Meet the brand: Petit Crabe
In this issue of our Meet the brand Q&A series, we talk to Anne Mardahls, founder of UV kids swimwear brand Petit Crabe.
Introduce us to the background behind Petit Crabe?
Petit Crabe is a celebration of kids who love to explore nature. Based on the Scandinavian values of simplicity and functionality, Petit Crabe creates UV sun-protective swimwear and accessories perfectly designed for enjoying days in the sun.
Founded by Anne Mardahls, the first Petit Crabe UV kids swimwear collection was launched in spring 2012. Influenced by the founder Anne’s Danish heritage, the brand follows the enduring Scandinavian design principles of functionality and simplicity. The mission of Petit Crabe is to produce exclusive, stylish and protective swimwear that both young and older children will love to wear.
Petit Crabe has become well known for its comfortable and quick-drying sunsuits and zipper shirts, for its classic design and for the tradition of creating fine appliques and adorable details. Today Petit Crabe is represented in 12 countries, selling its stylish UV kids swimwear in department stores, independent boutiques and online shops. Four Fairies and a Prince is a leading Petit Crabe UK stockist.
Tell us about the Petit Crabe aesthetic?
Petit Crabe’s creative DNA is a timeless and minimalistic stylish look with a few beautiful details. Each collection is designed with many combinations allowing you to mix and match the styles to your own individual taste.
How would you sum up Petit Crabe in three words?
Freedom - to explore nature while being safe and protected.
Quality - we use the best OEKO-TEX® certified materials and we take pride in the details and sewing finishes. All production takes place in the EU, so we are close to all of our processes.
Stylish - ours is a timeless and sophisticated stylish look. Our prints always match with at least one unifying colour so you can easily mix and match pieces.
What is Petit Crabe passionate about?
Inspiring and enabling children around the world to be able to explore outdoor life, while keeping them safe from harmful UV rays. Our passion for function, quality and design is also embedded within our DNA.
Who or what inspires Petit Crabe?
It can be many things. The first collection was inspired by swimwear worn in the 1920s; the kimono shirt is obviously inspired by Japanese traditions. It can be a nice wallpaper or a lovely collar on a ladies shirt. When I am on the beach or on holiday I can’t help checking out what everyone around me is wearing, just for inspiration.
Which other Scandi/Danish brands do you love for adult fashion and home interiors?
I am passionate about interior design. Where other people might practice yoga to relax, I move around my furniture. It is the best way to clear the mind! In Denmark we have many really successful furniture and interior design brands, both classic and new.
As for Danish fashion brands, I love Julie Fagerholts designs for Heartmade, especially the coats. And Aiayu - the clothes, the home line and bags are beautiful. I love the material and the colours.
Tell us about your latest collection
Our 2019 collection of children’s UV swimwear has patterns and appliques inspired by the sea. For the first time our crab logo is used in the design - and the sun suits with the crab applique are already proving to be very popular.
The cherry theme is very feminine and delicate, and as always our stripes are represented in existing and new styles.
Which is your favourite piece?
The Etoile zipper shirt, as this is everlasting, classic and useful for both boys and girls of all ages. My own girls (10 and 12 years) are too big for sunsuits and they really like these shirts. They are so versatile – you can use them on the beach, in the water and as cardigans at restaurants and during sports activities. I am often asked if it is available for adults as well!
Tell us about the city where Petit Crabe is based. What are your travel tips, places to visit with children, cool boutiques and sights to see.
Petit Crabe is located in Charlottenlund, just 7km north of Copenhagen. In terms of travel tips, I recommend staying a couple of nights in the old fishing village at Skovshoved Hotel and renting bikes to explore the area. If you are into camping, there is Charlottenlund Fort camping which is located just by the beach. In the neighboorhood you’ll find really nice sandy beaches at Bellevue and Charlottenlund Fort, and good shopping at Hellerup Strandvej and Jægersborg alle. The shop, Pink Flamingo, is heaven for girls aged 7-14. Leah Maria has a very nice selection of women’s wear, bags, shoes and jewellery. Look out for the vintage shops as well - there are a number of really good ones in the area.
Pay a visit to Bakken, the world's oldest amusement park. It is located in the lush woodlands of Jægersborg Dyrehave, a beautiful green area where you find yourself surrounded by 400-year-old trees and almost 2,000 free range deer. It is the perfect spot for a horse-drawn carriage ride or a picnic before your visit to Bakken. There are also several museums here including art museum, Ordrupgaard, or you can go a bit further up the coast and experience the world-renowned Museum of Modern Art, Louisiana.
Which is your favourite season to design for?
Summer, of course!
What was your favourite item of clothing as a child?
My mother used to sew beautiful Christmas dresses for my sister and I. I had one with buttons shaped like pencils. She had bought the buttons and fabric home from Japan and I had never seen anything in that style before.
My daughters have the same age difference that my sister and I had, so they have worn these Christmas dresses as well. I think that is really nice.
Does your own family influence how and what you design?
Yes, my mother and I have creative sessions where we discuss ideas and thoughts, and my children and their friends are always put through endless questions about preferences.
What does Petit Crabe have coming up next?
Wait and see!
Why we love Petit Crabe, from Caroline Hetterschijt, co-founder of Four Fairies and a Prince: ‘Petit Crabe is one of our favourite summer brands. Not only because it offers sun protection up to UPF 50, which is incredibly important for us and our children, but also because it has a classic look, warm unique colours and subtle prints. There is a style for each age - from whole bodysuits that even keeps the sand out of the nappy and swim nappy pants to short-sleeve t-shirts for the older children. Paddling pool or beach, we love the collection!’