Although Abysse had been on our radar, it was when they collaborated with Nixon our interest was piqued. Those watches – where function met fashion. We loved them! As we began to learn more about Abysse, we quickly realized there was a lot more under the surface of this brand.
The brand’s founder, Hanalei Reponty-Gudauskas, is a surfer, model, designer and we think fair to say, businesswoman too. Since the brand was founded in late 2014, its trajectory seems to just be going upward. This year alone, in addition to the collaboration with Nixon, the brand also debuted activewear. Entering a new category is not ever easy, although, as Reponty-Gudauskas shared with us, she believes Abysse’s DNA goes beyond the ocean and activewear is a category we will continue to see from the brand.
Before we get too far ahead in Abysse’s story, we need to highlight how the brand works to leverage recycled material – think discarded fishing nets – for both their swimwear and activewear lines. Finding the right fabric can be challenging for any fashion brand, and even more so when you set parameters on them as Reponty-Gudauskas did for her own brand.
“My primary goal is to make a garment that is fashionable, but that lasts while in the water while being made in a sustainable and ethical manner (which seems like a lot to ask at times),” Reponty-Gudauskas shared. “Our main obstacles have been finding the right factories to work with and finding the right fabrics has been a journey, but I believe that it is worth the while.”
Reponty-Gudauskas added, “Technology is always evolving, which makes recycled fabrics more and more available. We aim to keep pushing the sport and fashion worlds to have a more open mind about sustainability, as it is the way of the future.”
“My primary goal is to make a garment that is fashionable, but that lasts while in the water while being made in a sustainable and ethical manner.”
We also spoke about Reponty-Gudauskas’s collaboration with Nixon, especially as it produced a collection that across the MalenDyer offices, we all had a favorite piece. To us, that spoke to the power of this partnership, which as Reponty-Gudauskas will discuss, transcended genders too.
“It was absolutely amazing to partner up with Nixon and collaborate on something totally new,” Reponty-Gudauskas said. “Designing watches was a first, and my love for accessories was a huge input in these designs. I love this collaboration because I believe that Nixon and Abysse have in a sense, the same core values and goals. Both brands aim to create a product that is fashionable and functionable, in order to empower their customer and allow them to do what they love in and out of the ocean.”
Reponty-Gudauskas continued, “Putting our two ethos together was a blast. I got a lot of inspiration from vintage men’s diving watches, as I love playing with gender neutrality. Diving watches also are a perfect fit for what Abysse stands for, adding our timeless and chic twist made really made the collection come together. Designing watches was very fun, although different than a wetsuit. I always keep in mind my Abysse girls and what they would want to wear. Collaborations are very powerful, and I will take a lot forward from this partnership, especially all of the technical aspects I learned while designing a watch.”
As for the model in Reponty-Gudauskas, she admits to miss landing in a new place every week, although, she is thankful that with her roles as designer and businesswoman, she still gets the ability to travel. Also with these roles, she finds it rewarding to be able to make her own choices and decisions while sharing her vision with the world. She admits there has been a lot of work and tears along the way, but she finds pleasure in knowing she can say, “this is what I stands for” and when designing there “are no boundaries, the sky is the limit”. As for her role as a surfer, it seems her love of the ocean takes precedence above all others.
“I believe the ocean is my first love.”
“I believe the ocean is my first love,” Reponty-Gudauskas admitted. “There is not enough words to describe the feeling of swimming in its vast grandness and to surf among other marine animals. I fell in love with the ocean at a very early age. And, no matter what, the ocean puts you back in your rightful place and lifts your spirits or drowns your sorrows. My favorite thing to do is to share the ocean with my family and loved ones. There is a secret place in French Polynesia where the water is crystal clear, like in your dreams. My absolute favorite days are surfing with my family with big smiles on everyone’s faces while stingrays and baby reef sharks swim by. It is a dream.”
The Abysse story is still being written, as Reponty-Gudauskas is looking forward to expanding the brand’s size range to XL and looking to cater to different body types. She shared more than once how diversity was important to her. And, she believes everyone should have access to premium lines, no matter their shape.