GNASH SWIM: KASS MAYES
Photography & Interview By Daniel
I recently caught up with Kass Mayes, Founder and Designer of Gnash Swim for our launch edition of the ‘Interview Series’ to talk about her exciting new swimwear brand.
With influences drawn from cultural elements born out of the nineties, the fashion forward brand has quickly developed a niche and a devoted fan base both locally and overseas.
I am extremely excited to bring you this interview having personally followed the brand from the beginning to where it is now.
Let’s find out more about Gnash Swim.
Tell us about the brand and how it all began?
I was brought up around swimwear – mum had a children’s swimwear business for many years so I’ve always had the luxury of designing my own togs.
Recently I was sifting through some of mum’s old patterns and came across a 90’s collection and fell in love with the HIGHcut style. I made myself a pair and thought DAMN these are hot! That’s when GNASH swim was born.
Describe the brand.
It’s a contemporary swimwear brand with minimal styling, an emphasis on the cut and quality of the fabrications with a very reasonable price point!
What inspired the range? Any key influences?
The first range is an ode to the 90’s original Supermodels who graced the covers of fashion magazines, in particular Sports Illustrated & Elle Macpherson #thebody. The style encompasses athletic cuts in scorching colours designed to make your legs go for days and illuminate your tan!
Describe the process in bringing this range to life.
After sampling a pair I did the pattern making – in which I altered the original pattern to a more contemporary cut, graded it, then chose some colours and sampled them up. Once all that was done we did a photographic session with you and built the website. I said that pretty quickly, but in truth many hours went into it!
What are the highlights of the brand so far?
The magazine features!
The first was before the website launched for this really cool Spanish magazine “RUDE.”
Then Elle Australia – ISSUE NOV 14 - It was a pretty proud moment to see “Gnash Swim” take up a couple of A4 spreads!
Along with features in Avant-garde online publications; Oyster, C-Heads, Nextdoormodel and Yumi magazines.
The overall interest in the brand – from photographers and stylists through to consumers has been overwhelming!
What are the future aspirations for the brand?
To continue to grow globally, so that the business is sustainable all year round.
Obviously to expand the range – The designs I’ve got, I just need to make the time to implement them! HIGHcuts are definitely still on the radar – I feel daggy in anything else haha!
Being an online only brand, do you see Gnash Swim moving into retail at some stage?
Not within Australia. When I first started the business I made the decision to keep all sales exclusive to our website for a few reasons; 1) because I wanted to offer a high quality product at a very competitive price point – something I always looked for as a consumer and 2) Time; I was doing everything myself from pattern making through to marketing on top of looking after my 9 month old daughter so I simply didn’t have the time to invest in chasing accounts.
Although we offer global shipping we would like to partner with an International retailer in the future, it just makes sense logistically from a consumer standpoint.
Is there a dream collaboration you would love to do?
The original Supermodels from the 90s of course! In particular Elle Machpherson #thebody with Gilles Bensimon behind the lens – that would be epic!
Any advice you can give others wanting to start their own label?
Choose something you love, cliché yes, but that passion will be the driver to bring your idea to life.
Put in the hours and make it happen quickly, especially if you think your idea is unique because chances are someone else will have the same idea.
Set yourself a realistic budget – both time and dollar investment, you can be successful off any.
Be patient it will happen! It’s easy to get discouraged when your high expectations don’t come to fruition instantly.
Mud: Great thanks so much!
Kass: And get on Instagram! ☺
Check out www.gnashswim.com for the latest updates.