We’re talking eco-friendly, recycled, regenerated materials with fashion designer, and businesswoman Kim Deuss of Beyond Now Apparel.
Kim is Bermuda based where she designs all her swimwear for her collection Daughters of Summer, her materials and fabrics are Italian for quality, and each individual piece is cut and sewn in New York City. A multi-cultural ethos that is shown through in each of her unique designs.
Let’s catch up with the busy designer to find out more about where her business is heading and what we can expect to find in her new collection.
Q. HOC. We see that you launched Beyond Now Apparel in 2017, did you come from a fashion, clothing, and design background prior to 2017?
A. Kim. Yes, after finishing my BFA in Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design, I worked as a designer for 8 years designing first menswear for IZOD, and then transitioning into womenswear designing for Banana Republic, Champion and Weather Proof.
Q. HOC. Has becoming a fashion designer always been your priority?
A. Kim. I have been passionate about designing and fashion since I was a young kid, but what has always been most important to me throughout my life has been to figure out how I can contribute towards the protection of the environment and supporting our communities.
Q. HOC. Your swimwear collection ‘Daughters of Summer’ encompasses the feeling of carefree days in the sun, is this what you had in mind when designing?
A. Kim. Yes, I wanted to create a swimwear collection that is versatile and functional but also has the look of luxury. The colours are playful and bright, and I chose hues that would complement a wide range of skin tones. The prints are bold yet feminine and youthful and the silhouettes were designed for different body types with each top and bottom being sold separately so that the customer can choose the size and style that best suits her figure.
Q. HOC. You use Italian fabrics in your designs, why did you choose material from Italy for your swimwear?
A. Kim. Italian fabric and the level of quality of Italian craftsmanship is famous for high quality. The fabrics I chose are particularly special as the solid colour fabric is ECONYL® regenerated nylon made from rescued ocean plastics, fishing nets and landfill materials and the printed fabric is made from recycled polyester from post-consumer plastics. The fabrics have the look of luxury and are incredibly soft. You’d never even tell they were made from recycled materials!
Q. HOC. Do you have a favourite piece from your current collection?
A. Kim. My favourite piece is the Sienna One Piece. It suits a variety of figures and is incredibly figure flattering. It’s sexy and comfortable, without being overly revealing. The Black is classic, but the Fire Coral colour is a great statement piece and flatters all skin tones.
Q. HOC. Your designs are flattering, fashionable and seriously on-trend how do you know what is going to be on trend when you design well in advance of that particular season?
A. Kim. I’m constantly looking at runway, looking at street fashion, influencers and bloggers. Trends can come from anywhere, whether it’s from new or old movies, art, music, culture, specific eras, or the political climate to name a few. I find it interesting that designers can foresee a specific trend simultaneously. Sometimes all it takes is an incredibly inspiring movie or one runway collection to create a wave of inspiration that creates a ripple effect through the industry.
Q. HOC. Can we ask when you are at your most creative design-wise? And, where do your design-ideas come from?
A. Kim. I draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources and interests. I love nature’s design and the art and design of different cultures and I’m constantly inspired by it. I’m most creative after being inspired by an art show or a concert. I also need good music playing when I design, as it gives me creative drive.
Q. HOC. If you weren’t a fashion designer, what would you be doing right now?
A. Kim. I always thought that if I didn’t go into fashion that I would have been a marine biologist. I love the ocean and I’m constantly in awe of its beauty and I want to help protect this precious resource. Being a diving enthusiast, I constantly see amazing things. Most recently I had a dive with a spotted eagle ray that wasn’t scared and swam just inches away from me.
Q. HOC. Do you remember the first piece you sold?
A. Kim. Yes! The first piece was the Isabel Top and the Ava Bottom in Stella Print in Hibiscus. I was so ecstatic to have my very first sale.
Q. HOC. You have gone down an eco-friendly route for your swimwear, how did you start using recycled and regenerated materials?
A. Kim. Daughters of Summer’s ethos of environmental and social responsibility is the driving force behind all business decisions. It is important to the brand to find the most responsible materials and trims possible. This is a constant research process, as we can always find better and more responsible fabric and trim options and I’m currently testing new alternatives. I also made sure to avoid the use of plastic wherever possible and I designed recycled paper tags and packaging as well as using recycled polyester labels.
Q. HOC. Did anyone offer you any valuable business advice before you launched your successful business, Beyond Now Apparel?
A. Kim. I am constantly receiving valuable business advice. The best advice I was given was to start as small as possible and grow slowly and organically. I think it is also important as an entrepreneur to be open-minded and allow a business to evolve as you learn to navigate the industry and as you learn more about your customers and what they want.
Q. HOC. What piece of advice would you give someone working towards being a clothing designer?
A. Kim. Know who your customer is, what makes you different from everyone else, and tell a compelling story. Believe in yourself and believe in your vision!
Thank you for taking the time to answer all our #WomenWorldwide questions for House of Coco Magazine online.