Angelys Balek has sustainability in mind for her new collection of swimwear
In this day and age, fashion trends are increasingly identified by the young and fearless Gen Z. Clothing has become a tool for expressing mood and culture, with more focus on liberating the human body and less on coverage — nowadays it is not uncommon to see swimwear so skimpy they barely cover the minimum. However Angelys Balek is here to prove elegance and sophistication will never go out of style. Creative Director of her namesake brand that is also recognised as the biggest swimwear brand in Thailand by Vogue, Balek talks about her new collection and how this season of chic pieces were designed and crafted with sustainability in mind.
The newest collection, appropriately named “Baby Icing”, is inspired by Balek’ happy childhood memories and in particular, sugary birthday cakes in pastel colours. The line of new designs in various shades of blue, soft peachy blush and cheerful tangerine orange continues the brand’s aesthetic taste that is exquisitely demure and feminine, which also represents the designer’s personal preference in fashion: “Sophisticated, a little bit flirty and playful, also fun with a lot of colours.”
Angelys Balek’s new SS21 collection was designed with sustainability in mind
“I was very fortunate growing up in that I had the opportunity to experience various cultures through travel. These experiences, as well as reading glossy magazines, nurtured a passion for fashion at a very young age.” Balek recalls her journey to establishing her own brand. “I started to experiment by mixing/matching fashion styles and trends that expressed my personality. I started Angelys Balek to express my passion for arts and fashion.”
Since its establishment in New York in 2010, Angelys Balek as a fashion brand has evolved 4 years ago from a women’s apparel label to solely focusing on luxury swimwear that quickly gathered a loyal fanbase including celebrities and influencers. The transition was natural, as Balek tells me, “I am from Thailand and swimwear is part of our daily life”.
Angelys Balek, Creative Director of her namesake swimwear brand, talks fashion and sustainability
With her brand, Balek hopes to empower women to freely celebrate their individualism and confidence while revealing their feminine and flirtatious sides. Speaking of her inspiration for fashion in general, Balek tells me: “Nature has always been a major source of inspiration in my line – it inspires me to create hand-crafted artworks. Each piece also captures the artistic lifestyle the brand represents.”
Having grown up in Thailand, a country blessed with breathtakingly beautiful landscape, and currently living in Phuket by the scenic beaches, Balek has held sustainability close to heart since 2018. “I have seen first-handedly the increase in pollution from plastic waste that has plagued my nation and its beaches. Living close to the beach and witnessing the change in the natural environment makes me feel responsible to build the business in a way that will help clean and preserve the community.”
Angelys Balek swimwear
“Living sustainably goes hand in hand with living a more minimal lifestyle and it gives me a greater sense of purpose in my personal life. I’ve always wanted to help women feel beautiful and confident in their skin but to do it in an eco-friendly way is the cherry on top.” It is clear that sustainability is part of the brand’s ethos in both manufacturing and production process. Balek says: “I think we all can agree that this pandemic has given us the opportunity to slow down and reevaluate what is really important, and to me the answer I always come back to is our planet and providing a bountiful future for the generations to come.”
Going sustainable does not mean the styles have to be compromised. Balek is still very hands-on with her brand and usually designs three collections a year: Spring Summer, Autumn Winter, and Resort. This may not seem a lot, but different from many creative directors, she personally designs and produces roughly 100 pieces for each collection before selecting the final fabric for each design to be manufactured and sold on different platforms. In addition to its own website, Angelys Balek is currently available via a number of international retailers including FarFetch, Harvey Nichols, and Bloomingdales. The next SS21 collection is expected to go on sale around end of March, just in time for the early summer season.
Angelys Balek swimwear
“My inspiration for the next collection is Gustav Klimt,” Balek is also a keen art lover and collector, and enthuses when asked about the next collection: “The colour gold will be featured a lot throughout the collection and the pieces are inspired by the most beautiful women in his paintings.” It’s easy to sense her joy when talking about art, which she is clearly passionate about — one of Balek’s favorite memories as a designer was her first ever fashion show and art exhibition in her home city of Bangkok.
It seems in Balek’s world, everything is as easy and rosy as her designs. But does she ever face challenges in this business world like the rest of us?
“Many challenges were thrown my way during tough times, but I have not given up on building my business. The current pandemic has allowed me to refocus, working from home in Phuket and rediscovering what matters most. Namely, building a business that supports my community sustainably.” Balek also knows that she has the most solid network of support whenever she needs it: “My biggest supporters are my parents, and to be able to see their proud faces means the world to me.”
Angelys Balek’s swimwear
Usually when asked about who their ideal customer is, brands typically are fast to declare a blanket inclusivity. Not Balek. She is not afraid to voice her view on this specific point: “My ideal customer is someone that wants to feel feminine and confident about themselves without jeopardizing the environment. Consumerism is at its core the antithesis of sustainability, but there is a way to shop consciously. The customer that puts the planet’s needs before their own is the exact type of customer that I design for.”
And How would she describe herself? “Sweet, hardworking,” Balek stops to think for a moment, “and fun. Very good combo.” She concluded with a playful chuckle.
Fashion for me has always been associated with fun and fascination. Colours, texture, fabric, style, there is so much to experiment with and so much to explore. I love