Blog 1612 Margaret Hermione 1

Margaret and Hermione: sustainable swimwear straight out of the sea

Thinking about how we (the human race) pollute our world it’s easy to feel very bad. Vienna based swimwear brand 'Margaret and Hermione' turn this immense pollution into something beautiful.

The design­er duo cre­ate unique and high qual­i­ty swim­suits using fab­ric made out of old fish­ing nets found in the ocean. The label pro­duces in Europe in a trans­par­ent envi­ron­ment under strict qual­i­ty con­trol, com­bin­ing a sus­tain­able, eco-friend­ly atti­tude that coun­ter­acts the often undis­cern­ing fash­ion stereo­type. They prove that the cliché of green cloth­ing being beige and bulky real­ly isn’t true, instead sell­ing col­or­ful, humor­ous biki­nis and swim­suits for every body type. Bar­bara Gölles (whose grandma’s name was Mar­garet) is respon­si­ble for every­thing design, her part­ner in crime Andrea Kol­lar (whose grand­ma was Hermione) illus­trates all the prints by hand. The two met dur­ing their stud­ies and direct­ly felt the con­nec­tion and the aim to do some­thing big­ger than clothing.

How impor­tant is fam­i­ly to you?
A: We both have a very close con­nec­tion to our fam­i­lies, although they don’t live in Vien­na. My fam­i­ly lives in Low­er Aus­tria, Barbara’s live in Styr­ia.
B: Both our par­ents are self-employed and run their own busi­ness. Our fam­i­lies are super proud of us.

What made you take the step to found your own brand?
A: Bar­bara and I first met dur­ing our stud­ies under Raf Simons at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Arts in Vien­na. After grad­u­at­ing, Bar­bara worked for Alexan­der McQueen in Lon­don and Mühlbauer Hat Man­u­fac­tur­ers in Vien­na. I worked as an inde­pen­dent illus­tra­tor. Begin­ning 2015 we both knew that it was the right time to found our own brand.

Blog 1612 Margaret Hermione

Why swimwear?
A: That’s sim­ple: I love to swim…
B: … and I love sum­mer but it was hard to find the right swimwear.

Tell us more about your unique fab­ric…
B: The raw mate­r­i­al for our designs are fish­ing nets which are no longer in use and are found float­ing in the sea or entan­gled in wrecks and reefs. Every year, thou­sands of sea crea­tures per­ish in derelict fish­ing nets. The nets are sub­se­quent­ly processed into yarn and final­ly into swimwear fab­rics. So our fab­ric comes direct­ly from the sea.

What made you real­ize that you can’t use tra­di­tion­al’ fab­rics any longer?
A: Bar­bara and I both know the impact the fash­ion indus­try is mak­ing on the world, the peo­ple who are work­ing in this indus­try and the envi­ron­ment. We are con­vinced that there are options and alter­na­tives in this indus­try to man­u­fac­ture respon­si­bly and with care.
B: All of our pro­duc­tion steps are car­ried out in trans­par­ent con­di­tions and qual­i­ty con­trol in the Euro­pean Union. Our sus­tain­able fab­ric is just one part of it.

What is the biggest prob­lem you’re fac­ing because of your choice to pro­duce fair­ly and sus­tain­ably?
The range of fab­rics and mate­ri­als is very lim­it­ed, the pro­duc­tion is more expen­sive and of course our prices are higher.

How do you imag­ine the future of sus­tain­able fash­ion?
Once you see, you can’t un-see. It’s a very long way to go, but we think that sus­tain­able fash­ion will be the future of fash­ion industry.

Blog 1612 Margaret Hermione 2

You make swimwear that suits every woman, how impor­tant is body-pos­i­tiv­i­ty in your work?
B: Women are very crit­i­cal towards their own bod­ies. So most of them don’t feel con­fi­dent wear­ing a biki­ni. We design biki­nis and swim­suits that fit many dif­fer­ent body types. We want women to feel con­fi­dent and beau­ti­ful while wear­ing our biki­nis, inde­pen­dent of any body-trends.

neubau eye­wear finds its cre­ative inspi­ra­tion in Vienna’s 7th dis­trict – where/​how do you find new ideas?
A: I guess liv­ing and talk­ing with peo­ple and of course with each oth­er.
B: It can be every­thing – just every­day situations.

As both of you are Vien­na based – what’s your favorite go-to place in the Neubau dis­trict?
A: I am addict­ed to Viet­namese cui­sine so I love to grab some Phở or Bo Bun at a very small Viet­namese restau­rant called Tiger in Burggasse.
B: It’s Galerie Zeit­los in Burggasse/​Kirchengasse. There you can have a look at all those beau­ti­ful design classics.

What makes this area spe­cial to you?
A: Neubau is super cen­tral and very easy to reach. There are all these beau­ti­ful small bars and restau­rants.
B: It’s just per­fect to hang out with friends.

Could you imag­ine leav­ing Vien­na to move to anoth­er city? If so, which one?
A: So far I haven’t found any city I had bet­ter times than here in Vien­na.
B: I love this place, so at the moment no.

Where to spend the next sum­mer hol­i­days?
A: I like to keep my sum­mer hol­i­days sim­ple. Swim­ming is essen­tial to me, so maybe Croa­t­ia.
B: I would love to go on hol­i­day now, cause I’m real­ly not a win­ter girl. In sum­mer near­ly every place is beautiful.

21 Dec 2016 · neubau eyewear