ONE MINUTE WITH

FI THOMPSON

FI THOMPSON

" Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing your very own initial sketches on a piece of paper translate into a physical garment that you are solely responsible for"

What is your brand?

Kamba is a beach and swimwear brand, launching April ’17. Think bold colourways, simplicity of style and true Brit design. 

 

Describe your brand in 3 words?

Femininity with edge. 

 

How did it all start?

Kamba was born of a life long obsession with swimwear. A personal collection stretching the length of London sparked my initial decision to take the leap. That combined with a desire to pursue something I truly love. I wanted to take my industry insight and experience in marketing, sales and retail, into a role that is my passion.    


What's the best thing about designing and making your own products?

Seeing your ideas and thoughts come to life. Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing your very own initial sketches on a piece of paper translate into a physical garment that you are solely responsible for. It’s pretty nerve wracking and scary at times, but incredibly rewarding too. 

 


What’s your favourite fabric ?

It’s got to be our high shine luxe Italian fabric, a feature for all of our pieces. It’s a bi- elastic fabric, offering incredible fit with great resistance to chlorine and the sun. Its metallic hue looks amazing on the body (particularly in the sun) and the colourways are really vibrant. High shine is one of this years biggest trends and was prevalent across so many of the 2017 resort collections. 

 

What’s good design for you?

Functionality and aesthetic come hand in hand for me. Time spent working in retail has informed a vast amount of my design decisions. Working face to face with customers buying swimwear on a daily basis, you gain a great understanding of consumer challenges and desires. A huge amount of my time has been spent thinking about how to accentuate and flatter the female form in the best way. Incredible fit is everything, and this collection is a real celebration of the female bod. Each piece has its own personality, with the signature Kamba ruffle tying it all together. 


Where are Kamba products mades, how has that been? 

Kamba swimwear products are produced in Portugal, it is a huge hub for swimwear manufacturing of a very high quality so it was a natural draw for us. The search for a manufacturer was definitely the hardest part, you want to work with someone that you trust to deliver the quality and level of service that you expect (which is half the battle) but it's also difficult to get manufacturers to take you on, especially as a start up. I am also hoping to work with Supplycompass later this year as I branch into clothing, India has an incredibly vast offering for materials and manufacturing and I’m really excited to explore that with SC. 


What does quality mean to you?

A garment that has a long shelf life, endures wear and looks and feels great. Swimwear garments experience a whole lot more than your average clothing garment, its of huge importance that every element- from clasps and elastic, to thread and fabric- is resistant to chlorine, sun and sea. As well as being comfortable and well fitting. 

 

What have you bought recently that you'll think will really stand the test of time and you’ll still have in 5 years?
I recently brought a piece of clothing from an Italian born brand called Vivetta. My ongoing frill obsession was initially what drew me to the blouse but it is also of an incredible quality. It is a very delicate piece but the craftsmanship and detailed

embroidery/stitching is incredible and will no doubt stand the test of time. 


What’s next for you?

I am hoping to expand into beachwear later this year. Stepping away from your typical ideas of resort wear, focusing on unique styles that translate across many beach and ready to wear occasions. Think jumpsuits, floaty tops and post ocean dip jumpers. Of course while still incorporating our signature ruffle where we can! 


What brand is killing at the moment and why? Yolke, we love everything they represent and their focus on the ‘Yolke girls’ campaign. Their silk/elastane fabric we are totally in love with, perhaps we will be sporting some Kamba’s under Yolke’s this summer! 

Read more Interviews

 

www.kambaswimwear.com

@kambaswimwear