Designer Interviews | Dec 4, 2017

Having featured in the likes of Vogue, Harpers and Russh and designing custom pieces for fashion identities including Vogue Fashion Director Christine Centenera, FELLA has gone from strength to strength since launching 18 months ago! Being stocked in 40 international retailers, Fella has been worn by the likes of Emily Ratajkowski and Rummer Willis! Read up about what one half of Fella, Rosie Iffla has to say about all things swim!


Where did you come up with the name FELLA?
It came to my mind one day and thought it had a great ring to it. It has double syllables so it sticks in the mind easily. It’s also an Australian colloquial term and when placed upon a female swim brand I think it gives it that boyish playfulness.

What led you to the decision to launch your swimwear brand FELLA?
Tangy had always run her own womenswear brand and I was always in varying fashion roles. I guess we just got chatting about it (this chat lasted several years) and finally decided to make the idea a reality. It took a while but we got there!

You run FELLA as a partnership – what is it like working everyday with a friend in the business?
We do. It’s great but also extremely hard work, full of challenges and as partnerships are, full of compromise. It’s also hard because you go from hanging with your good mate on a social basis to spending every moment with them in a work capacity. It's emotional at times – it's quite like a marriage without the obvious benefits. On the upside however, partnerships mean you share the work load, you bring different strengths and it really is so nice to have someone else understand the hardships of starting up a new business.

Who is the FELLA girl?
The F E L L A. girl is definitely someone who loves to explore and travel, appreciates good quality and style and enjoys the finer details on her swimsuits.

Where has Fella been published?
Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Instyle, Highsnobriety, Vogue, Monster Children, Cleo, Catalogue, Pages Digital, Russh online.

Who has been the exciting person you have had wearing Fella?
We had model and actor Emily Ratajkowski wear our swim which was pretty cool, as well as Bruce Willis daughter Rummer Willis. Bloggers Tash and Devin from A Bikini A Day. In Australia we have had Jesinta Campbell, Montana Cox, Lara Bingle, Alexandra Spencer and Bambi Blythwood. We also custom made two swimsuits for Vogue Fashion Director Christine Centenera.

What has been one of your favourite FELLA styles of all time?
I guess our most iconic styles would have to be the Dylan, the MadMax, the Otis, the Lennox and the Finn bottom. It's pretty cool because I think they are quite distinctive and unique pieces to our range. Personally I am a pretty simple girl so my favourite is the lennox and the Otis duo.

If you could dress anyone in FELLA who would it be?
Oh god that’s a hard one. Would definitely love a few of the Victoria's Secret girls to wear our swim. Alexandra Ambrossio, Gisele, Candice and my ultimate would have to be Rosie Huntington-Whitley. What a babe! Great name too ;)

What is your favourite summer style?
This season my favourite Fella style is the Casanova top and Jasper bottom. A super flattering, simplistic style. Aside from F E L L A., my favourite summer style has to be an oversized cotton white embroided shirt, a pair of ripped low slung light denim ripped shorts with a pair of beautiful leather flat sandals.

Where is your favourite summer destination?
I really love the Amalfi Coast, particularly Positano and Capri. I think Italians have it down when it comes to eating and living well.

How would you describe FELLA in five words?
Sophisticated, refined, simplistic, detailed and tailored.

What do you think the most important thing is to remember when buying swimwear?
It is so important for a woman to feel comfortable in swimwear for obvious reasons; it really is the only time you will be showing the most of what you normally cover up to the public eye. A few rules to live by:

  • Covering up more doesn’t necessarily mean it looks better. A woman with a bigger behind doesn’t necessarily have to put a conservative bottom on. Often cheekier cut bottoms can be more flattering.
  • Padding doesn’t necessarily mean support. Support should come from good construction and not cheap make-do padding. I prefer an underwire and strap that is adjustable to give good shape to a bust.
  • Spend a little more on your swim, which will go a long way. Cheap swimwear often means bad lycras, bad fits and swimsuits you’ll chuck out in a few years because they have lost there shape. There are good reasons why higher-end brands charge more – and it's often because they have gone to great lengths to make the swimsuit fit as best as they can with beautiful feeling fabrics. Then you will feel much more confident when you strip those clothes off down at the beach!
  • Lastly – ask lots of questions to the supplier of the swim brand you are looking to purchase. Especially when it comes to sizing. We do custom made swimwear for this reason because every shape is different and standard sizing doesn’t cover a large portion of the population.

Do you have any exciting future plans for FELLA?
Yes we have a lot of exciting future plans! A bigger range, the possibility of expanding to a different category of apparel, expanding our manufacturing, expanding our global stockists, and a collaboration with two other brands. We are looking to do some business ventures outside of the swimwear business as well but still keeping in line with our brand identity. I can’t give away too much about this but watch this space!!

What is a quote or piece of advice you live by?
I don’t really have a quote but a piece of advice if you are starting something new; work hard pays off. Nothing truly worthy comes easily. You have to work hard to achieve great things and persistence and patience will always result in positive outcomes.

Summer is all about…
Early morning beach swims, balmy afternoons, sunset drinks, boat activities (if your from Western Australia!) and holidays!