Ripa Ripa's sustainable swimwear is made for Italian summers

Words by Alessandra Russo

5 Minute Read

Motivated by the aesthetics of the Mediterranean and the stylish Italian 60s, Ripa Ripa was founded in the northern city of Milan, Italy, by Anna Laura Hoefer and Oliviero Muzi-Falconi. Redefining the face of swimwear, they find inspiration from the Dolce Vita, the quintessential Italian lifestyle drawing from the country's famous art, cuisine and architecture, landscape and seaside.

Each Ripa Ripa piece is an ode to the skilled hands and generational know-how of Italian craftsmen and seamstresses, promising beautiful swim shorts and shirts that are conscious in their design, elegant in style and artisanal in their quality.

We sat down with Ripa Ripa's CEO and Founder Anna Laura to uncover what goes on behind the scene of this sartorial brand.

We love your bold and vibrant designs here at Bombinate, what inspires such creative patterns?

Our patterns are mostly hand-drawn, inspired by Italian everyday objects — Sicilian tiles, playing cards, Neapolitan vintage ties, red corals, and architectural elements, such as windows overlooking the sea. We want our collections to walk you through Ripa Ripa’s journey.

Quality and craftsmanship are values that we both share – can you tell us more about the manufacturing process and how important materials are for you?

We believe in quality over quantity. Owning one great, well-made product rather than many standardised, mass-produced goods. At Ripa Ripa, we take pride in promoting the local, sartorial heritage of Italian manufacturing. Each swim short and shirt is produced by a small atelier close to Naples that has decades of experience in cutting and sewing the finest tailor-made shirts. More importantly, we want to give our products a personality and make them unique through the hands of the people who make them.

Quality swimwear fabrics are rare to go by, synthetic fibres often have a plastic touch whilst cotton absorbs and retains moisture. We had a hard time sourcing high-quality suppliers and are very proud of the material we chose. We came across a mill that produces quick-drying synthetic fabric that is ring-spun and brushed, making it soft, look and feel like cotton. This raw weave is dyed and then printed with our exclusive designs.

For the tying-cord, we chose a nautical rope manufacturer just outside Milan that specialises in the production of traditional sailing boat cording. The drawstring is made from unbleached cotton that's double braided to reduce water absorption and weaved tightly to withstand the wear and tear of the sea. It's reminiscent of the old ropes used on vintage wooden sailing boats.

For the shirts we source a premium Italian linen, which grows softer and supple the more it gets worn. The buttons are all made out of mother of pearl, where each one is unique and tells its own story.

What about Ripa Ripa makes you proudest? Tell us of a moment when you thought "This is what I love doing!"

Ah, deciding on my proudest moment is pretty impossible, there are too many moments where I've thought "this is what I absolutely love doing". But to name a few, seeing strangers wearing Ripa Ripa at the beach on our travels. Opening the doors of our very first pop up in Milan in 2019 and seeing the community we have created over the years in store. The moments when we arrive at our atelier close to Naples, hearing the ascending sounds of the sewing machines, seeing patterned fabric transforming itself into swim shorts and jumping into endless hours of discussions on the length of a stitch with our seamstresses.

Your favourite Ripa Ripa piece and why?

I would say Pantelleria, one of our all-time classics — green like the Mediterranean bush, the dark red reminiscent of hot lava and the yellow of warm sun, are a combination of colours in a traditional Sicilian tile pattern which I absolutely adore. One of my newer favourites is Finestre sul mare, with its little windows overlooking the sea, worn with a Capri blue shirt. These pieces just immediately make you dream of l’estate italiana.

Camicia Elba Linen Shirt In Verde and Sabbia

So what's next on the travel itinerary, do you have a particular place you find inspiring or want to visit?

Italy, the Mediterranean seaside small towns like Lerici where several writers and painters spent years getting inspired, hidden gems which are unknown, an empty beach with a gentle breeze or a sailing boat. Porto Ercole in Tuscany also has a very special place in Ripa Ripa’s life, the first store to ever stock Ripa Ripa several years ago is there, our first clients sent us photos from these beaches and this year we shot our summer campaign there. We're hoping to visit Pantelleria soon too!

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