Genevieve was already an established Australian brand, with an emphasis on hosiery and lingerie, and only a small swimwear division, when Sonia Guarino acquired the brand four years ago. Moving into the role of creative designer for the brand was a natural step for Guarino who had grown up immersed in sewing and design. During childhood sick days spent at home and looking for something to do, Guarino learnt basic skills on a sewing machine - first making items such as aprons, and clothes for dolls, then moving on to create bikinis during her adolescence. It was the satisfaction of creating something tangible, and seeing a design go from an idea to a wearable product was what Guarino loved about the sewing and design process. Using patterns from Spotlight, Guarino began flexing her design muscles by modifying patterns to create more original garments. Guarino pursued her love of fashion design, completing study at Melbourne College of Fashion. When taking over the creative reins at Genevieve, it felt only natural for Guarino to return to her early love of swimwear design - now enabled by the technical training under her belt.
Genevieve has a solid bricks and mortar retailing base, with stockists throughout Australia and New Zealand. However, further expansion is on the horizon, with Guarino looking to expand in national and international markets. The recent growth in social media and e-commerce has not had much of an impact on Genevieve yet, owing to the nature of the products and complex needs of their consumers. While Guarino is busy building the brand’s online and social media presence, she is well aware of the inherent difficulties that come with retailing swimwear online. Depictions of the product’s fit and design are important, as the swimwear inevitably looks different on each consumer, and most Genevieve consumers are more comfortable trying on swimwear prior to purchase.
Guarino has also innovated Genevieve’s product design features - with an entire range designed to cater to customers who have undergone a mastectomy. The range is designed for women recovering from surgery, with specialist fastenings and cuts which flatter figures and offer special support and coverage with their mastectomy pockets. The designs are female-friendly, but eminently fun - Guarino’s printed designs offer a fashionable approach which is accessible to every woman, whether on the beach or in the pool.