Growing up by the seaside, Melina Bernadini, the founder and designer of BIONDA, has always grounded her aesthetic sensibility within the environmental landscapes of her life and the world around her. Bernardini wanders through the gardens of art and imagination in an open and sustainable manner. Hence BIONDA’S debut collection traced the contours of her inner voice: from the outline of her silhouette to the very hands that were going to bind it. The world is hyper-connected. From the root of the trees to the seaweed that floats its way to the beach: nothing is completely separate.
It’s this connectivity of the world that led her to travel from coast to coast, all the way to the Atlantic ocean. The ocean beckoned her to South America, whilst her creativity ebbed and flowed with the waves of inspiration and knowledge. During a time where life was spent in a pair of shorts, flip flops, and bikinis, she discovered a culture that was different to what she once knew. She discovered that every woman she happened across, the laid-back hipster girls and the go-getter career women, donned distinctive textile and designs that appeared tailored to each unique body. Mesmerised by the variations of shapes, Bernardini was determined to bring this sense of diversity back to her home side of the ocean, inspiring her to launch her first collection of luxury swim and resort wear.
Locked in a little courtyard within the heart of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, at the start of the pandemic in 2020, Bernardini mused on the endless accents and designs she acquired on her extensive travels. She pondered on ways to connect BIONDA with her new learnings on what it means to be a woman of her time: free, diverse, timeless, always connected to her roots. This sense of connection would be the first step toward a more conscious approach to fashion. Coupled with Bernardini’s deliberate patience and design thinking: BIONDA’S core vision began taking shape.
The inception of Bernardini’s first designs embodies precise silhouettes that depicted a sophisticated style reminiscent of the 80s and 90s iconic French Riviera beach scene. She blended the Carioca Brazillian spirit that exhilarated her during her time in South America. Whilst navigating through her different options to bring these pieces to material life, she tried looking for places close to her home in Spain. But these places turned out to be too big, and communication too impersonal for all the BIONDA envisions in a sustainable, intimate future.
Thus, she found a small family owned atelier based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in which her swimwear collection began to flourish. Positively continuing her ethos of maintaining personality and connectivity in her work, she began to work in her friend’s small atelier in the Colombian lands of Santa Marta to create other garments. Her goal of creating handmade pieces with artisans and independent sourcing began to take effect. She still sources and produces her classic pieces in a similar fashion, such as her earring collection that is made from handmade and hand painted African Kazuri beads.
Bernardini’s essence of keeping in touch with our roots fused with BIONDA’S creation. This includes environmental and cultural roots, for without either we would not have fashion, design, aesthetic, or life. Mass production kills craftsmanship and the cultural traditions that are vital to self-expression. Only nurturing consumer culture destroys the environment, so working alongside conscious businesses has contributed greatly to BIONDA’S empathy and appreciation. To understand the power of one’s choice, paves the way for a more sustainable life.
So, BIONDA, what does it mean to be conscious? Here are five points surmising what the brand has learnt on their journey thus far, and will inevitably change over time like the smoothing of rocks on the sea bed. Consider them as the five main pillars of our vision.
1) Spend time in nature.
Keep coming back to the ocean and pay your respects to the world. To face what we are jeopardising illuminates what we should be protecting, and how.
2) Stay connected to your roots.
We like to know where things come from. We like to know how things were done before we became an industrial society and how our actions now impacts our planet. Since BIONDA is a vision made possible from people with strong roots, we’ve learnt the most regarding mindfulness and consciousness within sustainable fashion. So part of our profits will always find their way back to the families of the ateliers we work with.
We like to know where things come from, how things were done before we became an industrial society and, consequently, how this impacts our planet. Since it is from those people with strong roots that Bionda has learnt the most regarding consciousness and sustainability in fashion, part of the profits will also find their way back to the families of the ateliers we work with.
3) Less is more.
Bionda likes to do her maths, and less waste just seems to equate to more value for people, profit, and our planet.
4) Make it last.
Our signature collections promote long lasting impressions. Alongside automotive technology within the fashion industry's emphasis on fast thinking, fast changing is at the root of the extreme pressure we’re putting on our planet. The demands of global CO2 emissions are harming our water reserves. If we don’t slow down, life as we know it won’t last much longer. So let’s make sure the things we invest in last.
5) Keep learning, keep changing.
We’re all in this together. To be noble in this vision of economics, ecology, and the world we live in requires us to cooperate and educate ourselves in order to elevate. As a producer and supplier, we are constantly re-evaluating our actions, informing ourselves of the pros and cons, and committing to transparency with our customers. Together, we can lay the foundations for a more sustainable future.