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Australian label Mimi Kini is making activewear that’s fun, sustainable and size inclusive

WORDS BY JASMINE WALLIS

Activewear for your body as it is right now.

Growing up, swimwear shopping was one of the most daunting days at the start of the summer for me. My mum and I would spend hours wandering around my local shopping centre trying to find something that fit my adolescent curves and size D breasts.

Change rooms were the worst; the standard-size-six-Roxy model smirked down at me from large campaign posters, barely suppressing her laugh as I resigned myself to a plain one-piece once more.

This was more than ten years ago, and since then body diversity and positivity has come leaps and bounds with every summer season that passes. 

One brand that I wish had been around when I was an awkward 14-year-old just trying to find a cute swimsuit is Mimi KiniFounded in 2018, Mimi Kini is run by Perth partners, Sid Pattni and Madalin Frodsham. With a background in both fashion and design, the duo saw a gap in the market for diversity and representation in swimwear. 

Speaking to Madalin over the phone, she reiterated the lack of options that a lot of women have when choosing swimmers.

“I really wanted to make swimwear that was shot on models of all different sizes and ethnicities. Looking at other brands they were either really full coverage and ‘mumsy’ styles or they were for a size six girl. We really wanted to show that you can wear these beautiful prints and styles, even if you aren’t the ‘standard’ size.”

As well as making swimwear, the couple launched their latest line Mimi Move, a pastel-coloured, sustainable, retro-infused drop of activewear, in January of this year. 

The range complements Madalin’s other career as a personal trainer and fitness influencer. Posting home workouts on Instagram and sharing body-positive messages, Madalin’s approach to fitness is about working out to feel good rather than to lose weight. 

I ask her how having a community of people following her fitness account has influenced Mimi Move. “I feel like as a slim woman I can’t make these assumptions about what other women want to wear. So I think it’s really good having a broad database of people who I can talk to and can give me tips and advice regarding what we design,” she says.

As a small independent brand, it would be easy to make their recycled plastic activewear in only three sizes but Sid and Madalin wanted to lead the way and create exercise wear for all bodies. 

Ranging from a size XS to a 6XL, Mimi Moves is one of the most inclusive activewear brands on the market and the response has proven that Australian women are hungry for fun, diverse workout clothes.

“I think a lot of people have been really excited about it because generally when you have bigger clothing – past probably a size two X or even an extra-large – they tend to come in very conservative styles,” says Madalin.

“It might be t-shirts instead of crop tops. It won’t be anything that shows your stomach and it won’t be bright colours; black and navy are kind of your only options.”

This is the reason that Mimi Move has made its mark on the activewear scene. Instead of insinuating, like the majority of activewear brands, that wearers should train hard and fast for hours at an Olympian-focused level, Mimi Move encourages its customers to have fun moving their bodies, whatever that might look like. 

“I don’t know why fitness has to be this serious thing,” she says, laughing. “It’s not all about getting personal bests – and that’s fine if that’s your thing, but it doesn’t just have to be about lifting heavy weights and running marathons. It can be moving your body in a way that feels good to you and that might be marathons or it might be hula hooping.” 

In a society that still places a whole lotta worth and value on the size of a woman’s bike shorts (most recently in the exhausting internet discourse around Adele’s weight loss), Mimi Move is reminding women that exercise is about loving your body as it is right now. 

“We’ve found a lot of the other activewear companies that go up to larger sizes often have an emphasis on before and afters and the weight loss journey. We don’t want to say that. We’re trying to help you love yourself as you are now. It’s not about getting down a few sizes.”

It’s clear that through its fun swimwear and diverse activewear ranges and campaigns, Mimi Kini is leading the way and helping create a more inclusive fashion landscape. 

I tell Madalin about my experience growing up during the period of the mid-2000s advertisements and magazines and ask if Mimi Kini is trying to eliminate some of the stigmas around size for young women now. 

She responds confidently. “Women are sick of being shown, ‘Hey, this is what you could look like!’ because we’re not stupid. I know I don’t have legs like that supermodel and that’s not what I’m going to look like in a bikini. I want to see a confident woman wearing that bikini who has a body similar to mine so that I can say, ‘Hey, that’s actually what it’s going to look like. She looks amazing… I’m going to look amazing.’” 

mimikini.com.au

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