How did the idea of Reina Olga come about? And why did you decide to focus on swimwear?
The truth is that I was fired and in order to show that I was capable of doing my job I decided to launch a brand. All I had was my last salary and Isotta had some savings so swimsuits seemed the most sensible category given the low production costs. Isotta and I always dreamed of creating something together and this was the perfect opportunity to embark on a bonkers adventure.
Where does the name Reina Olga come from? Does it have a special meaning?
Reina and Olga are our grandmothers, both big fans of a leopard print.
Tell us about the creative process behind your collections. How do you choose the materials and prints for your swimsuits?
For every collection we release, 2 more had been designed and tried out which are then eliminated during the final phase. After all the trial and errors, what I’m usually left with are 5 days in total to create a collection we both truly like. It’s hard to say what inspires us because the reality is that often circumstances and panic lead to some sudden strokes of genius.
Is there a place or something in particular that inspires you?
The wistful feeling for something I’ve never experienced.
Reina Olga swimsuits come in three sizes: from 1 to 3. Why this decision?
We believe that when it comes to sizes, numbers sound better than such words as ‘Small’ or ‘Large’.
Speaking of sizes, how important is the concept of inclusive fashion to you?
Right from the start, the concept we dreamed of was to create a product that suited girls and women with different body types; in a nutshell, the idea was swimwear for everyone.
Our slogan “No bikini is ever too small, and no tooshie is ever too big” summarizes the fact that our swimsuits were designed to fit and flatter everyone and that we often tend to hide and ‘cover up’ our bum thinking that it is too large rather than accentuating the beauty and shape of our body. Our new ‘one size fits most’ collection, for example, proved very popular among pregnant girls and women, who found the stretchy material and cuts to be ideally suited to dress a rapidly changing body. We are working on changing and allocating more resources so that, through our campaigns, our company’s image is more in line with our philosophy.
In the fashion industry, there is still a long way to go in terms of diversity and beauty standards, especially with regard to beachwear. What is the philosophy of Reina Olga on this matter?
I agree with you and believe that the world of fashion, and especially the luxury market, is still very rigid in terms of beauty standards. What upset me the most though are extreme attitudes, i.e. designers who decide to hire a curvy girl for their show but pick one that is exceedingly so, in an almost unhealthy way, if I can say so. The odd thing is that nobody seems to talk about the Medium size, and that’s where the biggest segment of the population falls into. Having said that, I believe that, in comparison, beachwear is making huge progress. Many designers have been using girls with ‘real’ proportions (neither XS nor XL) for years. Though maybe this happens more in the US than in Europe.
You are the only label in Italy that offers swimsuits that combine glamour, quality and contemporary trends whilst being accessible to everyone. How do you manage that?
Well, first of all, thank you for the great compliment! Quality is a key feature of our brand. Right from the start it was clear to us that we wanted to produce in Italy. Our suppliers are based in Italy, Guia visits them regularly driving a rented car with gears she hasn’t really mastered fully – just to show how committed she is, though the same can be said of the team of pattern-makers and artisans that produce every piece we sell. Guia always had a very bold and adventurous style, which is reflected in the collections that range from sporty, seductive and playful, to be worn with an easy attitude and mixed with your go-to pieces and accessories.
What is the secret behind the worldwide success of Reina Olga? And what are you most proud of about having set up an Italian brand that is known and loved around the world?
The joy cannot be put into words although, even today, we don’t really know how it all happened.
What is your ‘fashion dream’? Perhaps a collaboration with celebrities or renowned designers?
My (Guia’s) biggest dream is to design a beachwear line for a major luxury brand. Reina Olga is simple and playful and, although it’s great fun, at times I truly feel like creating something extraordinarily chic and sophisticated.
Who would you like to see wearing your swimsuits?
Isotta: Misty Copeland.
Guia: Goldie Hawn.
You have a great deal of followers on social media, especially Instagram, where many brands find success. How do you believe that social media contribute to a label’s success? And what role do social media play in your professional lives?
Instagram has undoubtedly played a very important role in contributing to the growth of our brand. It gave us the opportunity to showcase our products in an independent and free way.
Tell us about Reina Olga Summer 2018 collection. What new bikinis and one-piece suits did you introduce?
The ‘one size fits most’ collection is our favourite. It’s limited but complete and there is something special about every piece. The fabric we chose ensured that we could design ultra-stretchy styles that hug the curves seamlessly. It’s simply fantastic!
Pick Reina Olga must-have swimsuits for the Summer 2018 and match them with 5 among the coolest and hottest sea destinations right now.
-The Scrunchie in Walking Leo to be flaunted in Jericoacoara, Brazil.
– The Brasil Scrunch bottom in black with the Selvaggia top in leopard to be flaunted on Lake Como.
– The Ruby Scrunch in baby pink to be flaunted in Portofino.
– The Pitone Scrunch dress in hot pink to be flaunted in Ibiza.
– The For a Rainy Day one-piece in white to be flaunted in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
Describe the Reina Olga aesthetics in three words.
Fun, wild and cool.
What makes the ideal swimsuit in your opinion? What characteristics does it need to have?
A swimsuit must make the woman that wears it feel good. A black one-piece is a true must-have: it flatters every body type and can be worn off the beach with a pair of shorts. We are crazy about the leopard print, which can also be teamed with everything. And, for the perfect trio, I’d add a colorful style.
Where is Reina Olga available in Italy and the rest of the world?
In Italy, it is available at Luisa Via Roma in Florence and online, at Glamour in Rose in Milan and Forte dei Marmi and at Manebi in Milan, Porto Rotondo, Porto Cervo, Santa Margherita and Petrasanta. As for the rest of the world, you can find our products at Revolve, Moda Operandi, Free People, Adriana Online and many other stores and platforms.
What are your plans for the future?
Isotta is due to give birth soon so she is about to start a brilliant new adventure. As for Reina Olga, we are toying with the idea of introducing ski and snowboard clothing following the footprints of old iconic surf brands.
Where do you see your brands in 10 years’ time?
Oh gosh, I have no idea. I hope that our identity and values will continue to evolve in a positive way. As we grow, I’d love to have the opportunity to become more socially and environmentally committed, starting from the way we manage our operations to the impact on the environment (Yvon Chouinard and the book Let My People Go Surfing is a constant reference and huge source of inspirations).
Last but not least, tell us something, an anecdote or similar, about Reina Olga that we do not know and did not ask in this interview.
Reina Olga creations are produced in Italy, with Italian materials and hand made by a highly skilled team of women. We are working on becoming ‘greener’ and on reducing the use of plastic in our packaging.
Guia loves to learn all the trickiest rap songs in the most random languages. Sometimes she does not comb her hair for so long that she ends up getting dreadlocks. Isotta goes to Ikea with the excuse of buying things for the house while in fact it’s to eat their mini hot dogs.
Our bikinis run true to size, however, the do give a little less coverage than average, so bare in mind that if you're not ready for a proper Brazilian experience, you may want to go up a size.
Closed sides styles like The Scrunchie, The This Scrunchie and The Transformer are specifically developed to NOT give you a muffin top, so if you go for your usual size you may reveal a little bit more tooshie, but we assure you the elastics on your sides won't dig in.
Our swimsuits have a sort of 'Spanx' effect: they hold everything in the right place, show your best assets and hide anything you may not want to flaunt... We like our swimsuits to be comfortable, so if you are slightly taller than average, we recommend going up a size (no one likes a wedgie...)
SIZE CONVERSION CHART
SIZE 1 = S / US 4-6 / UK 6-8 / IT 40
SIZE 2 = M / US 6-8 / UK 8-10 / IT 42
SIZE 3 = L / US 8-10 / UK 10-12 / IT 44