Zealous /ˈze-ləs/ means to be filled with or to be inspired by intense enthusiasm [Synonyms: enthusiastic, passionate, eager] and when you meet Marie, it’s just that. She embodies her brand, which is striving for happiness that we find in mother nature - the ocean and the mountains.by Bec 13 December 2019
How did the brand begin?
I always loved to do handicraft – I made jewelry, printed on old t-shirts, sewed and even beaded tops. Just after graduating from school, I asked my grandma to teach me how to knit. The idea was to make a beanie for my friend’s birthday. Just for fun I wrote Zealous on a small label and sewed it onto the beanie. At his party I’d gotten my first orders for customized beanies. That’s how Zealous was born.
How did the brand evolve?
My life has changed constantly. Especially my studies of Textile Engineering in Hamburg opened new doors. On the one hand, it supplied me with rare textile knowledge, on the other hand I got attracted to Bali. I spent my semester abroad and did an internship on this incredible island. Gathering invaluable experiences, I just knew that there was something bigger out there to do after my studies.
Instead of beanies, I started focusing on street and surfwear. But I wanted to do it differently. From day one, I was keen to source the best fabrics of the finest quality and field test them.
The first collection included men’s and women’s wear. But I quickly recognized that my strengths were in the women’s section. That made me realign the product range, so that nowadays Zealous offers surfwear, apparel, accessories and lifestyle products for women. Whatever I did or decided on this journey, I always stayed true to myself and designed what I needed.
What is/are your sources of inspiration for your designs?
Definitely nature, as well as artworks and photography. I often see color combinations in nature or in illustrations and can imagine them looking good in a bikini too. Before starting the design process of a collection, I collect inspirations and color ideas over a period of at least 3 months. I sort those into different styles and stories before working on prints and illustrations by myself or other illustrators.
Bikini Adventures stocks the Ocean Collection. Just as the name indicates, we got inspired by the colours of the sea and tadaaa: all the new pieces come in dreamy Shades of Blue mixed with stripes, and are reversible to white, giving you two bikini’s in one! Like most of our surf bikinis, the recycled styles feature an embroidered anchor logo and have double outer fabric which makes it super stable and durable.
Shop Zealous Tops
As bottoms you can choose between a few styles: Our beloved Matahari Surf Bikini Bottoms creates the hottest looking bum with its scruntch in the back all while providing great coverage. You want your bum to see the sun? Then you will love the cheeky Brazilian Surf Bikini Bottoms! The bikini bottoms are a tighter fit, which is definitely good for surfing, but if you are between sizes, we recommend to go up a size.
Shop Zealous Bottoms
What makes Zealous unique and tell us why should someone buy Zealous swimwear?!?!
I’m confident that I’ve created one of the best surf bikini fits out there! As a Clothing Engineer, I have an eye for good fits and notice very quickly whether a bikini stays put in the surf or not. I put a lot of effort into details and ensuring to offer the best possible products to all Zealous women.
As I have always created the products that I haven’t found in regular surf shops, Zealous products are simply different and stand out next to common surf brands – cooler artworks, better fits, more sustainable!
I want to make women feel comfortable in the water, that’s why I’ve created all kinds of bikini styles from cheeky to moderate bottoms, flirty and playful tops to sportier versions, size XS to XL and Cup A to Cup G!
Sustainability is a huge part of your brand and manufacturing process. Can you tell us a bit more?
We cannot maintain our quality of life as human beings and the diversity of life on earth unless we embrace it and stop producing tons of waste. By using recycled fabrics in our collections, recycling office waste and donating to environmental solutions we want to make a positive impact and protect our environment. Locally, we organize beach clean ups to create awareness of our footprint and that personal actions matter, in order to establish a more sustainable way of doing business as part of the ecosystem.
We all love to be in the ocean. We as surfers and outdoorsy people appreciate and enjoy the raw beauty of nature. We as a brand put goods related to our passion on the market. Therefore it’s self-evident that we carry responsibility to protect what we love in every possible way. A few initiatives include:
- The ocean collection ♻ surf bikinis are made from 78% recycled fishing nets, saving tonnes of CO2 emissions and crude oil
- We reduce waste fabric by turning fabric leftovers into scrunchies that we giveaway as little presents to customers and friends
- We use biodegradable packaging
- We practices fair production in Bali, with every piece handmade by local workers. Regular factory checks ensures the seamstresses are working under good conditions.
- We will offset all our CO2 emissions of 2019!
- As a 1% for the Planet ® member, we donate 1% of our annual sales to environmental issues (in 2018 we’ve donated our 1% to Bye Bye Plastic Bags Bali who are fighting for the ban of single use plastic in Bali as well as stopping plastic trash to enter the ocean)
How did you get into surfing?
I’ve been snowboarding since I was 10 years old. Through this passion I got in touch with all the big snow and surf brands that I also worked for besides school and later university. Their image of traveling and free spirited surfer girls has been etched in my mind and since then I’ve been pursuing this lifestyle. It was my trip to Australia for a school exchange when I was 15, that I actually stood up on a surfboard for the first time in my life.
The ambition to become good at surfing and my zest for creativity have driven me this far to create a concept that suits both.
Where is your favourite place to surf and any tips?
Until just a short while ago, I would have answered Medewi in Bali. A very mellow wave which I loved to surf on my 9’0 and 6’4 Single Fins. But it’s become pretty crowded there lately and to me it’s not as magic anymore as a few years ago.
Nowadays, I love a sneaky little weekend trip to Lombok to surf the waves in the South! Also pretty mellow, and I basically surf whatever surfboard I can get from the rental shop, twinnie, malibu or shortboard.
What other bikini adventures do you love?
I’m always in for a snorkeling trip! I love being in the ocean, swimming and diving with manta rays and turtles and exploring coral reefs. So far, I can only dive about 6 metres deep, but I definitely want to improve my free diving in the future!
Also, I like fishing! I don’t do it as much as I would like, that’s probably due to my super small and basic kitchen in Bali. To go out early in the morning, catching your own food, cleaning and cooking it, makes it taste so much better than in a restaurant!!
Can you recall a travel experience off the beaten track and what made it so unique?
To be honest, I’ve been pretty lazy for the first few years in Bali while working super hard on building Zealous. So I haven’t explored as many parts as I wish I had. Buuut, last January, my partner and I travelled to Sumba, Indonesia. That was seriously off the beaten track, Google Maps didn’t work at all, we fell off the motorbike because the streets were so steep, explored hidden waterfalls and super remote villages, rode the motorbike at the beach to surf next to an abandoned harbor and pier as well as watching the most amazing sunsets! There were no restaurants, no traffic, no people. But friendly locals, traditional happenings to be witnessed and beautiful nature to be explored.
From Germany, can you tell us a local tip or special place for those travelling to the area?
Soooo many things! Haha! You can skip Frankfurt and travel to Hamburg instead. It’s a beautiful city with lots of different quarters. We have great museums and events happening! But I also like the Pergamon Museum in Berlin as well as the Jewish Museum where you can learn more about the German-Jewish history.
Last summer we’ve set out on a roadtrip to the South of Italy, which we absolutely loved! So if you’re more into summery trips, this might be for you. Lots of historical buildings and sites, like Pompeii and the Colosseum, can be visited here as well as going for gelato and boat cruises around Positano and Amalfi.