Swimwear designer Valerie Kloppers is on the rise. Her swimwear label – Sicilian Sunday – reminds you of the perfect summer day on Sicily. A lazy day on which everything is allowed, while looking fly AF – wearing Sicilian Sunday’s swim pieces. We talked to this young lady about her brand, childhood memories and the urge to express creativity.
Swimwear designer Valerie Kloppers started Sicilian Sunday when she felt the urge to do something more creative than living the average office life. Inspired by youth memories, Sicilian Sunday soon entered the swimwear scene. We talked to Kloppers about her background, the hunt for the perfect bikini and why we should cherish lazy summer days from our youth, especially those on which we were bored AF.
Swimwear designer Valerie Kloppers
To start: can you tell a bit about yourself?
“I’m from the south of the Netherlands, from a town with a rich history in textile production: Tilburg. The production is of course long gone, but you can still sense it in some parts of town. Despite this, I somehow knew I would move somewhere else after high school. Amsterdam maybe, or Paris, London, Milan.
And well, Amsterdam and Paris already happened!”
So you got in touch with fashion and textiles at a very young age. Do you have an entrepreneurial family who stimulated you to start a company for yourself?
“There are entrepreneurs in my family, but I actually never seriously thought of starting my own business until the very moment I started with Sicilian Sunday. I said to a friend last week “if you would say to me 1,5 years ago that I would start this business, I would have laughed in your face”.
I was quite nervous about telling my parents about it.. Once I told them my father said: “As a child you told me you wanted a vintage Volkswagen van, because it would fit clothing racks. I’ve known for years that you would start your own (fashion) business one day” – while I had no clue to be honest.”
That’s funny. Your parents know more about you than you’re aware of. So, what was the moment on which you decided to start Sicilian Sunday?
“It began with a restless feeling in the beginning of 2018. I was actually missing the tough days at Amsterdam Fashion Institute (where I studied Branding) – when my life consisted of developing concepts and projects. I missed the way creative thinking is able to challenge you, until it hurts!”
And besides this feeling, what inspired you to start?
“One of the best parts of the studies for me was discovering the idea and sensibility of the so-called Zeitgeist and how you can use this in Branding. It can come from anywhere, for example movies coming out in cinemas: what does a certain new movement in movies or songs say about us? About society?”
Kloppers continues: “I remember the film Call Me By Your Name had a part in it. The sweetness of summers in the 90s, when you could literally be deliciously bored all day for weeks in a row. It felt as a life before the constant distraction of our mobile phones.
Hanging around a lake or beach with your friends, talking about nothing and everything at the same time. Doing the exact same thing every day again, until summer ends. How sweet life feels when summer days seem to be endless.”
So you can say that the summer and Sicily inspired you.
“Also the beauty of Europe, being the holiday destination for almost all of us as European kids. Before exploring the rest of the world, we explored the same Italian, French, Spanish beach every year again and again. And that was perfectly fine.”
She adds: “I sometimes feel as if we have forgotten the beauty of our own continent, holding so many dear memories from the past. That’s where the initial concept began, I wanted to celebrate the memories we have of those childhood holidays. Actually I wanted to celebrate life itself more. And there is one country that knows how to celebrate life like no other: Italy.”
That sounds like an amazing childhood and a concept that is built on sweet memories. Is there a message you want to spread with your brand as well?
“You could say there are actually two messages within Sicilian Sunday. But I think it’s about time that this first message is seen as something obvious: the production process of fashion and retail and the violation of human rights within this industry. I can’t believe we still let this happen. It is my absolute goal to have a business that contributes – or even leads – to the much-needed change. This is one of the main reasons that I started this company. If you want to change something, you will have to learn about it first. And that’s what I have been doing everyday now.”
“What I also try to tell with Sicilian Sunday is: let’s celebrate life. The beauty of life is best found in the littlest things. Things that may seem unimportant, but in the end are the meaning of everything.
I try to tell this through the setting of my campaigns, the Sicilian pasta (I made myself) I served at the summer-store opening and short stories about my own moments, celebrating life; e.g. there’s a reason why the shiny dark blue bikini set is called Night Sky, if you know what I mean.”
And how does the perfect bikini look like?
“The perfect bikini is a bikini that makes you feel ‘that first warm spring day after winter’. In other words: it needs to make you feel magical, a bikini that you put on first thing in the morning and take off again in the shower at night. I love the saying: “at the end of a summer’s day, when your shower floor is covered with sand, it was a very good day”. This is exactly what summer feels like and how you should feel wearing a Sicilian Sunday bikini.”
Sounds great, like a good summer day should be. Then a bit more about yourself. What are you most proud of?
“I’m proud that I took the decision to go for it, despite all the doubts and challenges to come. I am also proud that I woke up very early for months to work on Sicilian Sunday before going to the office (I still had another full-time job back then). I’m also very proud of my close friends, supporting me in all different kinds of ways and of my boyfriend for his insane patience and everlasting love and believe in me. I couldn’t have done this without them.”
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
“I hope in 5 years Sicilian Sunday is known for being ‘the elegant brand of summer’, having all different kind of products to celebrate summer. Through my brand activities I would like to make a lot of people feel welcome in the brand’s celebration of life. I think the brand’s name lends itself for various types of activities and celebrations, so let’s do this!”
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