Are rashies cool again? These Australian labels are making a strong case for it



The humble rashie has had a makeover.

I don’t know what your childhood summers were like, but the mere thought of the unequivocally Australian ‘rashie’ sends shivers up my spine. For as long as I half-listened to my parents, I was the kid with the oversized short-sleeved nylon shirt, leaving my enclosed upper-body glaringly white. The moment I could, I refused. 

The rashie became synonymous with embarrassment, over-protection and weird feelings towards my own body. After all, the cover-up was only ever cute on tiny tots with their flap hats and zinc-lined noses. The rash guard has its purpose though, and not (just) as a tool for parents to make their kids appear less cool. The rashie protects in the surf, against the board, the waves, debris, and provides vital shelter from the blisteringly hot Australian sun. 

With Australia recording one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, we’re becoming more aware of covering up, and I think it’s time we gave the rashie another shot. Bid farewell to the tragic, stretched and sun-tainted shirts of yesteryear and welcome in the new guard, approaching sun safety with a touch of subversiveness and a hint of sexiness.

There are cropped alternatives, tanks, and fully-zipped body suits worthy of Princess Diana’s grace, all with UPF50+ credentials. The rashie has come full circle and, dare I say, is bordering on cool. With these Australian brands at the helm of the trend, there’s no doubt we have a sun-safe and sartorially-savvy summer ahead.

Hakea Swim


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by H a k e a ~ S w i m (@hakea_swim)

Designed with both form and function in mind, Hakea Swim offers pieces to suit both your fashion and surf needs. Laze about on Bondi Beach or pick up a board on a secluded wave with one of these sun tops. Go for tank-style coverage with the Tallala or opt for ever-important decolletage protection with the cropped Aire turtleneck. The basic Kasbah Sun Top offers a simple style ideal for a paddle, or you can go all out and try a one-piece surf suit, keeping you together (and sun-safe) while the waves batter you about. With the natural environment a core inspiration to the brand, Hakea aims to lower its footprint by using econyl (a regenerated nylon made entirely from ocean and landfill waste, and something that links many of these local brands) and pledges charitable donations via 1% For the Planet


Peony Swimwear

This local darling of the Australian swim scene recently launched its first sun shirt – a very on-brand polka-dotted number. Peony’s overarching aesthetic draws inspiration from vintage bikini sets – think Rachel McAdam’s character in The Notebook and you’re on the right track. The Macaroon Sun Shirt is a little cropped and detailed with adjustable ruching at the front and along the cuffs to make for the perfect fit. The label is also environmentally-aware and uses econyl, which gets my vote.


Bondi Born


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BONDI BORN® (@bondibornaustralia)

For the minimalists amongst us, Bondi Born offers sleek alternatives in classic black. The brand’s rashies collection includes Clover, an off-the-shoulder ruched number which could easily navigate life on the sand, in the water and dining out. The other timeless styles feature zip fronts or backs made for easy use and wear. Gone are the days of the dreaded head-squeeze, as you try to untangle yourself from your sea-soaked rashie – hallelujah! 


U&I Label

U&I Label takes function to the next level with its small range of surf tops. Designed in Torquay and made in Australia, these pieces were made with surfers in mind. The functional tops sit tight and offer protection against both boards and the sun’s rays. They are a little less ‘fashion’ than the other offerings on this list, but they are inherently practical as the label’s aim is to cultivate women’s surf culture while protecting the planet; it’s a huge step up from the surf brands of yore that I so craved as a tween (Roxy I’m looking at you). 




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Matteau (@matteau)

Also vying for the attention of fashion-conscious swimmers is Matteau’s Long Sleeve Sun Tee. The cropped style satisfies my basic need for a sun-safe day at the beach while maintaining an elegant aesthetic. The Sun Tee accomplishes what this brand does best: simple and considered pieces. You can feel a little sexy with an exposed midriff paired with a basic pair of black bottoms, and show as much or as little flesh as you desire. 


Myra Swim

It’s not often that I look at a one-piece – or rashie, for that matter – and instantly sense the sex appeal oozing out, so thank you, Myra Swim, for delivering this sensual (yet safe) offering. Taking key silhouettes from the ’80s and ’90s, like high-cuts and figure-enhancing styles, the brand adapts these for the modern woman. Try the surf-style zip-up one-pieces Davis and Powe or the cropped zip-up Rita top. Support for your bust and sun protection: it’s just what the doctor ordered.


Lazy Loading