Published in Style Seekers, October 2012
It started with an image. A picture of a girl on a rooftop in a lion-emblazoned one-piece against the washed-out blue of a summer sky. Going viral days after it reached the internet, the photograph sparked a curiosity about the picture’s creators as well as the swimsuit that somehow blurred the line between fashion, swimwear and art. Three years on, we’re still curious about Jeremy Somers and Indhra Chagoury.
The duo behind Sydney swimwear label We Are Handsome may have secured a global following since that picture was taken, but they’re still fiercely focused on what they do best. “Everything we do is about the imagery,” offers Somers, whose background is in photography. “I think that’s why we’ve been successful – because the imagery within our swimwear is so beautiful to look at.”
It’s impossible not to be mesmerised by We Are Handsome swimwear. Each collection features images that range from nostalgic and whimsical to just plain arresting – everything from hazy dreamscapes dotted with hot-air balloons and postcard-perfect alpine villages to zebras in the wild and tigresses mid-roar. And then there’s the matter of colour. Whether it’s a 50s-style bikini or a classic, scoop-backed one-piece, every swimsuit has an unmistakable, iridescent quality that adds an element of the surreal.
“We digitally print all our swimwear and Jeremy works on all the imagery so we can get the colours just right,” says Chagoury. “Secondly, we use really bright, shiny Italian Lycra – almost metallic, but not quite. We were one of the first brands to really embrace this technique.”
This risk has paid off in droves. We Are Handsome counts US retail giant Barneys and cult fashion emporium Colette among its international stockists and has been featured everywhere from The New York Times to French Vogue.
Although the pair are both inspired by travel, cities and fleeting moments, each takes a distinct creative approach. “We have very different ways of brainstorming. Because Jeremy is a photographer, he’ll see a beautiful image and say ‘let’s put this on a swimsuit.’ Because I’m a woman, I’ll see something beautiful like palm trees – and want to put it on a swimsuit,” she laughs. “I work from the inside out and Jeremy works from the outside in.”