As the temperatures rise and we find ourselves well and truly in beach season, we’re all reaching for our favourite pair of swimmers to hit the sea in. But choosing a swimsuit that’s both comfortable and makes us feel confident can be a bit of a challenge. Here in lies the ethos behind popular Aussie label Lahana Swim.
Founded in 2015 by Queensland sisters Ramana and Vrindy Benson, the label, which counts Kylie Jenner and Victoria Villarroel as fans, is all about making women feel liberated and powerful in their own skin—one scroll through their Insta and you’ll find women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities rocking their minimalistic designs with pure confidence. Their latest campaign, ‘Every body is a bikini body’ is making waves in the industry, opening up important conversations about body-shaming and self-acceptance and that’s something we can definitely get behind.
We caught up with the stylish siblings to chat about what inspires them, how they got the business off the ground and the power of social media.
have you always had a love of fashion, even from a young age?
Ramana: Yes always! Since I can remember I was always drawing designs in my sketch book.
Vrindy: Growing up in the Hare Krishna Religion I've always had a love for beautiful tones, prints and fabrics. And since I can remember I've been a shopaholic!
What inspired you both to create Lahana?
Ramana: Vrindy was the brain behind the idea and we both had skills the other didn’t.
Vrindy: I remember sitting on the plane returning to the Gold Coast from New Zealand, I was reading The Secret and feeling inspired to create a new reality for myself. I was so excited to get down to the ocean for some sunshine and a dip but couldn’t find a pair of swimmers to make me feel the way I wanted. That’s when I ran out to Ramana and said let’s start a swimwear business. My sister already owned a small clothing line and I knew her designs had the capacity to go global.
Did you do any courses or Study to help with designing?
Ramana: Yes, I studied fashion design and technology. Swim was a new design process for me, and we have definitely learnt a lot along the way trying to design and create textures and fabric that had not ever been done before.
Vrindy: I had to learn off Ramana, however, I taught myself how to use apps on my phone which is how I edited all the Lahana flat lays and content when we first started.
How did you initially get Lahana off the ground?
Ramana: We focused all our time and energy into Instagram. Vrindy and I worked long hours making sure we were uploading fresh content and interacting with everyone. It also helped that we were doing something unique that no one else was.
Vrindy: Instagram played a major role in the success of Lahana Swim. I spent from 6am in the morning to 10pm at night on the gram. Photos, interacting, creating content, organising collaborations; it was key! We got onto Instagram at the right time where collaborations were very influential.
Your latest campaign features women of different ethnicities and sizes, why is that so important to you both?
Ramana: It’s so important to us to spread body positivity now more than ever with social media influencing the way our minds think we should look. We see so many insecurities in the industry and we want to change that. We want to empower other women to love who they are and not compare themselves to others. We have such a big influence on social media and we only want to use it to make a better future for young girls around the world. We are here for our girl gang!
Vrindy: Our latest campaign holds such a beautiful place in our hearts. I get goose bumps every time I think about it. The message it sends about the importance of self-love and acceptance is massive. When we originally started Lahana I was a size eight and I admit I struggled designing for different body shapes other than my own. The past few years have been such a beautiful discovery period of all the different and wonderful body types.
What has been your biggest pinch me moment so far?
Ramana: That would have to be working on our campaign shoots. There is no other feeling like seeing the creations you have been working on for months come to life.
Vrindy: I always have the most amazing pinch me moments at our warehouse events. Creating this empire from our screens makes it so important to be able to see the impact we have on our tribe in person. Meeting the girls makes my heart so full.
What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome with the business?
Ramana: Lahana has grown so quickly and we have had to expand our team massively. The biggest hurdle was learning how to manage a team. We are lucky to have such amazing people around us to help us grow and learn from each other.
Vrindy: For me it was unexpectedly falling pregnant during a pivotal milestone in Lahana’s progression. I didn’t know how to step back and allow others to continue making magic happen. I feel so blessed how everything has worked out. It pushed us to expand our team and Lahana has never been so powerful.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
Ramana: There are many paths up the mountain. I have always been told to not follow another person’s path, always follow your own.
Vrindy: 5,4,3,2,1 GO. Whenever I have a tough task at hand or a hurdle I'm struggling to face, I chant this to myself because there is no time like the present. Just get it done!
What’s the best and toughest part about working with a sibling?
Ramana: The best part is that you get to work with your best friend, we have always been inseparable. We're super lucky if one of us needs a recharge day we can give that to each other. The toughest part about working together is that you never get to switch off. We need to remind ourselves to turn off and enjoy each other’s company.
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
Ramana: Don’t follow the trends, be the person who creates the trends. Don’t be afraid to do something different.
Vrindy: My advice is to firstly read ‘The Secret.’ Manifest what you would like to get out of becoming a designer and go for it!
Finally, what’s an average day like for you both?
8am: In office with emails and organising the team.
1pm: Team meeting and marketing strategies.
3pm: Social media posts and stories.
6pm: Gym and dinner.
8am: Coffee and walk along Rainbow Bay
11am: A mix of emails, meetings and social media.
1pm: Design and meetings.
3pm: Social media catch up.
6pm: Dinner and a podcast.
Image Credit: Lahan Swim