There is no doubt that Australian clothing and swimwear designers alike are taking the world by storm, one of them being Jessika Allen, designer of JETS Swimwear. JETS is adored by women all over the world, but especially by Australians who are always proud to show off a homegrown idea. With a plethora of beaches in Australia alone, JETS Swimwear has been painting a rather sophisticated, yet fun beach atmosphere.Working alongside Sydney based stylist and photographer, Margaret Zhang, and hair and makeup guru, Max Made, we curated and shot our JETS Swim edit from the Summer 15 Collection. The range is a fusion of vintage and contemporary one piece and two piece sets that display Jessika’s successful design background through couture tailoring and a thorough understanding of the female form; something we appreciate here at ABAD. Our edit combines JETS classic cuts and designs, with current swim trends such as mesh detailing, neoprene material, zips and palm prints; pieces that are not only amazing to look at, but have great form and support.To accompany our sport-luxe swimwear shoot, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jessika herself, here is what she had to say about JETS:
What prompted you to buy an already established swim line, rather than create your own from scratch?
Prior to JETS I had my own company called JAD – Jessika Allen Design, and was designing swimwear and manufacturing for high street brands, such as Sportsgirl and Miss Shop. Throughout this time I learned that entry into a competitive arena with a new or unknown brand would take longer to get momentum than that of an already established brand with history and a loyal following.
The decision to buy JETS came quite suddenly yet undoubtedly at the perfect time. My husband woke me up from my sleep one night and said “let’s buy JETS”. It was a monumental leap for us both however I knew it was the right decision. I had dedicated my whole life to fashion and design so it felt like a natural progression, and I was ready for the next stage of my career.
Fast-track fourteen years and here we are now, the brand has grown into a powerhouse of its own with the JETS by Jessika Allen signature that’s really been the driving force behind it.
Is it harder to create your own personal imprint in an already existing line of swimwear?
Crafting your own personal imprint on anything could be seen as challenging, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. In the early stages of JETS I learned the key to re-launching an established brand took into consideration two aspects, to be loyal to the existing customers while understanding the potential of the brand.
We relaunched a well-respected brand that had great foundations and injected a new focus and signature style in design, print and collection development, with an awareness of the original design philosophies. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love.
What were the first changes you made to JETS?
The initial changes we made to JETS became clear in the first JETS by Jessika Allen Collection; a creation of new and exciting designs, prints and shapes that changed the face of swimwear. My goal was to shine light and really showcase the possibilities in fashion and form. From the garment creation came our first swimwear campaign, The JETSET Collection 2001/02, which featured the gorgeous and then up-and-coming Miranda Kerr. Each story within the Collection was a different destination. We created a campaign that communicated the brand and the JETS by Jessika Allen aesthetic, which is a philosophy we have maintained.
Can you tell us about the process of creating a new collection?
Each collection brings an exciting challenge, from creating new trends and themes, forming the colour palette and crafting new silhouettes and special design details. What I love about the creative process most is the storytelling through the design, and how your inspiration and creative thoughts really come to life through different prints and fabrics.
An important learning I’ve had is understanding the creative vision needs to take into consideration what’s possible. At JETS we are lucky to facilitate digital textile printing onsite, which allows limitless opportunities in colour, detail and precision. Of course remaining inspired is also a vital role in developing a collection. For me this includes traveling, experiencing people and places, special pieces of artwork, architecture, galleries, cultures and different textiles throughout the ages – I am constantly being inspired by life.
What advantage does having a design background give you?
Fashion and design has always been a part of my life. My family heritage is in the industry so this undoubtedly inspired me both as a child growing up, throughout my earlier years studying Fashion Design and Textiles and my post-graduate program abroad in Milan, and even now professionally as a designer.
I believe the advantage of having a design background is quite simply the education, creative capacities and wealth of experience I have in the work I do. Understanding how garments go together through design, the fit and drape to the body are skills vital in becoming a successful designer.
In saying this, fashion and design are forever–evolving so by the same token, the opportunities in what’s possible are endless!
When designing a bathing suit, what are the key elements that you consider in your design?
With fit, fashion and fabrication at the forefront, this design philosophy allows me to feel confident we’re creating beautiful garments that make women feel fabulous. The key element to everything I do in design is about meeting the needs of the JETS woman.
Another important aspect to swimwear design is understanding the fine line as to what will truly function in the water, fit the body perfectly while still maintaining that fashion edge. With just a small amount of fabric to work with, it is so important to understand what design elements you need to achieve with each garment, or as I like to say, the ‘secret women’s business’ on the inside.
At JETS we incorporate special features and detailing that will hold you in and support you in all the right places, such as underwire support, a mix of bra cups and soft construction pieces, and boning for shape definition.
How do you know what most women want in a bathing suit?
My success has come from understanding what women want in their swimwear – to feel confident and beautiful. Understanding this and knowing how to fulfil their needs have been direct influences of the success of JETS today. I believe feedback is key, as are focus groups within the business, and fittings to trial new shapes and designs. I personally ensure I try on each piece in the collection to understand the shape and how it fits and feels on a woman, which is what JETS is renowned for.
Are your designs made to fit a certain age group?
JETS is designed for real women – each with a different mindset, lifestyle and personality. JETS women are sophisticated and modern. They enjoy their time out and love to relax poolside on resort holidays. She appreciates quality and knows when she sees it. Fashion-forward and timeless – the JETS woman is ageless.
Who was the first celebrity to embrace your designs?
Spotting celebrities, models and personalities in JETS Swimwear always gives me a thrill! We know that Jessica Gomes, Hannah Saul, the Bachelor’s Anna Heinirch, Catriona Rowntree, Donna Hay, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Sarah Murdoch are just a few of the glamorous Australian women whom are great supporters of the JETS brand. As for international, nothing compares to spotting Beyoncé in a swimwear editorial wearing JETS!
Can you give us a clue about a 2015 bikini trend?
My vote for the biggest swimwear trend of 2015 is all about sports-luxe. Think statement high necklines, scuba-inspired pieces, stark contrasts in texture, flashes of mesh and sleek lines. Both ultra modern and bold, the athletic look is the new favourite in swim and I personally can’t get enough!
Which decade featured the worst in terms of swimsuit designs?
I believe each decade in swimwear fashion is truly a celebration of that era, ranging from rainbow crochet swimsuits, barely-there bikinis and 80’s reminiscent bodysuit shapes. Having been a stretch fabric and swimwear lover my whole life, I couldn’t pick a worst swimwear design; I’ve created memories in trying them all!