Designer Interview

By: FashWire
Jun 01, 2023 11:03 AM

What inspired you to name your brand?

Firstly, the name "Sunies" is a combination of two words: "sun" and "sandals." The sun is an important symbol of sustainability because it represents renewable energy and is a key driver of natural processes on Earth. By choosing this name, I wanted to highlight the importance of using sustainable materials and practices in our business to help protect our planet and preserve it for future generations.


Where do you find inspiration?

One of my main sources of inspiration is nature. The beauty and diversity of the natural world have always fascinated me, and I believe that nature provides endless inspiration for design.

When I'm out in nature, whether it's hiking in the mountains or walking along the beach, I take note of the colors, textures, and patterns that I see around me. I often take photos or make sketches of the natural elements that inspire me, such as the way the sunlight filters through the leaves of a tree or the way the waves create patterns in the sand.


“We believe that sustainability and fashion can go hand in hand, and we strive to offer sandals that are not only eco-friendly and vegan but also chic and stylish.”


What did the beginnings of Sunies look like?

It started with the inspiration of nature: butterflies, flowers, and the ocean. The design development and the tests on the material were done in parallel. In the shoe business and especially our brand and products, it was not a quick and easy process.

It took a long time to develop our sustainable material and more than a year in tests with the shoes.

Also, I realized that the women’s footwear business is mostly a man's world, believe it or not. We have been visiting companies in Italy, Taiwan, Brazil, and Portugal; all mostly overseen by men. Men who design women's shoes, men who produce them, and men who sell them. Unfortunately, there are very few women in this business.


What made you want to design sandals?

The idea for Sunies actually came to me while I was on holiday. I had packed a lot of shoes for my trip - flip-flops for the beach, elegant shoes for going out in the evening, and nice shoes for going to lunch. But depending on where you go on holiday, you can't really go everywhere with sandy, dirty flip-flops. And that's when the idea hit me - why don't we have something that's a little bit better than a flip-flop? Something that's practical, pretty, and good for the environment. One shoe that you could wear not just on holiday, but in your daily life and wear the whole day. Something practical that also looks good. I was just too tired of flip-flops for the water or Crocs for the garden... Sunies replaces both in a very elegant way.


Do you have a favorite piece that you have designed?

I love all the designs that we have at Sunies, but I must admit that the Flexi Butterfly model is one of my favorites. It’s a unique and elegant piece that really embodies the spirit of our brand - it’s both practical and stylish, you can wear it on a casual day out or a beach day during holidays. It’s made from our special material of natural and recyclable resources and the design features adjustable straps and heel support to ensure a snug fit.


How would you describe the style you aim for your brand?

At our sustainable sandals brand, we aim to create a style that is both elegant and versatile. We believe that sustainability and fashion can go hand in hand, and we strive to offer sandals that are not only eco-friendly and vegan but also chic and stylish.

Our water-resistant sandals are designed to be worn in a variety of different settings, from the beach to a night out on the town. We want our customers to feel confident and comfortable in their sandals, knowing that they are made from sustainable materials that are gentle to the environment.

Overall, our brand's style can be described as chic and timeless, with a focus on quality and craftsmanship. We believe that our sandals reflect our values - sustainability, quality, and style - and we're proud to offer a product that is both eco-friendly and fashionable.


How does sustainability play a role in your brand? What sustainable measures has Sunies taken to better the environment?

Sustainability plays a huge role in our brand. It is at the core of our values and mission, and we strive to reduce environmental impact and promote ethical practices in all aspects of our business.

We achieve this by using natural, sustainable materials, such as coconut fibers, bamboo, and sugar cane. In addition, we follow ethical production practices, which include fair wages, safe working conditions, and reducing waste. We ensure that our production processes are non-toxic and minimize water usage, and we recycle our materials whenever possible.

We also consider the end-of-life management of our products, which means that we make sure our sandals can be recycled, repurposed, or biodegraded at the end of their useful life.


What are some core values Sunies stands for?

Sunies stands for several core values that are central to our mission and vision. These values include:

Sustainability: We are committed to using sustainable materials and practices in everything we do, from the production of our sandals to the way we package and ship our products.

Veganism: We believe in the importance of animal welfare and do not use any animal products in our sandals. All our products are 100% vegan.

Style: We believe that sustainability and fashion can coexist, and we aim to create sandals that are both eco-friendly and stylish.

Quality: We believe in creating high-quality products that are made to last. Our sandals are crafted with care and attention to detail, using the best materials available.

Transparency: We believe in being open and honest about our production processes and materials. We want our customers to feel confident in their purchases and know that they are supporting a brand that aligns with their values.

Attention to detail: We carefully check our quality control from sustainable production and eco-friendly packing materials to client support 24/7.

Overall, these core values are the foundation of everything we do at Sunies, and we are committed to upholding them in all aspects of our business.


“Our brand's mission is to create beautiful, high-quality sandals while minimizing our impact on the environment and ensuring fair treatment of workers in our supply chain.”


What sets your brand apart from the rest?

I believe that what sets Sunies apart from the rest is our commitment to sustainability, quality, and style.

First and foremost, all our sandals are made of natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly materials like coconut fibers, sugar cane, bamboo, and salt. We are committed to minimizing our environmental impact and creating products that are both stylish and gentle on the planet.

In addition, we prioritize quality in everything we do. Our sandals are designed to last, and we use only the best materials to ensure that they are durable and comfortable.


Is it difficult to have a brand based in Austria? What are the advantages and challenges?

I can say that there are both advantages and challenges. Being located in the heart of Europe can provide easier access to customers across the continent. Austria has also a strong focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness, which aligns well with our brand values.

On the other hand, the market here may not be as large as in other countries, which can limit growth opportunities. All in all, while there are both advantages and challenges to having a brand based in Austria, we believe that our location has allowed us to create a strong foundation for our brand's values and focus on sustainability.


What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?

My one piece of advice for a new designer would be to focus on creating a unique and high-quality product that sets your brand apart from competitors. This can be achieved by researching the market, using sustainable materials, paying attention to details, and taking risks to be innovative in your designs. Follow your heart and dream high.


How has the fashion industry changed since you first started out?

Well, we launched Sunies in 2020, just before the pandemic started; this accelerated the shift toward online shopping. So, you need to have a strong online presence.

Also, the focus on sustainability increased and consumers are becoming more aware of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment and are looking for sustainable options.


If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?

Be prepared to adapt quickly to changes. The world and consumers are changing to more sustainable practices, and they know what quality is and what is not. Planning ahead is a big advantage. Having a great team to support your decisions is everything!


What should consumers expect to see next from Sunies?

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our latest collection, the Glossy Collection, which features stunning, vibrant colors perfect for the summer season. Additionally, we have added a new pattern to our Sea & Ocean slide collection, featuring intricate seashell and ocean star designs.

As a sustainable brand, we are committed to our goal of using 100% natural resources in our unique materials and are working tirelessly towards achieving this objective. We are also excited to share that a men's collection is currently in development, further expanding our offerings and reaching a wider audience. With these exciting developments, we look forward to a bright and promising future for Sunies!


What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?

Our commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. Our brand's mission is to create beautiful, high-quality sandals while minimizing our impact on the environment and ensuring fair treatment of workers in our supply chain. We strive to use eco-friendly materials and production methods and are constantly seeking ways to improve our sustainability practices. Ultimately, we hope to inspire other businesses to prioritize sustainability and ethical practices and to create a positive impact on the fashion industry as well as the planet.