This week, I ask Claire from Stidston Swimwear and 1/2 of Flock London a few questions. Claire took a big leap over two years ago to pursue her passion and has successfully combined her drive, creativity, and love for travel into a dream career and business. Inspiring myself and many of our friends to carve a career on our own terms.
Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to make swimwear?
I grew up in Devon next to the sea, have always loved design and sewing, and have been making and repurposing my clothes since school. I used to work full time in health and social care as a Management Consultant, and although I loved my job, I always craved a creative outlet. Stidston Swimwear was born from one swimsuit that I made for myself, and grew quite organically. I really want to create a brand that was ethical and sustainable, but also fun. Sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be bland, and the more brands that create sustainable and ethically made clothes that appeal to the younger generations, the bigger the drive for change.
Velvet is an unusual swimwear fabric. Can you swim in the velvet, does it dry?
I was at a party in Ibiza and there was a girl in the pool in a mustard velvet swimsuit and I fell in love with the retro luxury feel of the velvet . It also works great as outerwear. The velvet swimsuits I’ve made have also had a lot of wear at parties and festivals paired with jeans and jackets. And yes, you can swim in it – its dries as quickly as standard swimwear Lycra!
Do you have a favourite Stidston design and why?
I love the Mazie swimsuit as it’s the perfect style for swimming and tanning. You can wear the straps multiple ways. It is a beach to daywear item, as it also works worn as a body with jeans.
Where is your favourite place to swim?
Wild swimming in Devon. I have a favourite walk, it takes me from my house all along the River Dart through fields and up to Dartington Gardens - there’s some beautiful swimming spots along that River. And every year I go camping with my friends on the coast in East Prawle, it is basic camping at its best, with the most beautiful secret coves with turquoise waters.
Tell us about your swimwear workshops. Do you have to be good at sewing? When is the next one?
I started teaching this year at Threadworks, a textiles studio that Lydia Higginson founded. I discovered Lydia through her Instagram Made My Wardrobe and she encouraged me to start running swimwear workshops.
You don’t need any sewing experience prior to the workshop. The course covers lots of useful sewing skills, including using an overlocker sewing machine on stretch fabrics. You learn how to copy and customise a swimwear pattern, and how to construct and finish a bikini or swimsuit.
I don’t have any more swimwear courses planned this year, but `I do offer private classes, and Lydia and I have a Kimono workshop starting this Thursday!
What do you love about living in Peckham?
I love the creativity, the sense of community, and that its constantly changing. Its that it feels like a destination and not a through way. Its vibrant, fun, and home.
You can shop the Stidston swimwear collection here.