By Lila Bruandet
It all starts with one observation: sunbathing in a bathing suit, it leaves marks. Logical so far, but unpleasant nonetheless.
Luc Dessauvages and his wife, Alexandra, two from Cannes, then decided to remedy this with their tan-through swimwear brand : Bikunu.
“My Little Deer”
We are in 2015. Luc and Alexandra regularly organize excursions in Polynesian canoes to the Lérins Islands, opposite Cannes (Alpes Maritimes). Hours exposed to the sun, in a bathing suit.
“We were faced with tan marks,” explains Luc. ” Me, I was white at the level of my swimming shorts, and my wife of her bikini. So I started to call him my little deer, in reference to the white triangle that these animals have at the level of the buttocks. »
From this nickname is born the desire to find swimsuits that would leave no mark. After much inconclusive research, the couple decided to create their own transtanning model, in their image.
A patented technology
The Bikunu project, because “when we wear our jersey, it’s as if we were ‘ass’ naked“, sees the light of day in September 2021. The first collections are launched in May 2022. But then, how do these tan-through swimsuits work?
It is the fiber of the fabric that selects the UV rays that will pass through the swimsuit. Only UV A and B are selected, which are the least harmful rays for us. With these two rays, the mechanism of melanogenesis is triggered, and therefore, one can tan while being protected from the sun.
The jersey corresponds to a UV protection factor 30 (to avoid burns, it is better not to drop your sunscreen). A technology patented by the Dutch company SUNSELECT, with 100% French production.
A French production
“The production is carried out only in France and with the participation of workshops employing people with disabilities, in order to promote inclusion”, says its creator.
“We work with a workshop in Niceone to vence (Alpes-Maritimes) and one near Nantes (Loire Atlantique). We plan to open others, notably on Reunion Island or in Polynesia, to be able to produce and sell directly on site once the brand has been exported. »
Polynesian and Riviera inspirations
Originally from the North, Luc discovered the Côte d’Azur during his military service, and fell in love with the region.
When we launched the project, we wanted a common thread with the Côte d’Azur. So, in our first collections, we find the blue of the chairs of Nice, the yellow of Menton, the orange of the bell tower of Saint-Tropez and finally, the palme d’or of Cannes.
Another inspiration: Polynesia. Hibiscus, tiare flowers, or even bird of paradise, the floral motifs are taken from Tahitian flora: “I made a beautiful trip to Polynesia, I was inspired by it. »
In total, four collections and six different product types (bikinis, headbands, swim shorts, sarongs, women’s shorts and dresses) are available on the Bikunu website.
Patterns that work. The first collections are almost out of stock after only two months on the market. “We have on average twenty orders per day. It’s huge, we didn’t expect such a craze so quickly. It makes us want to continue and even go further, even faster. »
Ecology at the center of the brand
Another particularly important value for Luc and Alexandre: the ecological impact of their products: “We want to be as eco-responsible as possible. As a result, “the fabrics used as well as the printing process are Oeko-tex certified, the packaging is made of recycled and reusable materials, and deliveries are made via Colissimo services, which have been carbon neutral since 2012”.
These choices of 100% French and eco-responsible production explain the price of the collections, ranging from 40 euros for a sarong, up to €95 for a bikini. “We sell our brand to people who share our convictions and who decide to invest in a good quality product. »
From jersey to polo
Although the swimsuit remains their flagship product, Luc and Alexandra do not close any doors. Polos and bermudas will soon be available for sale for professionals. “We are targeting campsites, hotels, beach clubs, cruises, etc. »
Outdoor sports clothing collections (cycling, running, hiking, etc.) are also on the program. “We really want to create a dynamic whose possibilities are enormous. The Bikunu adventure has only just begun.
We tested for you
Bikunu provided us with one of their Nice Spirit bikini. After more than three hours on the beach soaking up the sun, the result is there: a slight demarcation, but the covered areas have indeed tanned, without sunburn and traces of braces. It will be necessary to repeat a few sessions for everything to be uniform, but it is on the right track.
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We want to say thanks to the writer of this short article for this remarkable material
They invent Bikunu, the swimsuit that leaves no tan lines