Beth Richards sought to make a swimwear line that embodied a political ethos that made women comfortable in their bodies, practiced fair wages, and sustainable production. Her swimwear boasts UV protection in classic styles named after iconic women figures (Dolly Parton, Coco Chanel). Beth Richards' pieces have the versatility to incorporate them into your wardrobe away from the waves. Beth chats with VSP about her favourite places to travel, influential women, and the perfect summer's day.
What are some steps independent brands can make in order to have a sustainable, ethical company?
I thinking keeping your footprint as small as possible is the first step. Staying as local as possible to not be shipping products or yourselves around is a start. Keeping things lean is a first step. Then looking at fabric, dyes and partners that share these values.
Who is the woman you design for?
She's a lot like myself, which is the easy answer but I hope I can appeal to all women. It was my goal when building the brand that it didn't feel too much of this or that. Not too trendy, or unwearable. I would say she is somewhat modest as I don't make thong back bottoms, she likes a bit more coverage and to keep her things in place. I have always felt more is more and especially with a youth-driven commodity, adding a little sophistication goes a long way. That to me is sexy.
Where is one place that everyone needs to visit?
I love Portugal—the people are warm, the food is incredible and so fresh. Other fave destinations are Barcelona—the Sagrada Familia is a must-see. I have a lot of traveling on my list so I will have to keep this open-ended.
Who are some of your favourite women characters in films or novels that have influenced your work?
Good question, I think I relate more to the real ones. Kate Moss, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, all the way to Patti Smith were early influences. They are all authentic and effortlessly chic which I love. As for fictional characters Annie Hall, Uma Thurman as the Bride in Kill Bill, Thelma and Louise, Gwyneth Paltrow in Great Expectations and Chloe Sevigny in Kids and Boys Don't Cry are all characters that have things from style to swag that resonate. By far my fave book that I go to every couple of years is the Catcher in the Rye--I love Holden Caulfield, although not a woman, I love his honest cynicism but his hope for love and non-conformist approach that still feels relevant today. I love those who rebel, what can I say!
Describe the perfect summer's day
Pretty much the movie Call Me by Your Name from end to end. Being by water (pool, ocean or lake) when time doesn't matter, soft summer breeze with magazines and books near...pretty perfect I'd say.
Text by Marlowe Granados
Photos courtesy of Beth Richards