Founded by Guia Cleps and her sister Isotta, the Italian swimwear brand Reina Olga has been consistently delivering the hottest summer essentials since 2014. On May 25, Reina Olga teams up with supermodel Behati Prinsloo for the drop of its newest capsule collection in support of a good cause — Save The Rhino Namibia.
The new collection Reina Olga x Behati Prinsloo, modeled by no other than the Victoria’s Secret Angel herself, consists of sexy bikini sets and one piece designs that closely follow the brand’s cool-girl meets playful glamor aesthetics, and the entire proceeds will be donated to Save The Rhino Namibia (STR) — the charity which Prinsloo has been working with since 2019. I speak to Prinsloo and Guia Cleps to learn more.
Angela Lei: Guia, Reina Olga’s designs are absolutely to die for and loved by many — myself included — tell us a bit about how you started the line?
Guia Cleps (GC): Thank you so much for the kind words 🙂
The product and its story is very much in line with my personality: rebellious, cheeky, fun with a touch of moody. I started Reina Olga as a revenge project after being fired from a consultancy in fashion.
AL: Behati, how did you come across Reina Olga and why do you think it is the perfect partner to work with to raise awareness for Save The Rhino Namibia?
Behati Prinsloo (BP): Reina Olga is an old favorite of mine! The colors, patterns and silhouettes are very me. Aesthetically it’s super authentic and I love that it’s female owned. I also really appreciate their interest in Save The Rhino Namibia.
AL: Guia, what brought you to Save The Rhino Namibia? Tell us more about the launch and initiative.
GC: Behati and I spoke about collaborating for years. I had been wanting to offer my support to a great cause since the very early days, and Save The Rhino Namibia is exactly what I had been waiting for. It’s easy to partner with a big organization and donate proceeds, but you don’t know where it all goes so it removes the best part. STR is a smaller reality, so the difference one can make is immediate and tangible. The passion and continuous efforts that get put into the trust are extraordinary and absolutely admirable, for such an important cause — it was an inevitable partnership.
AL: Behati, as someone from Namibia, tell us more about your role at Ssve The Rhino Namibia and what you think we could all do for this particular cause.
BP: My involvement with Save The Rhino Namibia is something that is not only authentic to my roots, but a huge part of what I stand for. Animal conservation has been important to me since I was young, and the plight of endangered black rhinos in Namibia upsets me deeply, as it does for all animals. In order to get involved, it’s important to get educated on the matter. That’s why I spread awareness and educate the younger generations on some key facts. One of which is that rhino horn is made of keratin just like our fingernails are. There is a widespread myth that it has medicinal properties which needs to be debunked. Also, monthly donations help our conservation partners tremendously, especially with regard to providing the trackers on the ground with necessary gear. Donations can be made on the website www.savetherhino.org.
AL: Does having children affect your views on preserving our planet and being environmentally conscious? Does it evoke more a sense of urgency?
BP: Absolutely! I am so worried about the future of our planet. It’s so incredibly important that we teach our kids how to take care of the planet and live consciously. We also need older generations to realize change should happen now. I want my daughters and their friends to be able to enjoy nature and live well in the same way I have.
AL: Guia, what inspires your collection and does it reflect your personal style? How do you stay on-trend yet still stay true to the general aesthetics of your brand?
GC: Inspiration comes strictly from the last 24hr to deliver a new collection. Sadly not so romantic, but it’s the truth: I find there’s nothing more inspiring than a deadline. As the years go by, we as individuals and therefore our style evolves. The hardest part is to respect the evolution without forgetting your roots. I guess that’s the magic touch, but I don’t really know how to explain how it happens.
AL: Behati, having been a Victoria’s Secret Angel for so long, did you bring your views to the table and get involved in the design process?
BP: I am super involved in the design process. It’s been a collaborative effort through and through, we have been working on it for a long time. When COVID hit, we pressed pause, so I’m very excited to get this out and have more people get educated about the rhinos too.I can’t wait to see photos of girls all over wearing swimsuits from this partnership. Such a cool thing to be a part of. I feel so lucky.
AL: Guia, what’s next for Reina Olga and do you have further initiatives like this planned? What’s your view on today’s fashion industry and the topic of sustainability?
GC: This collaboration is absolutely the first of many to come. It’s such a great way to raise awareness and give financial support to causes close to our heart. It’s difficult for me to talk about the industry as I live in a bubble in the mountains and don’t even have instagram.
Regarding sustainability: I think people need to talk about it less, and simply do more to live a more sustainable life, run a business in a more sustainable way, and inspire the younger generation to care more about the future of our planet. I’m sick of brands throwing the word “sustainable” and “recycled” around like it’s a ticket to commercial success.
Reina Olga has been operating on what in my opinion are great ethical values since the very beginning. All our products are handmade in Italy in a small atelier run by 12 women, we use fabrics which are made and printed less than 50 miles from the atelier, we don’t use any form of single use plastic, and we only work with suppliers who can prove their efforts to be more sustainable.
We don’t brag about it — we just do it.
AL: As an independent brand and a female founder, what have you learned along the journey and do you have any advice for those wishing to follow your footsteps?
GC: The biggest lesson is that an idea is only as good as the team behind it.
There’s no “I” in team — it’s cheesy but it’s true. We didn’t just build a brand, we built a family. And that’s all that matters to me.
The other important lesson is to always trust your taste and instinct. Stay true to your roots. The world and the market are so huge, there will be enough people who will love what you do without the need to copy your competitors.
Find great partners who are way better than you at doing a bunch of stuff, unite, and CONQUER!
Reina Olga x Behati Prinsloo