Big kids, move over. There’s a new era of swimwear designers making a splash (see what we did there?).
Whether you relish the annual bikini shop or avoid it like the plague, these independent labels will help you on your way.
Camp Cove Swim
Ethical swimwear gets a big tick from us, especially when it looks this good. Camp Cove Swim stands for individuality, creativity, self-confidence, self-worth, freedom and happiness; so naturally, we like everything the label is doing. The Sydney-based team works in close partnership with a local swimwear machinist to ethically produce styles for every woman. Aside from the brand’s signature cheeky cut bottoms, Camp Cove also caters for bigger busts and those who are after fuller coverage down below. Prints are designed in-house with local artists and the new season drops soon. You know this is going to be good.
May & Hugo
There are more than a few reasons why we like Sydney’s May & Hugo. The label is committed to producing sustainable and ethical (yes please!) swimwear. Its pieces are handmade from 100 per cent post-consumer nylon and polyester from abandoned fishing nets. Founders Emily and Marcos are all about intelligent design and investing in the environment. They ensure their designs are delivered to you in recycled packaging and even donate 10 per cent of all profits to WWF. There’s no skimping on design either. May & Hugo’s SS16 collection, La Donna, is a beautiful balance of feminine and athletic cuts.
Eau Paix Vie
Let’s play a word association. You ready? Beach. Pineapples. Summer. Colour. Watermelon. Sand. Fun. Perhaps the best response to all these terms is Eau Paix Vie. The swimwear label is all about bright, playful ’kinis to match just how you want your summer to be. Bringing the fun back to swimwear, EPV specialises in cheeky cuts and vibrant colours, with everything made from the highest quality Italian fabrics. If the label looks familiar, it’s probably because it is. Eau Paix Vie has over 200k Instagram followers and counting. These are the brights you’ll be seeing on the beach come summer.
You can take the girl out of Europe. San Taylor swimwear brings the French Riviera Down Under, with European-inspired designs made from fabrics sourced from Italy and Spain. Designed in Byron Bay and crafted in Sydney, San Taylor’s collection boasts minimalist silhouettes with sleek, modern lines and fine silver trims to perfect that high-end finish. Colours on offer include Riviera Black, Chianti Red and Salt White. It’s all in line with the brand’s inspiration: think sunbathers of Saint Tropez Le Club 55; mid-century Danish furniture by Hans Wegner; and the work of icons Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh and Slim Aarons.
What do you get when a designer and a surf photographer join forces? Swimwear, apparently. At least that’s what happened with Gypsea. The lovechild of Emma Jones and Scott Bauer, Gypsea is a swimwear label inspired by the ocean, photography and a love of travel. Emma creates the canvas while Scott takes care of the images, with artists from around the world also invited to contribute prints. For every Gypsea product purchased, a tree is planted to improve the living conditions and work opportunities for communities across Asia, Latin America and Africa. Over 9000 trees have been planted already, meaning your next good deed is just a bikini away.
If you find regular swimwear a little lacking in the fabric department, Bravura has got you covered (literally). Australian made and designed by Marlena Gabriel, the swimwear features bold styles to really make a statement. The label – which has been sported by Kylie Jenner – ensures swimwear shopping is no longer a nightmare, with cuts specifically designed to flatter the female figure. Tops feature underwire to support bigger busts, while bottoms boast fuller coverage. Bravura is also committed to producing its pieces locally, making sure each is ethically made. With fade-resistant fabric ensuring longevity, you’ll be spending all your days in the sun. Bravo.
There’s no better way to get excited about the rising mercury than with new bathers (we’re sure of it). Debut Aussie brand, Salty Fox, has released its first season of swimwear. Made in Australia from Italian lycra, this newcomer offers a range of flattering cuts and styles. The highlight of the bold collection is the metallic gold bikini, which gives off strong goddess vibes. We’re also pretty partial to the oral one-piece (pictured) and the mesh and lycra top, perfect for a post-dip cover up. Made to be worn under the sun and in the sea, the high quality pieces will last the entire season and beyond.
If your ideal summer is played out on the sand, in the sun and well into the night, Midnight Swim will be to be right up your alley. Founded by Australian designer Genevieve Er, Midnight is inspired by balmy nights and warm days. Combining boho references and athletic elements, Midnight’s pieces are easily recognisable – think statement styles and cuts that are sure to make you feel a little sexy. The label’s current collection, Boho Love, delivers crochet two-pieces in neutrals, pinks, yellows and khaki. Meet us at midnight.
The U&I girl isn’t one to sunbake on the beach for hours. Instead, the Torquay-based label was dreamt up between sets while surfing at Bells Beach. U&I creates practical swimwear for active women, without compromising on femininity and style. Made in Melbourne, the range features an interchangeable mix of tops, bottoms and one-pieces in SPF 50+ fabric, with a marble print for the new season. The U&I woman protects the places she loves, and so the label also donates a portion of sales to not-for-profit organisations protecting local sea life.
This article was originally published in Fashion Journal 161. You can read it here.