BEHIND THE GIRL // HANALEI REPONTY
You’ve seen this Tahiti-born surfer-turned-model–turned–swimwear designer live a life of colour, drive, travel and success. Get up close and personal with this ocean loving girl and learn about her successes, passion and insight and see Behind the Girl with Faithfull.
Model by day, designer/business woman by night – tell us more about how you got to where you are now?
Since a very young age, I had always wanted to create something that I believed strongly in, which aligned with my core values of both aesthetic and functionality, as well as being environmentally conscious. After I graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Commerce and traveling the world as a surfer for Ripcurl since the age of 15 & being a model, I decided that I was ready to create my own company with a strong DNA to complement my activities and fulfil my dream of being an entrepreneur. My mother and I created Abysse in order to change the landscape of wetsuit companies, with the idea of bringing fashion and function into one being. Our goal was to accommodate the demand for a sports garment that will be able to remain durable during active lifestyles using the highest quality materials.
I wanted a name that reflected the allure of the ocean, in order for people to understand the core values that were instilled in the brand. My love for the ocean runs deep, and one of the primary purpose in creating Abysse was to have a brand that stood for the environment and that produced garments that were functionable and fashionable while bringing no harm to our planet, as all our products are plastic and petrolum free and made out of recycled materials.
Tell us about life growing up in the island paradise of Tahiti?
Life in Tahiti was amazing, I literally grew up on a tiny little paradise island. When I look back and think of my childhood, I am in awe. It gives me such a happy feeling in my heart to think of where I am from. The nature was everywhere, and you could not not fall in love with the crystal clear blue ocean. I grew up bare feet, and in bikinis, not really caring about anything else. I learnt that respect was one of the most important values; respect for yourself, respect for the land and for others. One of the things I love most about Tahiti is the people’s spirit. They are kind, smiling and so generous and they live a simple life close to the ocean. That feeling of happiness in simplicity goes everywhere around the world with me. I still hold it very close to my heart – once an island girl always an island girl.
What is your favourite past-time when not in the water?
Exploring. I love going on adventures of any sorts, but I got the traveling bug. There is no words to describe the feeling of landing in a city you have never been before… Its exhilarating. I find love in the simple things in life but anything adventurous will do.
If you could give one budding tip to anyone wanting to get into fashion – what would it be?
Follow your dreams and your guts & always believe in your vision. Find the right people to surround yourself with… and keep creating. Your mind is a pandora box.
Item you can’t leave the house without?
If I am going to Town: Chloe Bag = Iphone, Wallet, Miu Miu Sunglasses, PawPaw LipBalm, my Fiat Keys!
If I am going to the Beach: I usually carry a straw basket around because they are practical and I can pile everything in: Huge beach blanket, Sunscreen, Wax , Leash, Fin key, Monoi (Tahitian tanning oil), Sunglasses, Hat, Book of the moment (I love reading on the beach…), my Abysse Wetsuit & Bikini, Pareo, Camera, Lots of H20 or Coconut water and Dried Mangoes.
You must have traveled to some amazing locations, what has been a highlight of your career so far?
Yes, I am so lucky to have traveled the world. I am an island girl so anything tropical steals my heart, but I am also obsessed with history and art, which I love to experience. Everything single place I have ever been to, from Hawaii to Maldives to Australia to Bali to Costa Rica, to Puerto Rico to the Azores or Martinique, to every country in Europe, or to Mother Africa in Morocco has been mind blowing. They all are magnificent in their own way and I could not pick a favourite, because learning the culture of every single country has blown me away. One of my favourite trips was to the Lofoten islands in Norway, where I got to see the Northern Lights and feel like the smallest human on earth. Another one of my favourite trips was in Morocco as we drove through the country to end up in the middle of the Sahara desert, and camped. That was mind blowing.
Being a beach babe, where have you found your perfect paradise escape?
My favourite escape will always be home in Tahiti. It is where I feel the most myself. The water is crystal clear, the ocean is full of life, the waves are perfect. The sunsets go on for hours and I will never get enough of the generosity of the people.
What piece of clothing HAS to travel with you on your explorations?
A lot! Hehe.
Denim shorts,I am obsessed, Bikinis because I always up in the ocean, Oversized Shirts because they are so simple but work every time & are easy to wear around for any down time, easy dresses, because they are so easy to wear & a Vintage Straw Hat: to wear at the beach, on the boat, at the market…
What destination is next on your hit list?
That is always the question. There are so many places I would love to go.
India, Iceland, Greece, Patagonia, Cuba, anywhere in Africa… The list keeps on growing.
Favourite Faithfull piece to travel with?
I recently went to Hawaii and wore the Poppy Knit dress on the plane with a big oversized bomber…
It is so light and so comfy, and I knew that it would be perfect for the hawaiian weather once I landed!
What is your ideal office set up when deep in designing?
It has to be clean, clean clean so I can mess it up all over again!
I love writing lists, especially in my Moleskine book. Good pens: super important!
City or BEACH ESCAPE
COASTLINE or mountain
Modelling vs DESIGNING
BAREFOOT or high heels
Coffee or TEA
Sunrise or SUNSET
Thriller vs Comedy? BOTH!
SHOP HER TRAVEL ESSENTIALS