subversive and uncompromising lingerie label marieyat launches swimwear

Follow Ronan McKenzie’s lens as the London-based underwear and loungewear label MARIEYAT confidently dives into swimwear for the first time.

by Steve Salter; photos by Ronan McKenzie
18 August 2017, 10:08am

"I stumbled upon MARIEYAT's imagery on Instagram and was instantly attracted to the brand," photographer and regular i-D contributor Ronan McKenzie explains over email. "I just hadn't seen many images of women that appreciated the female form without the general sexual undertone that underwear usually brings." From the moment its CSM-grad founder launched the label in 2013, MARIEYAT has cultivated a world of female empowerment: It's by women, for women. "I loved how MARIEYAT's women were being portrayed, and even more so knowing that all the pieces and collections have been made ethically and designed by a woman who knows how important feeling comfortable in your own skin is," Ronan adds. After quickly becoming friends, Ronan has since documented the brand's growing girl gang in an ongoing collaboration that takes us deep inside the MARIEYAT macrocosm.

"We wanted to create imagery with an emphasis on self-love, friendship and individuality," Marie explains. "We started out by offering an alternative style of undergarments compared to the existing underwear market. We wanted to create styles that were comfortable to wear everyday while being unconventional and rich in interesting details." This balance act between comfort and sensuality has been a continuous thread between each of the brand's first three collections which have all been showcased in off-schedule presentations.

"We pace ourselves on the process of making, creating a new collection once a year instead of seasonally," Marie notes. "By doing so we are able to get feedback and utilise this to develop our range of products." It's this desire to satisfy the needs of the women who continually inspire them that quietly and steadily drive MARIEYAT forward. "Ever since the first collection we have received a lot of feedback from friends and customers saying they wish some of the styles were also made in swimwear, some even wore the underwear to swim."

As Collection III found inspiration in Japan's female, free-diving Ama divers, it was the perfect moment to introduce a few swimwear pieces into the mix. "They are such a strong group of women that are incredibly hard working and passionate about their work. We feel that resonates a lot with modern women. In all of the images we researched, the women appeared completely at ease and contented. This is how I want the girls to feel when they are wearing my designs." Marie explains. "We have translated the two sets of our most popular styles into the swimwear. The one piece swimsuit is a practical piece with a strap detail that you can swim with."

Looking to show off the pieces functional qualities, the Ronan McKenzie-shot campaign follows Poppy Jean Jeanie to the white cliffs of Botany Bay on a typically grey and drizzly Great British summer day. "We had to cast girl that would be up for some climbing and instantly thought of Poppy as, not only does she look amazing in MARIEYAT, but she's just such a beautiful, confident, chilled girl, and I knew that if I asked her to climb up a cliff she'd be up it before I even finished the sentence," Ronan adds. "We hope these give a sense of strength and individuality," Marie muses. "Whether it is to achieve goals or to escape from the city, you always need to have your own time and listen to your body."

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