Irvetta is the swimwear brand you need to know about.

Putting craftsmanship at the forefront, Ivretta aims to make swimwear pieces for the modern woman which evoke beauty and elegance. This combined with the brand’s commitment to using sustainable fabrics and ethical practices makes it one of the key brands redefining swimwear in the modern age.

Founded by London-based sisters Julie Whiteman and Jeje Hamze, the pair share with Emirates Woman the story behind their brand and how they aim to catapult their luxury ethical brand on a global scale.

How did your careers lead you to found Irvetta and what was that eureka moment?

JH: I come from a creative academic background and Julie comes from a legal background. In 2017, we both coincidently were working separately on our first business ideas. I was working on a multi-disciplinary collaborative platform whilst Julie was mapping out ideas for a swimwear label based on timeless designs. Career-wise we were on completely different pages but we both had the same passion, drive and ambition to build something spectacular. We both wanted to exceed the boundaries against what others thought was best for us. I discovered that my business model wasn’t viable, but I was still very eager to start my own business.

JW: I was working as a Paralegal, I enjoyed my job but never felt fulfilled. I loved the fashion and beauty space and really wanted to work for myself. I found it quite difficult working alone and I remember one evening Jeje came to my room and asked whether I wanted to join forces and build a swimwear label together. I immediately said ‘Yes’ and that was our eureka moment. It was an unexpected turn but the best decision we have ever made. Together we created Irvetta, with the team ever since then expanding to four sisters.

Irvetta Swimwear

How do you ensure sustainability constantly lies at the heart of the brand?

Irvetta means friends of the sea, so sustainability lies at the heart of our brand and is a pledge that is intrinsically intertwined into every product we produce. Our swimwear is designed to last, as it’s created using durable eco-friendly materials and complemented by sophisticated designs that can be worn year-on-year regardless of trends. This in turn promotes slow fashion and minimises the environmental impact at each stage of production. Our swimwear fabrics are certified as sustainable from the Product Environment Footprint, Oeko-Tex and Global Recycled Standard to ensure the longevity of both Irvetta swimwear and the world around us. Not only are our products developed to the highest environmental standards, but we also produce garments in minimal collections to encourage slow fashion. We also plant one tree for every swimwear order made on the Irvetta website. Our ready-to-wear collection is made from pure silk fabrics and they are produced by a small female-owned business in the United Kingdom to reduce Irvetta’s carbon emissions and support local enterprises. The ready-to-wear collection can be effortlessly paired with swimwear garments, creating a number of versatile ensembles to encourage ethical fashion choices and combat fast fashion trends. We donate one per cent of ready-to-wear profits to the Ocean Cleanup organisation. We continuously review our sustainability plan and find new and innovative ways to improve our practices because we understand the importance of collectively protecting our planet.

What is the core DNA of Irvetta?

JW: At the core of Irvetta’s DNA is the Irvetta Woman. Our ethos is all about making women feel empowered and we believe that every woman is beautiful and unique. Therefore, we created swimwear that is comfortable and enduring yet flattering. We offer a range of elegant swimwear styles in our Odyssey Collection, from minimal to full coverage fits that cater to a wider group of women. Our designs are timeless and sophisticated and can be worn year on year regardless of trends. Longevity and quality are extremely important to Jeje and me, and so we produce our swimwear in Italy, a region where craftsmanship and passion is second to none. It’s important for us to remain fashionable, sustainable and innovative whilst encouraging slow fashion by influencing our customers to invest in timeless, high quality and versatile pieces. Regardless of fashion trends, an Irvetta swimsuit never goes out of style. We are not just a brand, our mission is to empower, inspire, and listen to women globally. We do so by connecting with our consumers through our social media channels and our online magazine.

Irvetta founders

You take reference from nature as inspiration – tell us more?

Humans have always been drawn to and fascinated by nature, in particular, flowers. For us, a sustainable brand, we felt it was important to incorporate nature within our designs to reflect our love for the natural environment. This was the starting point for how Irvetta’s iconic peony blossom print was born. Nature can teach us a lot about resiliency and the Odyssey collection recalls the nature of a peony flower. These elegant and romantic flowers are actually very resilient and can hold a substantial weight of water. We were also drawn to the peony flower as it symbolises prosperity, love, and honour. We combined the peony flower with a geometric pattern – a reflection of a symbiotic relationship between nature and modernity. Together this symbolises the modern woman, who takes a stand to co-exist consciously with the natural environment. Living between nature and modernity is all about balance, which is living a modern life whilst caring for nature.

What has been the biggest hurdle since starting your own brand and how did you overcome it?

As a young brand, I think one of the biggest challenges was the impact the pandemic had on the business. During this difficult period, we knew that swimwear sales would drop for all swimwear brands. It was a sensitive time for everyone, but we used this time to reflect and offer support to our community. Even as the swimwear industry struggled, the pandemic did reveal some bright spots. We had the opportunity to really connect with our community as well as build new relationships and partnerships.

Which colourways and designs consistently drive sales?

JW: When working with our swimwear designer Jeje and I, intuitively put together a timeless collection with earthy tones and pink colourways. Our collection is truly timeless and year after year there will always be a style or colourway that will be popular and in demand. You can never go wrong with timeless designs! We tend to attract ‘Irvetta Women’, the modern woman who appreciates classically designed sustainable garments. This year our Scylla swimsuit and one-shoulder bandeau with briefs have been really popular. Last year our classic triangle, the Penelope bikini and the Arabella swimsuit were really in trend. These styles are all from the same Odyssey collection and are constantly in demand.

How do you approach client retention and client engagement?

For us, it’s all about creating high-quality products that our customers fall in love with as well as connecting with the community. As an eco-luxury swimwear brand, we focus on the quality, craftsmanship, and packaging of our products. Yet, having the perfect product doesn’t complete a brand. Building and retaining customer relationships and listening to what our customers want is of paramount importance to us. We continue to find new and exciting ways to engage with our customers. We do this through our online magazine, in which we not only publish interesting articles on fashion, beauty, and travel but also interview other founders, artists, and entrepreneurs. Listening to them and sharing their experiences and stories is really rewarding and invaluable for us both and our community. We have a lot of exciting and innovative ideas in the pipeline.


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Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration?

There are so many beautiful Instagram pages we draw inspiration from. Just to mention a few @daleedasoomar, @lana_.jpg, @rosiehw, @lefevrediary @hannawilperath. All these women have a unique and beautiful aesthetic. True entrepreneurs whose stories and experiences empower us every day.

What do you always carry with you when travelling?

Irvetta swimwear! Whether travelling to hot locations or cooler climate city trips we always enjoy the sea, pool or a spa experience in our swimwear. Now, we also always carry an Irvetta pure silk facemask – it’s easy on the skin, comfortable and of course, reusable. We’re also avid readers so we never forget to bring a couple of books to escape with.

With summer in the air, where would you like to escape to this year?

JH: We would love to escape to Sardinia, Italy. It is such a beautiful island surrounded by beautiful sea views, plus we both love Italian cuisine and culture. Our swimwear is made in Italy and we would love to reconnect with this region, especially since we haven’t been able to travel to Italy due to travel restrictions. The Irvetta sisters are planning a get-together trip to Sardinia. Jamila will be travelling from Dubai, Julie and I will be travelling from London with Souhaila and our newest family member baby Jacob. It’s the escape we have all been waiting for.

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Feature image: Instagram @irvettaswimwear