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Léa Daaboul is on a wellness and sustainability quest with her swimwear line

By FashionUnited

22 Aug 2022

Fashion |Interview

Image: leathelabel.com

Lebanon-born Léa Daaboul is on a sustainable fashion quest. The designer has gained buzz as an insider-favorite indie swimwear label focusing on eco-practices. In addition to her goal of making the fashion industry more sustainable, Daaboul is also yoga-certified and a wellness proponent. The designer and entrepreneur took a moment out of her busy schedule to speak with FashionUnited about why she decided to start her label, using Econyl fabrics, and the slow fashion movement.

What inspired you to launch a sustainable swimwear brand?

I grew up between the Mediterranean and the West and was brought up in an entrepreneurial family, so travel always plays a dominant role in my inspiration from the design process to shooting our campaigns. I am inspired by my travels and experiences, having lived around the world with an appreciation for culture, art, and style. Yoga also plays a large part, as I have been an instructor for many years now, something I am very passionate about. We currently manufacture responsibly in Bali, one of my preferred serene islands to unwind and recharge, a place where yoga, beach culture, and sustainable visions are widely common.

How do you ensure your line is sustainable?

To reduce our carbon footprint, we created all our Léa the Label premium swimwear with the highest luxe eco-friendly Italian fabrics in collaboration with Econyl. Econyl yarns are regenerated endless times, preserving the same quality and improving the elasticity and efficacy of the fabrics, essentially making our swimwear last for seasons on end. All our swimsuits are sustainable and created from post and pre-consumer waste. Our resort ready-to-wear and sarongs are created from natural, biodegradable, and certified organic fabrics.

How did you make the transition from buyer to a designer?

I have always been a designer, working in buying and sales was a transition to learn different parts of the business to eventually apply those skills to the brand I wanted to build.

How did you end up collaborating with Econyl?

As I travel to Bali often, where sustainable visions are widely common, I found myself researching organizations that support protecting our oceans, and stumbled upon suppliers and manufacturers who focus on sustainability and carry eco-friendly fabrics.

What does slow fashion mean to you?

There is so much pressure for designers to launch their greatest collection season after season. It’s always challenging being a slower and more emerging brand in a fast-moving industry. As the brand evolves, it’s a priority to take a step back, slow down and stay true to yourself to maintain the ethos of the brand and allow room for creativity and inspiration. We believe in quality over quantity.

Fashion is growing rapidly, and new collections are created weekly. While this inexpensively increases brand profits, the amount of waste is substantial. Our concept is more focused on supporting the slow fashion movement with minimal and timeless collections, and avoiding fast fashion and mass production to allow more time for creativity and construction. We want to focus more on ethical fashion, using the highest luxury eco-friendly Italian fabrics for a reasonable price, and offer staple and unique pieces to ensure our consumers that their swimwear is still durable and in style for seasons on end. These timeless designs can also be worn from day to night, from beach to resort, and mix and matched from season to season. While taking a more positive approach to sustainability, we focus on less waste and environmental concerns and help reduce toxic working conditions.

How many collections do you produce per year?

1 main collection and 1 relaunch of our core swim in new colors.

What are your biggest markets?

We have a diverse market. United States, UK, Europe, and Dubai.

Header 2Do you take a direct-to-consumer or wholesale approach to your business, and why to which?

We are mainly focused on direct-to-consumer as we carry core collections. However, we are currently stocked at Selfridges, a retailer that strongly shares and understands our values as a sustainable brand that believes in supporting the slow fashion movement. We are always open to partners who share the same ethos.

Let’s talk about some of your interests outside of fashion. How did you find your love of yoga?

I love sports and have played sports my entire life. Yoga came to me at a time when I was moving countries and needed an activity to feel grounded. As I also travel to Bali often, I became more and more attached to the practice.

How does your wellness work tie back into your fashion work?

Practicing yoga and Pilates made me more health conscious. I usually tend to gravitate more towards a healthier and organic lifestyle, even skincare. For example, we love to support small family businesses who share our same values; we recently created a gift with purchase of natural soaps made by local artisans in Lebanon. Léa the Label is not just a swim and resort brand, it’s a lifestyle.

How do you think the industry can work to counteract greenwashing?

I believe that everyone in our industry should have brand awareness and do proper research about who they dive into business with, whether they are suppliers, photographers, pr agencies, etc. to make sure they are supporting original businesses, as many brands are also being copied by companies focused on fast-fashion. Sustainable visions and supply are more common now, and they are available to help brands and consumers make small changes that could improve their carbon footprint.

Léa Daaboul
Léa the Label