This summer we launched a special collection of branded accessories with fashion brand Skinnydip London, who used Coca-Cola's heritage and iconic advertising to design iPhone covers, tote bags and headphones. In this interview we speak to James Gold (above), one of the co-founders, about how they launched the brand, approached the collaboration and what plans they have next for Skinnydip.
What’s the story behind the name Skinnydip?
We struggled for a long time trying to think of a name that reflected all of the values of the brand. When we came up with Skinnydip we all unanimously agreed that it was perfect. As a brand, we're all about being young, fun, unconventional and not really caring what people think. Skinnydip is a word that perfectly captures that philosophy.
How did the collaboration with Coca-Cola come about?
We wanted to collaborate with a really iconic and well-known brand that we could then twist on its head to make it our own - and there is no more iconic and well-known brand than Coca-Cola! So we felt it was a perfect fit.
What was the design process like?
It was long and, at times, quite stressful. But ultiamtely a lot of fun too! We went through more than 100 years of back catalogues of Coca-Cola branding and imagery. There was so much content to play and experiment with to try and find the right look. We are real perfectionists, so we kept re-designing the range until it felt right, but now we couldn't be happier with how its turned out.
Which item from the collection are you most pleased with?
My favourite piece of the collection is the silver mirror tote bag. Its such a simple concept, but it works so well. Its a classic tote shape, with the original iconic Coca-Cola logo and reflective silver faux leather. We love it!
In 2012, you successfully pitched for investment on BBC Two TV show Dragon’s Den. What’s the one thing you remember from that experience?
It was terrifying, but probably one of the best experiences we could have ever had back then. After 2.5 hours of being under that much pressure, you’re never nervous for another meeting! It taught us the benefits of being fully prepared. If we hadn't watched every single episode prior to going on, we never would have been able to answer all those questions the way we did.
Since then the brand has gone from strength to strength. What makes a successful business?
Knowing your brand identity and understanding your customer. We’re passionate at Skinnydip that every single item we design works for "our girl". We would never put our name on something that we're not proud of, and I think that aim of 100% perfection helps drive us forward. Also, not being afraid to do things different. Just because something has never been done before, it doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn't be done!
What recent trends have you seen in the fashion and tech space?
We try to focus on what we think looks and feels good, and what excites us. Our aim is to create products that everyone in our design studio goes crazy for, rather than focus on whether it fits a particular trend.
Who have you spotted wearing Skinnydip accessories?
We have lots of celebrity fans of the brand, which is truly amazing. Skinnydip has been spotted on Miley Cyrus, Kylie Jenner, Bella Thorne, Shay Mitchell, Elle Fanning, Little Mix and Millie Mackintosh - to name a few.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Our mentality was always that we wanted to try and build a brand. We wanted to give everything we could and see where we ended up. I think being brave enough to give something a go is the best piece of advice to give. If you have an idea, try and make it happen rather than never trying at all.
What else can we expect to see from the brand?
Skinnydip will be launching in new product categories including stationary, sunglasses and jewellery. We’re also looking at opening more stores, both in the UK and internationally.