Photo:Courtesy of 437
Every summer, it seems like those at the helm of the fashion industry pack their bags, set up their automated OOO replies, and jet off to Europe, specifically the shores of the swankiest beach clubs and the streets of the trendiest cities. What city you spend a month in is nearly as important as what you wear—an undisputed fact insiders Adrien Bettio and Hyla Nayeri take as gospel. The pair founded the Canadian-based swimwear, activewear, and resort wear line 437, which has been seen on celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Sydney Sweeney, Megan Thee Stallion, and Emma Chamberlain, to name a few. For two childhood best friends without formal design training, the journey from building a brand in their bedrooms to dominating social media came down to more than just thoughtful designs and strategic business plans. It's about connecting with their community.
"We're a small, self-funded brand with no investors, which allows us a lot of flexibility to create what we're feeling and loving in [that] moment," Nayeri tells Who What Wear. "Adrien and I are literally the 437 demographic, so when we design pieces, we can take the phase of life we're at into consideration. It really makes us feel good about the pieces we're creating."
As a fashion editor who can attend dozens of meetings and brand showings a week, it can all become a blur at times. But when meeting Nayeri at 437's first New York City previews, I was struck by how the brand's elevated and cool-girl vibe extended far beyond its clothing offerings. Just like it was explained to me, the 437 customer isn't just looking for the perfect bikini or the best one-piece workout unitard for gym selfies. She's looking for something that seamlessly blends into her everyday life. Just like Bettio says: "She just gets it."
Although 437 has a steady stream of drops throughout the year, there's no time like the summer since the brand unequivocally shines when the weather gets warmer. Like many of their on-the-go consumers, Bettio and Nayeri spend their summers traveling. Between opening their new Los Angeles and Toronto showrooms, the duo is heading to Rio and Sardinia, respectively. Naturally, as swimsuit designers who spend much of the year longing for summer, there's a foolproof way to pack all the essentials. Below, scroll through all their travel essentials, and discover all that 437 is about.
Tell me a bit about the story of 437, how you both came to start the brand, and the transition into other garment categories like resort wear and bridal. What was your technical business or design background, if any?
Adrien Bettio: We founded 437 without any background in technical design. We both graduated from Queens University with business degrees, so when we started the brand, we had no prior design experience and learned through a lot of trial and error. We were best friends in college, and after a summer in Italy, it was clear [to us] that there just weren't flattering swimwear options on the market. We returned [home] and set out to create a line that really catered to everyone and made us feel confident.
Naturally, 437 began with swimwear. What makes the perfect bikini or one-piece, and how does that creation and design process influence how you interact with your customers?
Hyla Nayeri: The perfect bikini is flattering and makes you feel and look your best. When we're designing new swimwear, we love to hear from our customers. This is why I love our new showrooms in L.A. and Toronto. When we can meet our customers in person and allow them to see and try the product in real life and provide feedback in real time, it's so valuable for us. When we know what they love and what they feel is missing, we plan and design future collections accordingly.
In such a saturated swimwear market, what do you think 437 offers that other brands don't? How does your small-knit community champion the label?
AB: People care about how they feel and quality—[and] we're super invested in both. All design fittings are done on models [sized] XS to XXL so we can ensure our community feels their best in 437 [items]. We meet our customers where they're at in life and create pieces for the moments you want to feel extra confident. 437 creates beautiful, timeless, and affordable pieces for every occasion, [things] that feel fresh and on-trend, and I think that really sets us apart.
We're seeing girly Pinterest-style motifs and romantic elements seep into the fashion space in a trend the internet has dubbed the "European summer aesthetic." Tell me more about the recent Enchantee collection (and hopeful restock). I'd also love to hear about the inspirations behind the latest Heat Wave collection and how prints or colors are translating into the brand's direction for summer.
AB: When we were designing Enchantee Swim, the design team was really inspired by vintage lingerie and French references. It's the perfect collection if you want to lean into your girlier side. I'm all about picking the right suit for the location and the vibe you're feeling. I like to think of Enchantee as [swimwear] for the South of France. On the other hand, Heat Wave is a totally different feel. The tropical prints are more bold and playful and provide a different feel—think Miami Beach!
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs hoping to break into the fashion industry?
HN: Don't think it's too saturated—we almost didn't start because we thought this. Make sure you have a strategy that's unique and sets you apart. Separate your ego from your brand so you can easily take feedback into consideration. Don't try to be too perfect—just go for it. Learn from others and find advisors early on.
We actually spent a year developing a course—How TF—that breaks down everything we wish we knew when starting a business. It's been so rewarding seeing how many businesses have started and grown using our course!
Shop Bettio and Nayeri's vacation must-haves.
Maxi Skirts and Sarongs
Raffia Tote Bags
Minimalist Beauty Products