IT'S NOW COOL

GUIA & ISOTTA // REINA OLGA

Designer Interviews | Mar 30, 2019

If the sisters behind Reina Olga @reinaolga_beachwear were an emoji … they’d be the purple unicorn without a doubt!!! “A divine power & an emblem of divine presence.” This is Isotta & Guia Cleps to a tee. Larger than life characters who are on a mission to show the world their phenomenal style via their incredible swimwear. 

It takes guts & balls to take on the fashion world these days - especially on an international scale. You need a thick skin, a powerhouse approach & a whole lot of energy to make it from dawn to dusk day after day, season after season. Viewing any set backs or bumps along the road as fuel & force instead of a reason to pour a wine & admit defeat - is a brilliant quality to have & a such a refreshing perspective. The Clep sisters have that killer drive - and they will let nothing get in their way!  

Reina Olga @reinaolga_beachwear is a collection of swim that you’re bound to become addicted to. It’ll turn heads, make international covers & last the absolute distance. 

It’s Now Cool is ecstatic to welcome this design duo into the family & we’re so excited to share the spark & spunk that encompasses the two personalities below!

There are so many things to love about this brand, it's ridiculous! First of all, this slogan line is everything, “No bikini is ever too small, and no tooshie is ever too big" !! Love it. Tell us, who is the Reina Olga woman? 

Thank you so much!! Isotta came up with it! 

It’s difficult to pinpoint the Reina Olga woman, as we have noticed over time a growing diversity between our customers. I google our clients every once in a while and love the diversity, it keeps things inclusive and fresh :)   

For those who might not know, the powerhouse behind the brand it a sister duo! Going into business with family - did this decision come easily? Or was there a lot of talking first, about who would take charge of what?  

So I’m the pocket rocket (Guia) and Isotta is the cool, rational one. She proof reads all my important emails before I send something that could make someone inbox explode.  

So as you can see, we are pretty well balanced.  

The fact that Kourtney Kardashian has worn your swimwear, is an absolute a home run! How does press news like this come access your desk? And who would you love to see wearing Reina Olga next?  

That was pretty major, I’m still stoked about that :) We have the most incredible sister duo working on our press actually, we owe them the world. I would kill to see Naomi Campbell in some Reina Olga. 

Your spectacular designs are Italian made & the quality is unreal. How often to you travel over to meet your production team? And when in Italy, what else keeps you busy? Food, shopping, sights?!  

Why thank you very much! 

We produce everything close to Milan, and we go there about once a week. 

Our factory owner feeds us coffee and really nice cookies so we like to go there a lot. 

Italy is our home turf. We were raised in Lake Como so we are very well acquainted with Pasta, pizza and Great wine. 

We also love spending time in the alps as well as on the coasts in the summer. Italy ROCKS - if you haven’t been, you should come. For sure.   

I recently read a Vogue article where I learned that Reina Olga was born after one of the sisters was fired from a previous role. This is incredible!! How did you turn a negative experience into such a fabulous, life changing experience?! Tell us your secrets, please. 

Aaah yes that was me who got sacked (Guia). 

I had about USD15.000 coming my way from that job I got fired from and had to pick between trying to be a penny pincher till I found the next gig, OR, I could invest it in something that could either fail miserably or eventually turn into a fun job. 

I chose the latter.  

I did give myself a full 24 hours to cry in a dark room, feel extremely sorry for myself and eat the entire junk food section of grocery store next to my house (of course), before pulling it together and coming up with a plan. 

I speak Portuguese because I lived in São Paulo a few years before, I had a ton of airline miles, and figured Brazil made some great bikinis for little money. So I got my toosh on the first flight to Rio, Googled a factory on my way to the airport, and designed the first collection on my lunch break on the second day there. 

I guess the rest is history? 

Your leopards & pastel/sorbet colour palettes are so sweet, sexy & utterly divine. Are you designing what you guys personally want to wear to the beach - or do you take inspiration from other people, eras & places?  

Ok so here’s the truth. Every season we think “right. This is it. We have officially used up every idea we could possibly ever have. We better make millions with this one as there won’t be a next”. Our collections are inspired by a pure sense of panic. We spend months dealing with a lot of other stuff, a lot less creative, and then all of a sudden we are like “oh F*+~€{$}CK!! Sketches are due tomorrow!!” And somehow it all comes together.    

Where are you based at the moment? Do you share an office?  

Isotta is in Geneva (she has the cutest 7 month old boy who I’m totally in love with, and I live a little bit in Milan and a bit in St Moritz (Swiss alps). We have an office in Milan but mostly work from our laptops. 

When you're working together - paint us a picture of the office vibes. What are you wearing, what music is playing, are their snacks, coffess & magazines spilled across the desks?  

Ok so before Isotta went all adult, got married and had a kid, and before I moved to the Alps and became a mountain goat, a typical day together looked a little something like this… Both Dressed head to toe in black, Isotta looking like she came out of the coolest London rock band, me hoping to look like Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her (expectations vs reality: debatable) — sitting in Cernobbio at Hotel Regina Olga, drinking 5 coffees each and chain smoking. Brainstorming about all sorts of things.  

Life Now: Sweatpants, cashmere sweater (cuz we made it, baby!), no bra because we are independent women, converse and wild hair. Sitting in our parents garden or walking to the lake cafe pushing the stroller, still drinking coffee, no longer smoking. Still brainstorming. 

What has been your biggest "break" to date. A moment you each think back to & just pinch yourself thinking, "holy sh*t, look at what we've achieved!"  

I think it was a trade-show in Paris about 1 year ago: our booth was POPPIN!! We had buyers all over us and we were like “what the actual fuuuuxkcknfk”. We had 3 previous trade-show experiences, and they all ended in tears and six pack of cupcakes. Something shifted last year, and since then it’s been a different game.  

Your Instagram shows real women with real shapes, curves & even pregnant bellies! Reina Olga is size 1,2 and 3 and now also includes a One Size Fits All range too. How did you decide on the size structure & why?  

No one likes to buy a size LARGE (unless it’s for a hat, because that surely means you're extra smart). 

Reading the interviews with you girls on the Reina Olga website & scrolling through your Instagram - it's so clear that you two have a genius sense of humour! Swimwear is meant to be fun, liberating & free right?! What drives the fire in your belly in terms of growing & expanding the business behind the brand you've created?  

We can’t bare the thought of life (or a brand) with no sense of humour.  

Isotta is such a sneaky one, too. She looks all nice and proper but she comes up with THE FUNNIEST shit.  

It's Now Cool is so stocked to have you on board! Which other Australian swimwear designers are you guys loving?! 

US MORE!!!!!!!!!!!! We are obsessed with Josie and INC. It's such an honour to be back.  

Australia seems to have the most amazing fashion scene, it’s really amazing.  

I'm obsessed with With Jean & Realisation Par at the moment. All my more girly pieces are from either one of the two. 

 In 5 words, the Reina Olga swimwear brand is ...  

 Wild, funny, inclusive, colourful, LEOPARD. 

QUICK FIRE 

If you two guys were president of the world for a day, tell me the first thing you'd change?  

Priorities.   

Prior to your brand, what did you guys do for work? 

Guia: Strategy consultant for luxury brands .

Isotta: I’m (still) a program officer in maternal health. The majority of maternal deaths are preventable, and I work on a  project that advocates for the use of high quality essential life saving drugs in countries with a high maternal death rate.   

If there was a designer who reached out & said, "Girls! We desperately want to collaborate with Reina Olga for a capsule range!" Who would the dream designer be?  

Pucci!   

Which Instagram accounts do you think everyone should be following? Please tell me you guys follow @celestebarber ... I have a feeling you'd adore her!  

Omg I'm literally obsessed with Celeste.  

I regularly stalk @ELLAMCR as she has the most angelic voice and posts videos of her singing her songs. I'm absolutely in love with her.  

I also love @FUNKYSNOWBOARDS for my daily dose of snowboarding and hot boys   

When you're heading to the beach, the 5 things that are ALWAYS in your beach bag? 

Sunscreen (SPF50 for face & SPF30 for body), phone (eww gross I know!), ice-cream money, towel and sunglasses.

Talk to us about beauty. What products are you using & loving at the moment? 

Biologique Recherche all the way, baby.  Both Isotta and I have really sensitive skin (I struggled with psoriasis all my life till switching to Biologique Recherche), so we feel their range of products are perfect for us.    

Are you magazine/book or Podcast girls? 

Both! 

Based on the previous answer - what are you currently reading/watching/listening too?  

I’m currently reading The Dance Of Reality by Alejandro Jodorowsky.  

Both Isotta and I just finished binge watching Working Moms & Isotta decided she’ll be my boob specialist once I have kids... hehe   

You're obviously a dream team. Tell us the one thing that makes each of you absolutely unique? For example what are two qualities you don't share, but that make your working relationship a breeze?  

Isotta is so compassionate and inclusive, as well as very rational and long  sited.  

I'm more experimental and a bigger risk taker. So all that combined is pretty special, actually.  

 The brand goal for 2019 is to … 

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