Meet The Makers: NUDE WEAR

"I can't recall a single moment in my young life when I wasn't busy designing, conceptualising or creating.." 

DENICKE CRONJE

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I recently had a chat with Maker Denicke Cronje, whose swimwear line NudeWear is making body-positive swim-wear. How does one do that? Read on.

Q: How did the idea of Nude Wear come about? How did you become a maker?

A: Nude Wear didn't initially start out as a swimwear brand. I wanted to create an inclusive platform for South African women to share their concerns and experiences. The concept organically started developing, and soon I was using fashion as a form of activism.
I can't recall a single moment in my young life when I wasn't busy designing, conceptualising or creating. My mind often feels like a hamster-wheel, I am constantly in the pursuit of creating and developing myself, and the brand.

Q: How important is fostering body positive imagery and wellness to you?

A: Through my interactions with women I quickly discovered that the relationship between 'self-acceptance' and success are undeniable and that many women measure their ability to succeed to their aesthetic qualities. Nude Wear attempts to create inclusive and intersectional dialogue within an image conscious and largely patriarchal society. I personally believe in a holistic approach to wellness. An approach, which focuses not only on physical wellbeing but also mental and emotional health.

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Q. What’s been your biggest learning curve so far?

A: Realizing that I can’t do everything myself -no matter how much I want to. The last year has forced me to take a step back and analyse what my personal strengths and weaknesses are, and that’s it’s perfectly ‘okay’ to ask for help. Creating swimwear is a lot more technical than one would imagine, I have a lot of mentors to thank.

 

"I can’t do everything myself -no matter how much I want to."

DENICKE CRONJE.

 

Q: What’s the best way to balance creativity and business?

A: This might sound cliché, but I continue to believe that if you’re passionate about your art, you can make a career out of it. Unfortunately, starting a business does require some commerce-based knowledge. Start off by creating a business plan (even if you’re the only one who will ever see it), this way you are able to identify your business goals and create a suitable strategy.

Use every opportunity to expand your business and marketing comprehension, do free online courses, go to seminars, ask to sit in on commerce lectures and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

Q: The best way to balance work and life?

A: Firstly, it’s important to realise that starting a new business will require a lot of extra time and effort. You can definitely expect a few all-nighters, early morning meetings and late night customer service enquiries. Even though it doesn’t seem all that important right now, taking time off to recharge is essential to the success of not only your business but also your personal development.

Maintaining a healthy balance is a daily struggle. I try to incorporate simple changes into my routine: going to bed an hour earlier, getting some fresh air when I’m feeling over- whelmed and making time to see my friends and family whenever I can.

Q: What's your best 'boss' moment?

A: The day I realised that I’m not “bossy” I am a boss.

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"Stop telling young women that they’re “bossy” and start telling them that they have leadership potential".

DENICKE CRONJE.

 

Q: Can women have it all or are we chasing an elusive rainbow?

A: I believe we can. It’s important to recognise that every person has his or her own desires and life goals. Yes, you can be a mother, businesswoman, student, partner, lover, artist. But always keep in mind that your unique journey is not, and will never be a representation of what “all women” want.

Q: Do you consider yourself a feminist? 

A: Definitely. I think there is a toxic misconception surrounding the term ‘feminism’. So let’s work through some terminology first: “fem·i·nism (noun) the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”. That’s it. It does not refer to the hatred of men, or the ideology that women are superior to men, it’s simply the belief that women should be treated equally to their male counterparts.

I try to advocate intersectional feminism in my personal capacity and through the brand, it is crucial that we recognise and respect women’s overlapping identities. In feminist discourse, we rarely question whether or not the perspective of women as a collective group is being accurately represented. In a South African context, one has to consider the lived experiences of women from diverse racial categories.

 

"I applaud the generations of women and activists who came before us, but there is still a lot that needs to be done."

DENICKE CRONJE.

 

Q: What would you be doing if you weren't running Nude Wear.

A: I’d probably be looking for other ways to address social inequalities.

Q: What's your favourite healthy snack?

A: Does carrot cake and fermented grape juice count? JK Baked Cinnamon Apple with Greek Yoghurt: Bake a green apple at 180°C (or microwave for 5-10 min), sprinkle some cinnamon, drizzle a bit of honey and serve warm with greek yoghurt.

You’ll thank me later.

Q: What's your workout routine?

A: I love weight training. It also has a huge list of health benefits (especially for women). These include: decreasing your risk of osteoporosis, reducing your risk of injury, it’s mood enhancing and it actually burns more calories -since it raises your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout.

P.S. Healthy is not a size.

Q: When are you your happiest?

A: At a dinner table, surrounded by friends and family.

Q: What is your self-care routine?

A: This might sound ridiculous, but I spend at least 20 minutes every day prepping my skin and applying makeup. It’s actually been proven that this seemingly insignificant daily routine can help relieve the symptoms of anxiety. For 20 minutes I get to sit down and focus on a single objective, it helps me clear my mind and prepare for the day ahead.

Q: Future plans for your brand?

A: We are constantly looking for opportunities to expand, develop and collaborate. We’re looking to magnify our core collection to be more inclusive as well as a wider range of swimwear options. No matter what the future holds, I’ll always put women first. 

YAAAAAAS! Love it all, check out Nude Wear now.

 

The Nude Wear campaign images: Photography: Kass Photography / Styling: Crystal Birch / Hair and MU: Nimrah Makeup

Models: Marciel Hopkins / Victoria Sainsbury / Terri LaneCrystal Africa / Gwen Fynn / Fiina Amorongo

Photography: Eye Poetry Photography