Designer, mother & bathing mermaid: Julia Diehl gets it all under one (sun) hat. After taking the courageous step of an emigrant to move from Germany to France, the bikini fashion designer lives her personal dream. She cleverly combines family idyll, her passion for fashion and her biggest hobby surfing. Her bikini collections are particularly fancy and sexy. We talked to the successful bikini designer about family, fashion & her work in paradise.
Julia Diehl’s oasis of calm: the sea
FIV: To start with, a few questions about your personality and your private life: What does a typical day in your everyday life look like?
Julia: I am woken up by 2 hungry surf groms way too early. When the wild ones are finally shipped off to kindergarten, my husband and I go surfing for 1-2 hours. After that, I look forward to spending the day in my studio. Between flowers and tons of fabrics and accessories, I create beautiful things. In the afternoon the kids come home and in the evening we usually go with the whole family again to the sea for a sunset surf and enjoy the fantastic sunset of South West France.
FIV: As a designer and mother you are exposed to stressful situations quite often, do you have a tip to keep a cool head?
Julia: In stressful situations I always make myself aware of how well we are doing and that one should not let oneself be stressed too much by little things.
FIV: What’s your favorite way to relax after long, stressful days?
Julia: My favourite place to be is by the sea. I go surfing or collect shells, because I love to stick shells on big mirrors. It’s like meditation for me and you need quite a lot of shells.
FIV: You are often on the road and stay for a long time in different places, so you surely miss your home, what makes your “home” for you? And where do you really feel at home?
Julia: When I’m on the road for a longer time, my husband and children are always with me, that’s the most important thing for me. When we are all together, everywhere is home for me.
FIV: What can you be happy with/ What makes you happy?
Julia: Hibiscus flowers and a good surf !
Sexy Vamp & Cute Hippie: Julia’s Bikini Styles
FIV: Now a few questions about styling, which is especially important in the fashion world: What are your fashion favorites that you would never want to miss in your wardrobe?
Julia: I love my old biker leather jacket and now I’m digging out my Levis jeans from the past. I basically don’t throw anything away, because everything comes back eventually. The lace dresses in lingerie look from my grandma combined with my beloved Stuart Weizmann overknee boots are my favorite right now.
FIV: Was fashion also an issue in your childhood?
Julia: Definitely. Even as a little girl I loved to make hats out of my mother’s shoulder pads. I also dressed up a lot, which I still do now with my bikinis. There is from the hula girl in bast bikini to the biker lady in black leather bikini actually everything. Depending on the mood sometimes Marilyn Monroe 1950 in St. Tropez or 1968 Hippie Woodstock Festival Look. I think on the beach you can dress more playful the whole mood is just looser and it’s fun to slip into roles.
Julia Diehl’s motto: Freedom & joy of life
FIV: Now we come to you as a designer: When and how did you start your career as a designer? What did you do professionally before?
Julia: I studied fashion design in Munich and Paris and then worked as a designer for Bogner. The longing for the French Atlantic coast, where I spent a lot of time as a child, made me break down my tents in Munich and move to Hossegor. There I worked some summers for Billabong, an Australian surf brand, and the winter months I travelled around the world looking for perfect waves.
FIV: How did you get the idea to found your label “Julia Diehl – Beach Couture” and to design bikini fashion?
Julia: I had the idea to start my own label on Maui, one of my surf destinations. I started sewing my own bikinis and experimented a lot with cuts. My girlfriends saw my creations while surfing and at the beach and then wanted custom bikinis too. I designed custom cuts for a wide variety of figures and suddenly had a bunch of female customers. It is a great satisfaction for me when a somewhat insecure customer comes to me, who doesn’t dare to try something different at first and then reaches for an unconventional bikini and looks amazing in it. In a properly fitting bikini you have firmer breasts and a firm butt!
FIV: What inspires you in your bikini collections? How would you describe your bikini fashion?
Julia: I am a Rock’n’Roll Mermaid and that’s what my collection looks like. I like to use unconventional materials like leather, silk, cotton and cotton lycra and I recycle vintage denim. In my collection there are always rock elements like nites and little guitars but also romantic elements like flowers and lace…. I love to play with contrasts. But the styles should also be functional and I discovered in a self-test that the leather bikinis are great for surfing. I would call my style bohemian rock couture.
FIV: Your bikini fashion incorporates elements of rock’n roll and the hippie era, how come? Are you a fan of the 60’s and 70’s?
Julia: The 50s 60s 70s 80s… are very inspiring times and there are endless topics that interest me and that I can draw from. I love the hippie sound of the 60s, but also rock and metal. Accordingly, my collections are versatile and never reduced to just one theme. My philosophy is whether leather bikini with fringes in the 68ger festival look or sporty one-piece in the neon style of the 80s, everything is allowed on the beach. By the way, there will be a hippie inspired crochet collection for spring 2016 with pants, dresses, ponchos and of course bikinis and swimsuits. Will be pretty cool !
FIV: What do you want to convey with your bikini collections?
Julia: Basically I don’t think about it that much. The lifestyle I live is probably what makes my collections special, because everything is authentic. Having the freedom to create what I want without guidelines is what I need to be creative. I can say I want to convey the feeling of freedom and joy in life. And the freedom to slip into a role with every bikini simply because it’s fun.
FIV: What do you like most about your job as a beach fashion designer?
Julia: To live in paradise by the sea, to be able to travel to Paris or New York in between to gather inspiration and to surround myself with positive happy people. The beach lifestyle is wonderful and gives me the energy to combine family and business perfectly!
FIV: You took a brave step, quit your job and left Germany: What advice would you give to aspiring designers for their career start?
Julia: I hear so often from people that they have always wanted to live somewhere else, or build something of their own, but that it is so difficult… Of course it is not always easy. And yes, it is exhausting to get up and leave your personal comfort zone. But I would still advise it to everyone, because the courage is worth it. If you love what you do, you’ll automatically be good at it and eventually succeed. For dispassionate people without stamina, however, it is not the right choice.
FIV: What are your plans for your professional future?
Julia: I let myself drift and look forward to what’s coming. I want to grow my label in a healthy way.
FIV: When do you launch a new collection and where do you present your collections?
Julia: As I have customers from Europe to Australia it is ‘the endless summer’ and I am constantly adding new products to my online shop. www.juliadiehl.com
FIV: A big thank you for this interview to you dear Julia!
Further information about Julia Diehl
Check out Julia’s new collection, The Rock ‘n Roll Mermaid, here.