on their own website, We Are Handsome bathing suits can be found online at major sites such as Net-a-Porter, Opening Ceremony, and Intermix.
Fall 2011 gave us piece to keep cozy and stay warm in all winter. Never one to disappoint, the collection, titled ‘The Vintage,’ includes head turning motifs screen printed onto everything from leggings to cap sleeved dresses. Following along the likes of other rising star designer pair, Jack and Lazarro over at Proenza, the collection was inspired by a vacation, a summer vacation to the luxurious coasts of Europe to be exact. Usually such detailed bathing suits are only suited for lounging by the pool, but WAH suits are fully functional, whether that means splashing around in the pool or surfing a major wave.
Utilizing social media to effectively promote their brand and communicate their vision, WAH made a video, featuring their Fall 2011 collection. This proved an effective marketing strategy as bloggers all around the world have been reposting and building brand awareness at no extra charge.
But, back to the website. WeAreHandsome.com is like a trip into the minds of it’s founders, the equivalent of say, an interactive documentary explaining exactly what goes through their minds when creating a collection and what types of things hang on the walls of their bedrooms. Somers’ and Chagoury’s ability to bring their customers into their world gives shoppers the chance to truly appreciate the concept behind each piece. Tabs include where to buy, past campaigns, inspirations, mix tapes, explore, and video. They use their own rising status to support other young people in need of recognition through the Handsome Project. The online project features an open contest each month for anyone to shoot a story featuring one of their swimsuits. They give the photographer complete creative freedom and even supply the suits to work with.
It’s difficult to make swimwear cool again, especially in an age where it seems as though everything has been done before. We Are Handsome succeeds in combining the frivolous and the functional in quirky, original ways. Careful now, you might even see hipsters at the beach again.