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It's not often that bikinis come to mind when you think of a small, family run business, but when it comes to Sexiaz Lingerie, that's exactly their bread and butter.
The label is a staple sight around Melbourne, where its ruched crop tops and micro triangle cups are recognisable for their soft, glittery sheen, electric colourways and convertible styling options which are sold at markets, on Depop and via the three-person show's Instagram account. Their grid not only acts as an inspiration board for their followers' own custom orders, but a record of the seemingly endless combinations and styles you can bring to life.
It may come as a surprise then, that Sexiaz has actually been around since 2004, started up by Veronica Richards — AKA Mother Vee, AKA Mumma Vee, as her two daughters debrief to Refinery29 Australia. Self-described "kini dealers" Arielle and Kallista got on board with the label after seeing Mumma Vee's work go unrecognised for years while stocking exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores, deciding to make Sexiaz it's own Instagram account in 2019 to help show off the brand to the world.
"For mum, it was an extension of her ongoing exploration of design. While working retail at a lingerie shop, she started test-running her designs, eventually stocking stores across Australia and exhibiting at Sexpo," they share. Veronica's own extensive resume goes as far back to making '90s rave wear when she was a teenager herself, after growing up with her own mother and grandma being involved with costuming and lingerie respectively as well. "She’s an icon... a legend... a workaholic," says Kallista of Veronica.
This progressiveness and inclusivity weaves into the business model as well. "Sexiaz is for hot people, it's for sex workers, it's for people who are creative with how they dress and present to the world," they say. The sisters also share that as best as they can, they try to make people feel seen and involved, which is why they're so passionate about prioritising custom pieces.
"Our customers can be super creative and get an absurd, chaotic, wild colourway that no one else has if they want, or they can tweak little bits here and there. What you end up with is a piece that's completely individual to them and even more significant, so hopefully they can keep it forever," they say. On their "How To" guide, they encourage people to check out what style and colours (there are over 30 to choose from) speak to them most, before arranging the rest over DMs.
"I feel really lucky that we are involved in something so cute and hot and fun."
Right now, Kallista is really drawn to camo and the colour yellow, but she will always stick to her guns when it comes to green and blue neutral shades, including their new "belissima" slate grey addition to the Sexiaz colour wheel. Arielle, on the other hand, is personally in love with options that evoke a "very frosty glamour girl ice princess" aesthetic, but is a round-the-clock fan of fluro and hot pink too. But they don't believe in limiting yourself, and embrace all of the options being used together to represent the "sexy, scary, sparkly, fun, camp, cool, hot, chaotic and queer" enersgy the label represents.
Sexiaz is also a brand favourite of Refinery29's Street View series, with their ruched crops papped in Parramatta and Rozelle in Sydney, and of course in Fitzroy, Melbourne. "It’s almost surreal seeing them everywhere and it’s so heartwarming... I get butterflies for real," shares Arielle. "I am always thinking, 'Wow, we really do clothe every single hot person in town'. That’s wild." Kallista adds that it never gets old to spot a wild Sexiaz number on the streets, describing it as the best feeling ever. "It’s really nice to see mum’s work be embraced by so many local angels... roses roses roses," she says. "Not to mention, they are so recognisable because they look so good and the confidence people wear them with!"
But adding to the repertoire of clientele is Rico Nasty, who wore Sexiaz during a tour of Australia in December. The sisters say they both almost died when they saw the photos of the US rapper, who had been styled by Sydney's own Elle Hioe, aka @14strk. However, other highlights include having their own runway at an event with queer collective Paralusion, and making custom pieces for short film House of Whoreship. "Sexiaz on the big screen!" they cheer.
While it might be some people's worst nightmare to work so closely with their mother, for Arielle and Kallista it's a dream come true. "It's fun! I definitely feel as though we have created a space in which we all can share our insane ideas. Mum gets it for real — she's an incredibly talented designer," beams Kallista.
"My sister and mum are my besties so getting to work together with them in a creative capacity is always the best time and so special. I feel really lucky that we are involved in something so cute and hot and fun," adds Arielle.