I always get excited about the brands, designers, and personalities that we feature here on Stylust but every now and then there is a concept that strikes me in a more personal way. It speaks to me in such a way that I feel as though the whole idea was conceived just for me. For Julia Church, that is exactly what she was going for when she created Nettle’s Tale, a unique swimwear line out of Vancouver, BC. Not to create it just for me (how awesome would that be?), but to create something that would make women everywhere feel like something was made just for them. This season Julia decided to work with a group of “everyday” Canadian women that inspired the collection, and the look book not only reflects the women’s sense of style but also their sense of being. What they love doing, their passions, and their needs. What I love most about Nettle’s Tale is the transparency. It doesn’t just claim to be a brand for woman of all ages, sizes, and shapes – using the concept of women empowerment as a marketing ploy. Julia has done her homework and her message is consistent, strong, and can be heard, seen, and felt without having to dig in too deep. I had the incredible honour to ask Julia a few questions about her new line, its message, and her love for shopping local.
It’s obvious where your inspiration stems from – you have a true passion for making women feel great about themselves and you’ve managed to do it in such a refreshing way. But please, indulge us. What is the story of Nettle’s Tale?
I am a Canadian woman through and through and my inspiration comes from that place: the environment, what we do in that environment, and the types of women it breeds. Pacific Northwest culture is underrepresented in the swimsuit industry, as well as Canadian women in general—not only what we demand from our swimwear, but also how diverse we are. Personally, I was tired of trying to fit my body into the cookie-cutter, tropical-destination approach to swimwear. So the concept of Nettle’s Tale was born.
The name also comes from the Pacific Northwest, as the nettle is native to our area. A little-known fact is that nettles only refrain from stinging while they are in bloom. I love this image for the women on our shop! They might feel the need to “sting” after being exposed to media, societal norms, etc. as a defense mechanism, but our swimwear makes them feel like little girls again…like they are blooming, carefree, and accepting.
Do you think that the notion of each piece being inspired by someone specific will carry through for seasons ahead?
Yes! Every swimsuit we design will be inspired by an everyday Canadian woman. This co-creation approach is at the heart of our company and what makes us unique. Our cuts and styles and even the functional requirements of our suits are not for the “masses,” therefore each design is not for every body, but it is for some woman’s body out there. That is who we make swimwear for: the individual woman who doesn’t personally identify with the mass-produced swimwear surrounding her.
What about the charitable aspect?
Absolutely. This is a final touch I wanted to add, to make the experience even more personalized for each design and the woman modelling it, as she gets to choose the charity supported by her suit’s profits. I believe entrepreneurs and corporations, being the wealth creators, have a responsibility to give back to the community and non-profits.
Have you always had a background in fashion?
I have loved fashion since I was a little girl, singing Shania Twain into a fake microphone. I started sewing my own Hallowe’en costumes, pillows, bags, tops…you name it. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum when it comes to style and I love tangibly executing creative ideas when they pop into my head. The ‘artist’ in me is alive and well, whether in performing improv comedy or designing swimsuits. I think each artistic experience I’ve tackled has inspired and informed others.
What is your ideal beach day and what are your must haves?
Okay, well I have to have my JJ Bean. On a hot day, the drink of choice would be an iced Americano. My mexican blanket, my sunnies, a frisbee, some good company, and definitely SPF 30! Then I wouldn’t mind being hand-delivered some London Fog Earnest Ice cream or a Johnny Pop either. I really love local—I think we should all be buying local. The product is such excellent quality and more importantly, the people behind the product are amazing!
Lastly, how do you see Nettle’s Tale growing and which direction are you hoping to take the business in?
I definitely see the design library growing. This excites me the most—for every woman to come to the shop and feel comfortable and welcomed, like there is something just for her. I am brimming with new design ideas. I hope women continue to connect with what I’m designing and come along for the ride as we develop swimwear together, based on our unique wants and needs.
I am also super excited for the pop-up shop July 29 – Aug 1 and eager to see if it’s something we will do more of in the future, or whether we will move into delivering a more unique online experience. Either way, I can’t wait to see where we are a year from now!