4 Australian swimwear brands prove that sustainability is a cool thing
Australia is a hot spot in sustainable fashion with a lot of initiatives going on. We talked with four Australian swimwear brands about the exciting changes in sustainable fashion, trends and what inspires them every day to shift the perception of sustainable fashion to make it cool.
There are many clues to say that Australia is in the midst of a sustainable fashion moment. In March of this year, the Australian Circular Fashion Conference took place for the first time, and coinciding with Vogue Australia’s sustainability-themed issue, the magazine appointed Clare Press as sustainability editor-at-large, a first for any international edition of Vogue. Clare Press will also be a moderator for a panel discussion about the future of transparency at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. (Don’t miss the streaming. We will also sponsor a panel about business models for a closed-loop fashion system).
It’s Clare Press who, in a recent interview with Bof, said, “We’re used to doing things differently [referring to Australian fashion brands] — we’re young, fresh and untroubled by the heavy tradition that weighs down bigger and older brands. (…) That, coupled with the fact that we have had some dynamic leaders in the space, has meant that we have been able to push forward more quickly.”
Another big changemaker lately was the episode of War on Waste Stories (by ABC) dedicated to the fast fashion problem in Australia. The outstanding figure of waste that the Australian fashion industry is producing became public and was another push for consumers to look for more sustainable fashion brands. According to War on Waste Australians are currently disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes.
The first to start on this path toward sustainability were activewear and swimwear brands for their natural link to the environment and for their communities of consumers strongly connected to nature through sports. Many of these outdoor and activewear brands succeeded in the challenge of matching sustainability with high performance and durability features. This was possible also thanks to ingredients such as our ECONYL® regenerated nylon that turns a waste problem into fashion and interior solutions, giving designers endless possibilities because it performs exactly the same as virgin nylon.
Conscious consumers today have the opportunity to choose from many products produced in Australia with a reduced environmental impact. Our partners — brands that are using ECONYL® regenerated nylon — are proving that activewear and swimwear can simultaneously be beautiful, durable and sustainable. We talked with them about trends, sustainability in Australian fashion and creative inspiration.
VDM The Label
At VDM The Label we are a team of passionate, forward thinkers who believe in Quality, Sustainability and Ethical trade. VDM The Label is rethinking the way women are approaching the traditional swimsuit –to allow women to experience the beauty of wearing designer swimwear, at a fraction of the price.
Allanah is the designer at VDM THE LABEL. She designs all of the swimwear in-house and oversees all technical processes involved in the end to end production. The Team at VDM The Label has made sustainability its mission and objective before even starting the design elements as they wanted to be part of the solution and not the problem. Our objective is to be industry leaders while creating high quality, high-end fashion that is affordable while simultaneously continually improving their carbon footprints (PCFs) ecological footprints (EFs), and life cycle assessment (LCA).
VDM The Label, first collection is a modern interpretation of the decades that have helped shape the swimwear industry into what it is today. The new collection is taking inspiration from emerging influences from the late 1980–1990’s. Expect to see bright pops of color and daring silhouettes.
We are currently preparing to showcase our products on the world stage at Miami swim week in July 2018 and are currently working on a new collection while helping to drive the key message helping to make a change and be #sustainablewithVDMtheLabel
VDM The Label would love to have the resources to educate both consumers as well as their manufactures on the alternative options out there, while at the same time also continuing to learn and work with other forward thinkers with similar values.
Our products are currently being sold worldwide from our online platform as well as on ASOS marketplace and other stores.
My name is Ambra Maddalena and I was raised in Western Australia by an Italian father and Australian mother. We traveled the world and since then I have taken inspirations from my summer holidays abroad and poured them into my designs. The brand Ambra Maddalena is about falling in love, summer romances, femininity, creativity, and the expression of your true self. We want our girls to be a conscious consumers without compromising their style aesthetic.
Australians live and die by our love for the ocean. We have some of the most pristine oceans and beaches in the world. Our beaches have been used for global commercials and have been named the clearest oceans and whitest sand in the world. To imagine those beached littered with rubbish is heartbreaking. Rubbish on the beach is normal in some parts of the world. We just won’t accept it! We see sustainability as the most efficient way to help our world!
Australians want their swimwear to be unique. We want it to be versatile so we can surf, beach walk or suntan. I think in general, we love simplistic, classic cuts with fantastic details. That’s why we created Ambra Maddalena. Now we are debuting at Australian Fashion Week 7 months after launching! We couldn’t be prouder.
We did a style that was high cut and cheeky at the back — we are seeing this everywhere now. People realize that hips are sexy! We always incorporate some sort of gingham colorway in our collection but for 2019 we are going pastel. The collection is called “A Pocket full of Posies”… so, let your imagination think what it likes!
Ambra Maddalena’s swimwear is available in Australia and Bali. Check the stockist page.
Shapes in the Sand
My name is Alexandra Dash, and I am the founder of Australian Eco-conscious swimwear label, Shapes in the Sand. We are launching our first Northern Hemisphere Summer collection this May. Bloom ’18 is a celebration of our coral reefs and marine ecosystems with an emphasis on color, growth, and life. Pastel and fluro shades are fused into a slightly 90’s inspired collection. Colors are vibrant and electric mimicking coral flowers. Nature plays a very large role in the creation of Shapes in the Sand collections. Each season a new environment is chosen. Not only is the beauty of these environments researched for sources of inspiration, but potential and current areas of concerns are also researched.
I have noticed a growing acceptance to the implementation of more sustainable and transparent practices within the sustainable fashion industries, as well as choosing to live a more conscious lifestyle. We are becoming aware of the significant impacts the fashion industry has on the environment and though it’s been known for some time, there is certainly an increase in education on the issues whereby consumers and brands are taking this into consideration and changing the way they are purchasing and becoming more transparent in their supply chains.
I hope for the continual growth in having an environmentally conscious and transparent approach for both brands and consumers. It’s a wonderful thought to have an industry that is 100% ethical, sustainable and non harming fashion industry.
We have precious partnerships with various environmental organizations. These include WIRES Wildlife Rescue, The Tangaroa Blue Foundation, and their Australian Marine Debris Initiative as well as recently joining the Healthy Seas initiative donating our 1% for the Planet to them.
We ship worldwide from our online boutique as well as from a few select online boutiques based locally and in the Netherlands.
My name is Tina Ishak, and I’m the designer behind Baythe Swim. Our brand is all about minimalism and easily wearable swimwear designs that focus on quality sustainable fabrics that are affordable and, of course, look and feel good on the body! Baythe is strongly influenced by the laid-back yet cool Bondi Beach summer vibes and all that it encompasses — beach, waves, sand, sun, active lifestyle and easy carefree nature.
The idea of living close to the beach and the Australia active lifestyle means we can combine the two quite easily, you can be doing a soft sand run, coastal walk, yoga or barre in the nearby studios and head straight into the water afterward for a cool down, you can’t beat that feeling!
Australians, on the whole, are health conscious people and that is starting to translate into all areas of their lives including sustainable fashion. Most consumers are interested in what’s on trend with styles, fabrics, and colors, more and more are making better choices in the quality they’re purchasing but there’s still a way to go here and education and accessibility are factors here which is why I’ve worked hard to make the Baythe range at an accessible price without the huge markups.
I’m hoping that businesses make better choices in the way they manufacture products and a move away from fast fashion. We, as a whole, need to make better choices, buy less, choose well and really try to get the most out of a product so when you’re buying a product there’s longevity in it. Once you’re done with it, pass it onto someone or look at ways to recycle.
I’m currently working on my next collection and exploring ways to play with recyclable textures and colors so I can continue to produce sustainable products in new and innovative ways.
In terms of trends, we’re seeing a mix of fabric textures and an array of color choices and ones that are currently out doing the basic blacks. A wide variety of yellows and oranges will continue to lead the way, as well as earthy tones like nudes, sand and terracotta and more cooler tones of blues and purples making their way in.
Baythe Swim is available worldwide.
Events and people to follow in Australia for sustainable fashion
Here are some resources recommended by VDM The Label, Ambra Maddalena, Shapes in the Sand and Baythe Swim.
- Clean-up Australia Day
- World Ocean day. This event is very important to VDM The Label who plans on donating 10% of all sales made that week to the organization.
- Circular Fashion Conference
- Fashion Revolution Australia
- The Australian Fashion Council
- Social media influencer and model Elyse Knowles, a positive influencer, constantly helping to use her platform to push for sustainability and helping to clean up our oceans and our planet.
- One of Ambra Maddalena’s ambassador is Brinkley Davies, who is a marine biologist and ocean activist. Her foundation Balu Blue, helps marine life and fauna rehabilitate to their natural habitat. Ambra Maddalena donate 30% of all sales that use the code “BRINKLEY” at their e-store to this foundation.
- Clare Press. Clare is sustainability editor for Vogue Australia, Author and Ethical Fashion Advocate. Her podcast contains invaluable interviews with other sustainably minded figures.
- Laura Wells. Environmentalist, presenter and one of Australia’s top plus size models.
- Tommie Magazine is an online platform that is the destination for women with a conscious. They also begun holding community events where likeminded individuals can get together and talk all things sustainability and transparency.
- Eco Warrior Princess is an all Eco-conscious blog and features daily media that matters.
- Your Zen Life by Australian actress Teresa Palmer.
- Isabel Lucas — Actress and environmentalist.
- Natascha Elisa- Model and environmentally conscious influencer.