With more than 10,000 beaches across the country, it’s no surprise that Australians are beach obsessed. As such, a pair of stylish cossies, togs or swimmers is simply synonymous with the local lifestyle, where coastal dwellers spend most of their weekends between bodies of water, practically living in their swimwear.
Said swimwear was once made here on the mainland, where fashion manufacturing hubs in New South Wales and Victoria thrived. These days, the production houses are more boutique and bespoke, but the commitment to quality remains. Fabric innovations such as recycled nylon and polyester are bringing new energy to an industry that’s otherwise had minimal disruption during the past decades, as brands look to reduce their environmental impact and help clean up ocean waste. Here’s some of our favourites.
What do you get when you cross one of Australia’s best surfing towns with a slow-living and sustainable mindset? Sustainable surfwear of course. Salt Gypsy makes women’s surfwear from 100% regenerated nylon yarn called ECONYL® which is a long-lasting, durable recycled nylon lycra that is responsibly manufactured here in Australia. All of its practical pieces are ethically made on the Gold Coast.
Brisbane-based dk active brings high performance active swimwear to the mix. The brand’s values of creating quality products with a focus on empowerment rings true in its swimwear range, which includes a range of tops, bottoms and one-piece suits to fit sizes 6-16. dk active opts for luxurious fabrics such as quality lycra and recycled nylon in its swimwear, which is all ethically made in Brisbane, Australia.
Sun safety and style – that was the focus of the Brisbane-based designer who started swimwear label Shade Swim. After struggling to find a fashionable one-piece that was sun safe, Alyshia Morris decided she would make one herself. The Shade Swim garments are ethically made in Australia and the fabrics feature at least 80% recycled nylon.
Zella Swim’s vision is to make women feel confident in their swimsuit, no matter their size. The swimsuits are designed to be flattering, functional and feminine so you can spend your days carefree and sun-kissed. The brand uses 100% regenerated nylon fibre developed from pre-and post-consumer materials, such as plastic bottles, old fishing nets and regenerated carpet for its swimwear, offering UPF 50+ sun protection and chlorine resistance. Zella Swim’s stylish pieces are designed and handmade on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Waverley Swim brings inclusive and adaptable swimwear to the list – thoughtfully created by the founder of the sustainable and style magazine, Peppermint. The debut design for the brand is the Waverley Wrashie® – an Australian-made swim top that has stylish, sustainable sun safety all wrapped up! The swim tops are available in an inclusive size range from 6-24, and are produced in Australia from recycled fishing nets and discarded carpets.
Melbourne’s Obus Clothing drops a sweet swimwear collection each summer. All of its swimwear is ethically manufactured in Sydney using a blend of upcycled polyester and lycra to ensure extra longevity in the life of the elastine so your swimwear will continue to fit and flatter for many seasons despite contact with chlorinated or salt water. The swimwear features prints from the current collection.
Shapes in the Sand’s swimwear is range of bikinis and one pieces in nature-inspired designs. As an ‘eco conscious’ swimwear label, Shapes in the Sand uses regenerated fabrics from recycled materials in its swimwear which is all handmade in Australia. The brand teams up with not-for-profit organisations and individuals to help create positive change for the environment and its inhabitants – include helping fund organised beach clean ups for our oceans as well as care facilities for Australian native wildlife.
Camp Cove Swim launched in October 2013 by Katherine Hampton, with the first collection being completely sewn by the designer’s mum. The 70s-inspired swimwear label has since grown but is still made locally, with the collection including pretty one-pieces, singles, rashies and board shorts. Camp Cove’s swimwear is ethically made in NSW, with the fabric printing happening in Sydney and the production in Jervis Bay.
Born in the sleepy, surfy NSW town of Kingscliff, Kozii Swimwear has grown into one of the leading sports swimwear brands in Australia. Kozii’s factory at Tweed Heads manufactures all of its garments from start to finish – specialising in sublimated swimwear and sports garments for men and women. The brand says its prints are hand-illustrated or painted by its in-house designers, and garments are produced in small batches to meet demand.
Byron Bay-based label Innes Lauren creates modern swimwear with a luxury feel. The timeless silhouettes include asymmetrical designs as well as the classics in one-piece and bikini cuts. The Innes Lauren swimwear is ethically made-to-order in Australia using 100% recycled textiles (Italian ECONYL). To further reduce the brand’s impact, the excess fabric cuttings are used for our ties, straps and lining.
Brisbane-based brand Active Truth first built its foundations of inclusive sizing and designs in its activewear. Now, much to the excitement of the brand’s cult following, it has recently added a sustainable swimwear range, similarly optimised for your workout and available in an inclusive size range of small – 3XL (equivalent of AU sizes 8 – 26). In an effort to maintain performance and reduce the brand’s environmental impact, the new swimwear range features a recycled nylon made from discarded fishing nets, assembled in Australia like much of the brand’s quality activewear. Check out our review of the new swim range here.
Print-centric Tassie-based brand Seagrass Designs has added Aussie made swimwear to its range, just in time for summer. The swim range follows suit with the brand’s approach to fun, flora and fauna inspired patterns in bright colour ways. The range include bikini tops, tankinis, bottoms and board shorts. All garments are designed and made in Tasmania, and fabrics are printed in Queensland using recycled polyester.
Designed by an ex-firefighter and lifeguard from Bondi, along with a swimwear designer, Sunrise at Bondi is firmly about utility in design and sun protection. Choose from a range of bikinis, rashies, and compression leggings, all ethically made here in Australia.