Here we talk with Maja Krstic, the creator and founder behind Augustine Amsterdam; a niche premium swimwear brand that believes in sustainable slow-fashion and classic design that makes women feel good.
Tell us a little bit about your inspiration behind the brand and how to Augustine Amsterdam come about?
After working in fashion for 10 years in Dutch design companies and in fast fashion, and after having my first child, I decided I wanted to take a break to think about how best to use my creativity and experience to work on a new product within fashion. With my experience in the industry, and how things work, I decided I wanted to work under different conditions for my next project. I love fashion and it’s my passion, so I wanted to go back to using my creativity and look at products that I would want to wear myself, and that was lacking in the market. It was an eye-opener to take a break, and it gave me the inspiration to dive into something new, and also to create a product that I was looking for myself. When I decided on swimwear, it all came together.
Your focus on eco-friendly fabric has meant a focus on regenerated nylon – how did this come about?
To start a brand these days it is naïve to not begin with sustainable foundations, and in fashion, this begins with the fabric. Polyester is of course made of virgin plastic, and I wanted to find a way to use the circular economy and use recycled materials for my fabric as a start point. I started to do my research and dived into how plastic fabrics could be reclaimed from the ocean to provide a material to use on swimwear. I had never designed swimwear before, but I started from scratch and realized that I could use a fabric made from recycling fishermen’s nets that are found discarded. That is when I founded Augustine Amsterdam, in 2018, then launched after months of research in 2019.
Women’s swimwear is difficult to market to succeed in. What do you feel you did differently to set you apart as a successful premium brand?
If you look at the current market, you’ll find beautiful swimwear brands and you’ll find eco-conscious swimwear brands that are sustainable, but in my opinion, lacking the style. It’s usually one or another. My mission was to merge these two aspects and make a beautiful, well-made, perfectly fitting bikini/bathing suit that will serve each women’s confidence and at the same time, being produced in the least harmful way for people and the planet.
Your current collection is classic styles in tones that suit every woman. Is Augustine Amsterdam swimwear a purchase for life?
As a Slow fashion believer, I have made each style with the idea to last, both in design and quality. Also, the experience of receiving such a well-made product in beautiful plastic-free packaging adds value and makes it a special purchase.
I stand behind each product I’ve launched, but of course, there are favorites, such as Tank Bathing Suit or Bandeau Top combined with the High Waist Brief
Sustainable swimwear is a niche market, was this always part of the concept for Augustine Amsterdam?
Augustine is premium women’s swimwear brand, and of course, we are also sustainable, and we want to be transparent on everything from the production process to pricing, but I believe this is a necessity. I want people to choose our swimwear not necessarily based on us being sustainable, but on our quality, workmanship, and style. For me, each design is a piece of swimwear made to perfection. Starting from scratch as a business we knew we would be sustainable, so we didn’t have to make a compromise, and I would hope other new products launching have the same ethics. These days it is a necessity to be conscious about our fashion choices.
How do you decide on which products to create next, and what are the future plans for Augustine Amsterdam?
It means the world to me to get feedback and comments from the women who wear our swimwear. I feel like it is absolutely for women to feel good in. Of course, I have ambitious ideas and projects on the horizon for menswear, kidswear, beachwear, accessories, but for now, our focus is to create the best womenswear we can and to maintain quality, design, and customer service. I wanted to slow down my pace of life, especially as a mother of two children, so maybe there will be some collaborations in the future and further collections, but I am happy where we are right now.