Worn by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, Hailey Bieber and Gabrielle Union, just to name a few, Australian label IIXIIST continues to make a splash on the international swimwear scene in a sea of competition. And that’s despite the C word [yes, we’re talking about Corona] and undergoing a name change – rebranding from Frankii Swim to IIXIIST earlier this year.
So just how has the brand managed to stay afloat and what methods has it used to continue to thrive despite a global epidemic, stiff competition, and a major rebrand? Here, we sit down with the IIXIIST brand founder Rebecca Klodinsky to find out everything about running a fashion business during Corona and whether or not the power of the celebrity still holds serious selling pull.
Firstly, congratulations on the rebrand of IIXIIST. Why did you decide to do this?
After a few years of behind the scenes back and forth legal issues with another company holding a similar name to Frankii, I was sick of existing in a flooded industry of Franks/Frankies/Frank. When I launched Frankii in 2012, the name was quirky – we were a free standing ‘Frankii’. Fast forward 8 years and the name was popping up everywhere. It was time to step out again and shake things up. This is when IIXIIST was born; a new name with depth and edge, and a representation of the brand’s evolution, never afraid to stand out or take a leap. Misspelled on purpose, the name questions how we all exist and is a reminder that things are ever-changing. A name that represents strength and questions boundaries, IIXIIST was inspired out of boldness and a limitless future.
Corona has obviously caused a hit on the fashion industry. How have you pivoted and adapted the business in order to negotiate this hit?
Absolutely. The world is completely different now. How people spend, how people communicate, how people translate information; and the retail industry is no exception. I am lucky we are able to weather the storm and see this through, many brands and businesses won’t be able to do this and it really upsets me to see doors close. As soon as the weight of the lockdowns started and people began losing their jobs, I knew I had to change everything. We edited our marketing campaigns instantly and our social media messaging shifted too. We had to adopt a new voice and not push sales on our audience. What worked before Corona won’t work now, and perhaps it won’t work again for a very long time. We stripped back the business facade and really amped up the human element behind IIXIIST.
You work with a lot of influencers. Has Corona affected their ability to create content?
To an extent, yes. Particularly the girls in the southern hemisphere. It’s coming into winter here and it’s been challenging for us to have to put a pause on local influencers and move offshore, we really wanted to support our country first .
Have you been able to keep producing content despite the restrictions? How have you managed to do this?
Yes! Thankfully we have been able to adjust systems accordingly so we can still produce content. Body count restrictions were implemented in our studio and I’m able to direct photoshoots via house party – which has proven to be very successful and really fun. Thank god for technology!
The brand has not only been worn by top influencers, but has also grabbed the attention of celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Hailey Bieber. How did you get the product to these girls?
I’m proud to say that I’ve never once paid for a celebrity endorsement; these have always been 100% organic. We get requests from the girls’ stylists all the time, we see the emails and we get back to them, it’s that simple. What really makes me happy is when the requests are accompanied by screenshots from our Instagram. When the first KKW request came through I remember thinking ‘wow, that’s really cool – Kim was on my Instagram page’.
When they wear the bikinis – does it have a serious impact on sales or has a celebrity endorsement lost a bit of its power in 2020?
I don’t think the power of celebrity will ever be lost. As soon as that post goes live, it creates instant hysteria online and we generally sell-out of the particular bikini within hours. This just really cements a brand. Once you have celebrity approval, your brand is weighted.
Just before you go, two last questions about IIXIIST. With so many new swimwear brands popping up on the market – what sets you apart?
IIXIIST is bold, we’re edgy; we’ve always been like this and we’re not going to change. For example, I was the first brand to use and market images of stretch marks in our swim campaigns. Promoting real life women has always been imperative to my business. I’ve never been one to stand in line and neither has my brand. IIXIIST is a little defiant and this speaks to our audience. It’s no fun to be like everyone else.
What’s coming up next for the brand?
Our first IIXIIST line is weeks away, new fresh colours and new styles. We will be adding another extension to the brand in the coming months but that’s still under wraps at the moment. Stay tuned!!