Isidora The Label’s Helena Barroso Talks Feminist And Eco-Friendly Swimwear

Isidora the Label Founder Helena Barroso

Isidora The Label is one of the hottest up and coming swimwear labels right now. Not many people know the story behind how you founded it though! Can you tell us the story behind creating your brand?  

It was a beautiful, starry summer’s night, I was sitting in a small bar in a tiny Western Spanish town, and I had a few drinks with my cousins. Our light-hearted conversation turned to work, and we discussed the effects of the looming Global Financial Crisis. I had lost my job, but without too much difficulty managed to find another.

The situation was far worse for my cousin. After graduating high school, she and seven other women had invested in opening a small textile factory in the village. For years, business flourished, and they found themselves sewing for some of Spain’s retail giants. Almost immediately, after the GFC, they lost their work to other countries, which could offer lower prices because they paid their workers lower wages.

I have always been a believer in the ripple effect, a theory based on the understanding that we all have the capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse. I decided then that I wanted to make a positive change.

My aim was to bring attention to the critical social and environmental issues we are facing as a society. With Isidora The Label – an environmentally and economically sustainable swimwear line, I created aesthetically pleasing, eco-friendly swimmer which also fostered hope, confidence, and self-sufficiency for people at risk of social marginalisation.

How do micro-economies contribute to economic relief in rural communities? 

I made a conscious effort to select two rural factories in areas where work was scarce, and workers were at risk of being exploited by bigger corporations. At both factories, I work with and employ locals, who I ensure are being paid above-average wages. By employing locals and paying them fairly, the aim is to help create micro-economies within these communities. This helps the whole town. Workers who are being paid adequately are more likely to go on and spend their extra income at the local grocery store, and the grocery store owner is more likely to spend the extra income at a local hairdresser and so on. The injection of money creates constant circular cash flow and in turn, provides financial relief in these communities.

How important do you think it is for brands to have a mission?   

A brand’s mission is critical; it is a statement that outlines the fundamental beliefs and identity of the brand. For me, Isidora was a way to merge my need to create, with my desire to make a positive change.
We are on this journey of life together, why not make it as wonderful and positive as possible for each other. I hope more than anything to inspire people to reach their full potential and to feel they have the power to make a difference.
This mission underscores everything we do at Isidora, and in the way, I work with the factories and our production and distribution teams. I make an effort to be inclusive of everyone’s ideas and thoughts, often asking for opinions and suggestions on how we can improve certain styles or solve particular issues.

Using open lines of communication and a supportive approach has allowed everyone to become invested in Isidora in a way I could have never dreamed of.

Your designs have proved popular with style icons like Hailey Bieber, Kim, and Kourtney Kardashian and Elsa Pataky. Where do you draw inspiration from when designing?  

It has been extremely exciting and, frankly, overwhelming to see such influential women sporting Isidora swimwear. When designing the cuts of my swimwear, I am inspired by everyday women; I listen to the needs of my friends and try to create shapes for women like myself, who are perfectly, imperfect. I create pieces that are interchangeable because I understand that not everyone has the same body and respect that each woman has different needs when it comes to swimwear. Nothing inspires me more than hearing women tell me, “I love how your swimwear fits me; I feel amazingly sexy.”

Hayley baldwin choker
Hayley Bieber is among those who love the eco brand

How important is inclusivity and diversity in swimwear campaigns for you?  

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a multicultural environment where diversity and inclusivity were celebrated. So for me, it’s essential to be inclusive of all women. I think women, in general, are beautiful, and I love to promote confidence and boldness. I studied photography, so I take all my campaign photos, and I occasionally use models, but more often, I am inclined to shoot everyday women who I met via Instagram. I especially love the rare occasion I can convince friends to step in front of the camera.

How would you describe the Isidora woman?   

An Isidora woman loves to travel. She loves the sun and summertime adventures. She is socially and environmentally conscious and wants to help create positive change in the world. She is bold, she is brave, and she is perfectly imperfect!

Find out more about Isadora The Label here.

Written by Ruby Feneley

Ruby Feneley is The Carousel Beauty Editor. Her obsession with makeup and skincare started when she modelled in her teens. While she studied English Literature at Sydney University she pivoted from front to behind the camera – receiving her Diploma of Artistry and working as a makeup artist, assisting industry leaders across multiple top brands. In 2017, she moved to New York where she worked as a copywriter for celebrity children’s wear label Appaman Inc. Ruby is now combining her love of makeup and skincare with her passion for writing. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of makeup and skincare – she can spot a Nars lip from 30 feet and recommend skin creams and treatments from chemists to La Mer at a glance. She is always looking for the next big thing in beauty whether it’s an “unsung hero” product, a highlighter hack or a technological innovation to accelerate your anti-ageing regimen.

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