FASHTALKS with MF SEA
When did you know you wanted to become a designer?
As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to help people do things better, to have a happy spirit, to make people happy. And I have always wanted to be taken seriously. Even as a kid, I worked hard to make sure that what I was saying or doing was important and clear to others. Over time I honed my ability to communicate clearly, and I got better at recognizing which things in life are important (from which perspectives) — these are lifelong pursuits. But it took me until college to realize I had always been what people call a designer, and that I could get paid for being me.
Where do you find inspiration?
Driven by the global travel boom and rising popularity of fitness vacations, emerged our versatile collection of stylish and hybrid fitness apparel, suitable for the beach, the bar, or water activities. With wellness and environmental friendliness in mind, this collection features eco-friendly fabrics and a relaxing palette of contemporary pastel colors.
“MF SEA was born from a desire and a dream to create a brand whose main objective was to align women with ideals of functionality and sustainable fashion.”
What is your favorite part about designing?
That's hard because I love everything!! My favorite part of being a fashion designer is having the opportunity to collaborate with highly creative people on the research, design, and development of new fashion lines.
What is your earliest design memory for your brand?
On a small island, surrounded by a barrier reef and the bluest lagoon. Nature is omnipresent and revered. The children spend hours in the sun, in the salt water and climbing trees. Life is simple. However, this simple life is now a luxury in an overstimulated world. On the islands, connection is key. Connection with people, with nature with the elements. This shaped my mind and created our spirit. My dream vision of a company: 'Produce less, produce well’. I also strongly believe that in a world where everything is instant, transparency is key. In a world where knowledge is power, education is a priority. I made a conscious choice. I decided to create a brand that embodied my beliefs. MF SEA was born from a desire and a dream to create a brand whose main objective was to align women with ideals of functionality and sustainable fashion.
How would you describe your personal style?
Being comfortable in my clothes is the most important thing to me and my easygoing nature tends towards more casual outfits. Simple lines and designs are my go-to options over anything too detailed or fussy. In keeping with this carefree attitude, I tend to only buy clothes that are easy to wash and wear. I prefer fabrics like cotton jersey and lightweight fabrics. My jewelry choices reflect a minimalist style and I tend to wear basic, durable accessories with footwear that also focuses on comfort.
What is your favorite fashion film or show?
Coco Before Chanel. A dose of fashion history, Coco Chanel in her early years as a seamstress, before founding her namesake house that would redefine the modern woman's wardrobe. It's the rare fashion biopic that goes deep below the surface and offers a poignant glimpse into the inner world of the designer.
What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?
My enthusiasm for haute couture began a radical renovation of the bridal industry These collections, driven by vision for creating a modern and luxurious artistic lifestyle resonates in various music videos, walked in the Fashion Week, and appearing in Vogue. I collaborated with leading global partners creation and visualization of ideas for the main European and American brands. It has been added to a new market concept and its equation translates into a sales success, and a global audience.
“Our goal is to create products that feel great, look great and function great, all the while empowering women to reach their highest potential in and out of the water.”
What roles does sustainability play in the MF SEA collection?
MF • SEA aims to align women with ideals of sustainable fashion. We aim to create a garment made from environmentally conscious materials, reducing our footprint on the planet. As a conscious creator, we celebrate the opportunity to include ideals of Mother Nature, of women, and a sustainable future together. Sustainability is the fundamental value of MF • SEA's mindset. We strongly believe that ‘sustainability should not be a marketing tool, it should be a requirement. Viewing the world through a conscious lens. Being a conscious manufacturer means to take back power, and support what we stand for, in an ever growing fast-fashion industry. Our goal is to make a difference by reducing our carbon footprint in a world affected by poorly managed value chains. We define ourselves as a sustainable brand by embodying these aspects: by being a women-owned, locally produced in Portugal, using recycled and eco-friendly materials from the beginning to the end of our value chain. We aim to give our consumers the choice to support a product that has the future of the environment in mind by creating versatile products that can be used many times, for many purposes across their lifespan We believe in using fabrics that matter. MF • SEA's swimwear and activewear are made with ECONYL® regenerated nylon from pre- and post-consumer waste such as fishing nets and other nylon waste. We are very proud to collaborate with AQUAFIL since our creation, using their yarn for our entire collection. ECONYL® nylon is 100% made from waste that would otherwise pollute the Earth, which makes its use amazing for the environment. With every swimsuit we are reducing our environmental footprint thanks to an ecological production process. We believe that producing locally is the key to a better, simpler, and greener supply chain. It continuously ensures a high standard and quality of our products, fairness of work for our employees, a much lower carbon footprint and CO2 emissions due to shipment of fabrics, samples, and products. We are proud to state that all our swimwear line is made in Portugal, since day one. All our packaging is recycled and recyclable, compostable, and designed with the Planet in mind.
What sets your brand apart from the rest?
We believe in innovation, pushing boundaries in defining fashion’s role in the sport’s industry. Our goal is to create products that feel great, look great and function great, all the while empowering women to reach their highest potential in and out of the water.
What do you envision for the future of your brand?
No 2 days are the same, from working with my design team, to continue creating amazing outfits for our clients, to researching trends, traveling to show the collection, and working with my amazing team in the office. We also have many other exciting projects underway. Market Expansion Development in mainland Europe & USA, expansion into Middle East & Asia Pacific, extensive retail expansion rollout of new standalone stores, and SIS concepts of multi-channel and ecommerce while establishing MF SEA as a global leading multi-channel womenswear brand.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have designed?
That's hard since I love you all! Willy's long sleeve suits are fantastic, they are very flattering and protect you during long days at the beach. I also love the Jackie swim top and the Bond pants, it's edgy but sporty and the navy blue is just gorgeous.
What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?
Owning a small business can be both rewarding and challenging, and the obstacles to turning our passion into our career make it seem like we've lost that sense of work-life balance. We know when we've been putting in too many hours in a row a week and we can feel the side effects of making that kind of commitment, close to exhaustion. Our goal will be to return to a more balanced life, nature plays a very important role in this.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?
There are so many different styles to suit all body shapes: tops for larger busts with support, high waisted for those who want the bikini look with a little more coverage, or skimpy style bikinis. We all have different body shapes and I think it's important to find one that suits you and more importantly makes you feel amazing. Our eco luxury swimsuits do absolute wonders and keep you in all the right places!
Is it difficult to have a brand based in Spain? What are the advantages and challenges?
We currently have reliable partners, advisors, and suppliers. We know who and what companies have done well in the past and whose track record is more questionable. Spain is still sometimes referred to as the country of “mañana” (tomorrow), which is a bit unfair, as society has changed a lot in recent decades, becoming increasingly efficient and competitive from a business perspective. Still, things take time, probably longer than expected, and there's nothing you can do about it. If we have strict time constraints in our business plan, we start preparations well in advance.
What made you want to design swimwear pieces?
There were no other brands on the market that created fashionable wet sportswear. I wanted to create a brand using eco-friendly luxury swimwear and I wanted it to feel elegant and flattering at the same time. Being such an ocean lover myself, I really struggled to find something I loved, and it felt amazing, which really got me thinking... I need to do something! And so, the research began and soon after MF SEA was born.
What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?
Protecting our environment has been a cause close to my heart since I can remember, and turning that passion into creating MF SEA has been a magnificent journey through celebrating and creating for women that love the ocean as much as I do.
How would you define fashion?
Fashion, for me, represents life. When I wear something that makes me feel more creative, more interesting, stronger, more complicated, that's when I feel more alive, more engaged with the world. So, the purpose of fashion is to make you feel alive and present.