Sunday, 5 February 2012

Australia's Kooey Swimwear is the official sponsor of Miss Universe and Miss USA 2012

WHEN a billion people watch the crowning of Miss Universe, WA's Kooey swimwear will shine.
Local swimwear label Kooey is set to put Perth in the international spotlight with the signing of an exclusive sponsorship deal with the Miss Universe global conglomerate. With about one billion viewers tuning in to watch the pageant, Miss Universe is one of the most watched telecasts on the planet. Imagine what that means as a branding exercise.

This year the WA label won't have to imagine. Now that it's the official sponsor of both Miss Universe and Miss USA, every time the contestants turn out in swimwear, they'll be in Kooey.

"The pageant has a huge cult following," says Kooey director Nikki Silverthorne. "It's the second most watched TV event after World Cup football and they like to align themselves with brands that will continue to do it each year."
Kooey was involved with Miss Teen USA last year, and has been behind Miss Universe Australia for the past four years.

Silverthorne says the relationship has always been about increasing brand awareness.

"We've found the local competition has brought the awareness of younger girls," she says. "You have 50 to 60 girls wearing your swimwear, their friends see it, and when they go shopping they think of us."

When 2011 Miss Universe Australia Scherri-Lee Biggs stepped out in her colourful, Kooey-designed national costume, the public was divided.

Some thought the canary-yellow swimsuit with its multicoloured flamenco-style skirt was reminiscent of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

"Like it or not, at least everyone was talking about it," says Silverthorne. "You have to take risks. We got coverage all over the world - and that's the point."

In June, Kooey will launch its first collaborative line with Biggs to coincide with the Miss Universe Australia final.

"Because it is our fourth year with Miss Universe Australia, our contract allows us to collaborate with the current Miss Universe Australia," Silverthorne says. "It just made it more fun that it was Scherri because we knew her already and she had a connection to WA.

"Scherri got the process right away. She came in so prepared. She'd researched, she had photos of sunsets, colours she loved.

"She had similar inspirations as we would have, but the collection is very much Scherri-Lee."

Biggs also fronts Kooey's upcoming Birds of a Feather campaign. She joins brand "face" Emily Cattermole, Adam Erceg and James O'Halloran.

The full collection, as well as the first full menswear collection, will be unveiled at Mercedes-Benz Australian Fashion Week in May, but STM was invited along for a sneak peek.

"We spent three days in the South-West, in particular the Boranup forest and Marshall Rock," Silverthorne says.

"The campaign was inspired by a gothic fairytale - picture a Snow White battle between good and evil," she says.

"We always like to have a concept behind the shoot. It makes it more fun for the models and gets everyone involved.

"The weather changed a lot and, while it was challenging, it added a whole new element to the pictures - from dark and dramatic, while some are bright and colourful."

The Kooey Birds of a Feather collection will be available from July.

* The Scherri-Lee Biggs for Kooey collection will be unveiled at the Miss Universe Australia finals in June.