Julie Hendel on designing the POND5 Swimsuit
Model: Emilie Axters / Photo: Jacob Skoubo
You are the founder of Hendel Studio. Could you share a little about your journey into swimwear design?
I've always harbored a deep-rooted passion for movement, having engaged in various sports and physical disciplines over time. As an Acroyoga instructor and a fashion design graduate from Copenhagen, I naturally gravitated towards sportswear design.
Swimwear, in particular, holds a special place in my heart. I draw inspiration from intricate details and the tactility of the fabrics and materials in order to create pieces that allow the body to move as freely as possible in the water while still maintaining sufficient coverage of the body, aesthetically and practically.
Pond is heavily influenced by the burgeoning culture of urban dipping in Copenhagen. What does urban dipping culture signify to you?
To me, urban dipping encapsulates the essence of summertime joy shared with friends. As someone who doesn’t appreciate cold weather, taking a plunge into the harbor after enduring a long, humid summer day is pure bliss. This post-workout dip - following an acroyoga session, a run, a rigorous workout or a sauna visit - is always better when shared with friends.
What inspired you to design swimwear specifically for women, and what was your creative process like?
In essence, I sought to create the perfect swimsuit that I'd want for myself. Being active, swimwear is a crucial element of my athletic wardrobe. I find ill-fitting swimsuits frustrating, which led me to obsessively focus on achieving the perfect fit, reworking prototypes multiple times. My objective was to create a simple, functional, and feminine piece with an open back, devoid of excessive detailing.
How do you tackle the challenge of designing for the female body, and what are some of the factors you consider?
The beauty of the female form lies in its diversity, which also presents a challenge in crafting a swimsuit that resonates with a broad audience. When drafting patterns for the swimsuit, I consider various aspects such as torso length, breast size, shoulder width, hip width, waist, and so on. Since custom tailoring each swimsuit isn't feasible, I utilize an average model as a reference for establishing the strap length, chest and hip cuts. My ambition is that the new suit will fit a broad range of body types.
How do you strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality when designing swimwear for women?
For me, aesthetics and functionality are intrinsically linked. I prioritize functionality initially, aiming to design a garment that is incredibly comfortable and practical. My design aesthetics naturally draw from sportswear influences, intertwined with an urban street style vibe.
How vital is inclusivity and diversity in women's swimwear design, and how do you endeavor to design pieces that cater to varying body types and preferences?
Inclusivity and diversity carry profound personal significance for me. Like many others, I've grappled with damaging body image perceptions and an unhealthy fixation on health and fitness in society.
My ultimate ambition as a designer is to create garments that flatter a multitude of body types, rather than perpetuating a singular body type ideal. Recognizing the uniqueness of every body, it's challenging to design clothes that fit everyone perfectly. However, therein lies the charm. I envision a world with less uniformity in clothing and more diversity that celebrates different body types.
What's your favored approach to accessorize or layer the swimsuit to curate various looks or styles?
I often wear my favourite swimsuit as a summer staple - be it at the beach, layered under a dress or as a standalone top - and I absolutely adore the allure of the bare back.
During the day, a skirt often complements my swimsuit. As evening falls and the air grows cooler, I switch to either my cargo pants or jeans. If I'm heading to a yoga session, I might even pair it with a set of tights.
Finally, could you share your top picks for eating, drinking, and dipping spots in Copenhagen?
La Bancina holds a special place in my heart for all three activities. They offer exquisite natural wines, delectable food, and arguably the coziest spot to take a dip in the water. Apart from this, I also enjoy frequenting Kajak-bar, Reffen Street Food, the Nordhavn quarter, and Amager Strandpark.