With a Soho pop-up ready for business, Clash meets the ethical swimwear designer.

Names and faces are not – and Clash would suggest, should never – be the basis on which to form a label, however if you get a few influential ones sampling your garms, well that ain’t no bad thing.

With ladies like Susie Bubble, Foxes and Sharmadean Reid for fans then, Diana Auria’s label is a unique thing on multiple levels: ethical fashion that people genuinely gloat about. Edun aside – which co-incidentally has yet to clog up our Insta feeds – we can’t think of all that many others.

Aware of the stigma attached to, essentially, not wanting to disrupt the planet, Diana tells Clash, “With Auria, we want to prove that you can make something ethical whilst being innovative and fashion forward (and without using the words 'hemp’ or 'organic'). I want women to buy my swimwear because they like how it looks, feels, fits,” she says, offering that, “Being sustainable is an added extra bonus.”

However it’s not an issue she takes lightly, stating: “Ethical practices should be important to every member of the fashion industry. We all have a responsibility to control how much and know what we consume. The more transparency brands can offer in their sourcing, manufacturing, and design processes, the better.”

Launched in 2013 following four years on the Contour BA course at the London College of Fashion (a degree she reckons most people ‘don’t even know about’), and a project with Speedo involving inflatable cups, Auria today is the work of Diana and her business partner, the artist Margot Bowman.

One time roomies, Bowman proved the ‘perfect person’ to realise Auria’s vision, and hence the two have collaborated ever since. The most recent of which sees them interpret holidays, as the designer lets on: “The concept of our SS14 collection stemmed from airmail envelopes and old school postcards. It is called  'Wish You Were Here’, and the idea was that you could be on holiday and be the airmail letter or postcard, quite literally!”

Confessing her favourite stroke to be doggy paddle and ultimate pool the Marina Bay Sands Infinity pool in Singapore – “It is located 57 stories above ground and you feel like you are going to fall off the edge of the building!” – closer to home Auria last week launched a pop-up shop alongside nostalgia inspiring label, Tara Starlet.

Introduced by a mutual friend, Tara (real name Scott) and Diana, realised they both made their clothes in England (Auria’s from discarded fishing nets), and they both wanted to do a summer shop, and hey presto, the latter happened.

Housed at 36 Marshall Street (around the corner from Liberty, parallel to Carnaby Street), the temporary space’s moral high ground is further raised by its association with Integrate Bristol. “They are a great charity that works towards equality and integration,” we’re told, “they are doing a national campaign at the moment to end female genital mutilation and promote gender equality.”

On a somewhat lighter note, the store realises a dream for Diana, as she lets on, “I love meeting the customers and getting all the feedback. Also, because I have a swimwear brand it is really good for people to be able to come in and try things on. With the whole internet shopping culture it is hard to buy swimwear as you have to know how it fits your body.”

When she’s not doing her best Thelma Speirs impression (see here), Diana is currently prepping the label’s SS15 campaign, ready to present in the Esthetica showrooms at London Fashion Week. “We also have a really exciting collaboration that will be out soon!” she continues, unfortunately resisting any further spills.

Finishing up with a clarification of the Auria girl (read: a real girl who doesn’t take herself too seriously; “for future babes who know their worth”), we conclude that the aforementioned fan base fit the bill and beyond.

Until 17th August.

Words: Zoe Whitfield



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