Erika Susperregui - RVCA x Sew'n Sing

Since the RVCA x Sew'n Sing post from last week, or rather the photograph we posted with it, started a heated discussion on Facebook, we asked Erika Susperregui, one of the founders of Sew'n Sing and the girl on the right on the photo in question, to tell her side of the story

Interview by Anna Langer, photos from www.followthevane.com (if not otherwise stated)

We are not scared of showing our bodies and we didn't really care about how we were gonna look...

Can you tell us a little bit about the image and how it was shot?

That's one of the images from the collaboration we did with RVCA for Spring 13. We both (Eli and Erika, Sew 'n Sing creators) spent a day with our friends Robin (modelling for the men range), Benjamin Jeanjean (photographing the shoot) and two more friends filming in a house in France. It was just a normal free day with friends, but wearing lots of different outfits to show the whole collection we made. We had a nice BBQ in the garden, drank some beers and had lots fun listening and playing some music while there were a few cameras capturing moments.

You're showing a lot of cleavage on that photo - was that on purpose?

That's a funny question, cos both swim pieces that we are wearing in that particular picture were just samples (not the final ones) and we both agreed that they needed some more fabric in the top and maybe the angle in the pic might make it look excessive!

Did you feel naked doing the shoot?

Naked? We designed those clothes because it's what we would wear... Maybe it's because we live by the beach, but we are confident enough to run around in a bikini...

Erika Susperregui - RVCA x Sew'n Sing

So you would walk around your house & friends dressed like in the shoot?

That's exactly what we were doing... We are not scared of showing our bodies and we didn't really care about how we were gonna look... We were just having fun!

We got a lot of comments on this photo of people stating that you look anorexic. Would you like to reply to that?

We shouldn't have to, because anorexia is a really serious problem that is characterized by low body weight, inappropriate eating habits, obsession with having a thin figure, and the fear of gaining weight. Those suffering from anorexia often view themselves as "too fat" even if they are already underweight. We were both born skinny (and we know it) so we obviously have low body weights and never had to care about it. Being from the Basque Country, a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and ocean, has made us grow up with an amazing gastronomical tradition and healthy lifestyles. And last, if we weren't confident with our bodies (as people who suffer from this disorder), we wouldn't model for our own shoots...

How did it make you feel to have strangers judge your health from your looks?

Criticizing is very easy... But people shouldn't judge others without knowing... Everybody is free to give their opinion and we would have been happy to listen to good or bad, but opinions. We knew that not everyone would like or understand this campaign, as it's a bit dark and controversial... But weren't expecting accusations of eating disorders or unhealthy looks, as we are both healthy fit surfers with an enormous gastronomical culture...

We knew that not everyone would like or understand this campaign, as it's a bit dark and controversial... But weren't expecting accusations of eating disorders or unhealthy looks

Erika Susperregui - RVCA x Sew'n Sing

Did you feel offended by being called "anorexic" by people who don't know you?

It's not really offending for many reasons; we are not anorexic, it comes from people that we don't know, this people obviously don't know anything about us... But it can be very tiring for a skinny person to hear continuous comments about their body or weight.

The photographer of the shoot was fellow RVCA advocate Benjamin Jeanjean, who you've known for a while. What's his work like?

We met Benj when we started our relationship with RVCA about two years ago. He is a good friend and an extremely talented artist. He's really open minded and is always looking for the unusual... Some of the reasons for us to really admire him and his art, his designs, drawings, shapes, style and photography.

How much were you involved in this particular photo shoot and the whole campaign?

We were totally involved from the very beggining! With the help of the RVCA team, we designed two patterns to create a men and women collection. As soon as we got the samples, we decided Benjamin should take the pictures, because as we just said, we love his unusual way of doing stuff. We were all a bit bored of watching videos of girls driving a van with their surfboards and wearing their bikinis at the beach (because we had also done it before)... So together with Benj, we got to the point of doing something different, finding a cool old frenchie house and hanging out there capturing moments...

And finally - what do you think about the infamous marketing rule "sex sells"?

Our aim wasn't doing a sexual campaign, actually we don't think it is. We were just having fun playing around and that's what came out. Glad for the ones who like it and for the ones that don't...

Photo from sewandsing.wordpress.com