If you are a woman standing on the big cup size side you know all too well that finding comfortable undergarments that look flattering is no easy task. The difficulty rate is much higher when it comes to swimwear: all that weight, plus movement in water, sunbathing and sunscreen, affecting the fabric’s performance and subsequently your confidence.
Melbourne-based Sophia Argyropoulos has been struggling with this same reality from the very tender age of 10, but it wasn’t until last year that she decided to do something about it, not only to help herself but every other busty woman out there that has been struggling with finding the right support for the beach without compromising her style and activities.
Like many others, Sophia would spend hours looking for the right bathers – days even – being unable to match the bottoms with the bikini top or even find a one-piece that would offer enough support.
“Finding swimwear that fitted my smaller frame while still supporting my large bust was near impossible, and at the tender age of 10, it’s not what I wanted to spend my time thinking about,” Argyropoulos explains.
“As I became a teenager, things starting looking up. I wasn’t yet comfortable with my body but things made more sense as I was shaping into a women and my upper body wasn’t ‘just fat’. What wasn’t cool was bra shopping. Bra fitters would always say that the options in my bra size, despite only being a C cup at the time, were limited to the daggy granny bras. So, like any teen in my shoes, I made my mum promise to take me for a breast reduction when I turned 18, and continued struggling to find the perfect bras and bikinis.”
Argyropoulos would end up buying two bikinis in different sizes to create a matching set and upon entering adulthood she had come to terms with her reality, accepting her body. The fact that more women in her Greek family shared the same body type helped.
“I have my mum to thank for eventually coming around to my big bust,” she tells Neos Kosmos.
“Mum was always there for [me] and taught me to love myself and my body and encouraged me to be confident, and eventually, as I matured her message began to stick. I’ve embraced my body, and I want other women to do the same.”
With her, however, also ‘matured’ her 8FF-sized breasts as did the idea to launch her own swimwear label. Argyropoulos launched Raq at the beginning of 2018 starting with one modern minimal style, to test the waters.
Raq slowly entered the Australian market with a double strap halter neck black bikini that can be bought as a set or as separates; a staple perfect for active beach days and poolside lounging.
Argyropoulos goes on to stress that “just creating bigger cup sizes is not enough” as there are many shapes and variations affecting a cup size.
“The band sizes should also vary,” she insists.
Raq bikini top sizes currently range from an 8E to a 12G, ideal for those with a big chest and small frame, in an effort to fill that hole in the market for swimwear which actually fits in all the right places.
“There are only a few things more frustrating that being a small-framed girl with fuller breasts trying to find a set that fits you, without sagging or giving you a nip-slip,” Argyropoulos says.
“Somewhere along the way our demographic got left behind by brands. That’s why we created Raq, for stylish, active, busty women who want to feel confident and supported in a bikini.”
After only a few weeks on the market, Raq is already getting rave reviews in fashion magazines and on Instagram. Many influencers and bustier ladies around the world stormed the website to get their hands on a bikini as Sophia decided to cut shipping costs and allow a 30-day return policy.
“My bigger-sized friends and myself were very happy with the swimmers, the fit and durability,” she says, adding that it was important for her to take into consideration any unbiased feedback that came through.
Fortunately, all her clients, including some fuller-frame models that she approached to try her design, only had positive remarks to make, sharing their reviews on their personal social media platforms.
“Fashion Journal did a piece on us which is really exciting at this early stage of the brand. We had so many requests that we have sped up the process and are launching three more colours,” she goes on taking more pairs out of her black canvas bag. She asked me not to share what the new pieces will look like yet, but I can confirm she has put a lot of thought into the new colours, making sure they suit all skin tones no matter how pale or dark, while matching perfectly every shade in her Spring Summer 2018 capsule collection.
Her next big move includes going to Greece and launching the brand in time for the Greek summer as she wishes to build a bridge between the two countries, and draw inspiration that resonates with her Greek Australian identity. Greece, like Australia, has a strong beach culture which would help the new label continue to create swimwear all year long.
“It is very important for me to be able to spend enough time in Greece to strengthen my ties with my heritage and better understand the needs of Greek women. Women in Greece also have a very strong sense of style and have access to all the latest trends coming from Europe straight away; it is also a great gateway into a more international [reach]. I would love it if my brand would reach more women around the world,” she says.
“I want every girl to love their body when they wear my pieces and to be able to do all the things they want without worrying.”
It’s good to know someone’s got your back . . . and your rack.
For more, visit raqapparel.com