Style File: Carena West from Carena West Swim


Designer Carena West. Image supplied.

Carena West launched her eponymous swimwear label Carena West Swim at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia’s Swim show in 2014 and her playful style and unique prints have been gaining her label popularity ever since. Her New Zealand Fashion Week show this year saw her showcase New Zealand’s first burkini on the runway in keeping with Carena’s philosophy that flattering, fun swimwear should be accessible to every woman.

We caught up with Carena to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!

Tell us about your latest collection?
My summer 16/17 collection celebrates the grace, fluidity and empowerment of the modern female icon and is inspired by ballet dancer Misty Copeland. The combination of hand painted prints and organic colours juxtaposed with unexpected textures represents an untold strength and femininity.

What made you become a designer?
I have always been a creator – My first “design” memory was when I was about 6 or 7 years old, trying to fashion a pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers using two wine corks and some red glitter! Making and designing things is a part of my soul and I think that if I were unable to do so I would go crazy.

What inspires you?
Seeing strong women working to achieve their dreams (many of them my friends), the everyday world and my family.


Swimwear from Carena West’s summer 16/17 collection.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your brand?
My personal style is very laid back, but I do love to dress up every now and then. I believe this comes through in my brand with my swimwear being easy going but with a touch of luxe.

What is your all-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠time favourite purchase?
My cat Jeffery. He can be classed as a fashion accessory as I’m basically wearing his continually moulting fur every day!

What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
A pair of heels that go with everything and instantly dress up any outfit. My favourite are my nude Louboutin So Kate’s. Unfortunately they are looking a little worse for wear now (I am saving to get another pair shortly) but I can say without a doubt I have definitely got my money’s worth!

Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Honour the dress code. Other than that, all bets are off!
I am the fashion ambassador to the Auckland Racing Club which has a very strict dress code, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!


Swimwear from Carena West’s summer 16/17 collection.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Showing my Amal Suit (burkini) at NZ Fashion Week this year was a definite highlight, and something that I am very proud of.

What can’t you live without?
My family, my sewing machine and some good ole kiwi sunshine.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Speaking from experience I will never say never again when it comes to fashion!


Images supplied.

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