Australian-Made Swimwear

Summer is officially here in Australia and what better way to celebrate than shining a spotlight on some Australian-made swimwear labels? While some people dread swimsuit shopping, I am not one of them. All I can think about right now is how to best maximise my beach/pool time over the coming months. Gimme all of the lycra!  We’re pretty spoilt for choice here in Australia when it comes to swimwear and several new and noteworthy labels keep popping up each year. For this post I’ve decided to focus on labels that, to the best of my knowledge, manufacture their garments in Australia and partake in ethical practices. These are the local Aussie swimwear brands that I’ve got my eyes on this summer.

BAABY is an Australian swimwear label designed and made in Melbourne. All the designing and sampling is done in-house in Melbourne and every style is tested on various body types to ensure an ideal fit. All pieces are ethically and locally manufactured, and created using regenerated and sustainable luxury Italian lycra.
Camp Cove Swim is an Australian designed and made swimwear label founded by Katherine Hampton. The label is known for its fun prints and retro styling, with designs to suit a range of body types. All garments are ethically manufactured on the South Coast of New South Wales. All fabrics are printed in Sydney and recycled fabrics are incorporated into the lining of swimsuits.
Good Studios is a sustainable clothing and homewares label founded in 2012 by Anny Duff. The label focuses on ethical values and embraces sustainable practices wherever possible. The swimwear range is made from a mix of up-cycled or recycled nylon and extra life lycra and all garments are ethically manufactured in Adelaide.
If you’re after pared-back swimwear in classic, timeless cuts then this is the label for you. Founded by Tuyen Nguyen and Michael Lim in 2013, this Sydney based label is well on its way to becoming a cult Aussie favourite. Every piece is made and designed in Australia using the highest quality European fabric and many of the styles are made from recycled lycra.
Vege Threads is a low impact menswear and womenswear label founded by Amy Roberts. Their eco swimwear range comprises of a range of basic designs and is made using a mix of recycled nylon and extra life lycra. All of their Australian-made products have accreditation from Ethical Clothing Australia.

[Images, clockwise from top left: Baaby, Camp Cove Swim, Vege Threads, Good Studios, Her.]

Inspired By: Laurence Le Guay

In the midst of a spring cleaning frenzy the other day I stumbled across a few pages that I had torn from an Australian Vogue feature on Australian beach culture (I can’t remember what issue exactly but it would have been from around the mid 2000s). The feature showcased a range of photographs from more notable names such as Helmut Newton, but my favourites were these taken by Laurence Le Guay. I hadn’t previously heard of Le Guay and a quick google search didn’t turn up much up other than that he was Sydney’s leading fashion photographer in the 1950s and 1960s and also served as a war photographer during WWII. While these photos were taken back in the 1950s, what with the current trend for vintage silhouettes, they barely look out of place today.
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[Images by Laurence Le Guay for Vogue, scanned by me]


Art Tea Towels

Owning a piece of art is always a bit special. While owning an original artwork isn’t necessarily the most affordable thing in the world, there are alternatives. You could look at art prints and posters but what about art tea towels? Yes, tea towels! More and more artists are offering up their artwork in tea towel form and it’s a great way to expand your art collection. Sure, they’re notably more expensive than your average tea towel but it’s not like you’ll be doing the dishes with them. Art tea towels are a decent size, look great framed, and have the added bonus of looking like canvas. One of my favourite artists, Rachel Castle, is famed for her fun tea towels and Third Drawer Down also stock a bunch of tea towels featuring works from a range of artists. While they’re not pictured here, I’d also recommend checking out Kara Rosenlund’s range of beautiful photographic printed tea towels and all the fun Australian-themed prints by Everingham + Watson.

Top row:  Belinda Marshall “Everything All At Once” tea towel from Frankie and Swiss;  CASTLE “Vegemite” tea towel
Bottom row:  David Shrigley “Life Is Fantastic” tea towel;  Del Kathryn Barton “Cosmic Crime” tea towel from Third Drawer Down (if you’re in Brisbane there’s also a Third Drawer Down concept space in the Gallery of Modern Art).

Have you seen any noteworthy art tea towels lately?

Styling a Casual Dress for the Spring Races

The Spring Racing season is pretty much unavoidable here in Australia. Even if you don’t actively go to the races, most workplaces hold sweeps for Melbourne Cup or even competitions for best dressed. While some racing events require a certain standard of dress, for the most part I like seeing people have fun with their outfits. Because there is such a thing as too many floral dresses and saucer fascinators. Since I rarely go to the races these days, when I do I tend to utilise what’s already in my wardrobe. This could mean anything from rehashing an outfit I’ve previously worn to a wedding to dressing up a day dress for the occasion. Here I’ve taken a casual cami dress by Milk It and given it a bit of a Spring Races makeover.

Reclaimed Vintage cap with DIY pom pom; Country Road collared shirt; Milk It gingham dress; Velvet ribbon from Lincraft; Falconwright clutch; Novo wedge heels.

Lately I’ve really been making a conscious effort not to buy things that I’ll only wear once and only introducing things into my wardrobe that have staying power. I’ve been eyeing off this gingham dress for a while now and it’s the perfect layering piece for summer. I’ll no doubt get plenty of wear out of it and I also like the fact that it’s made from recycled fabric. But how do I style such a casual dress for the races? With a little bit of trackside inspiration and a DIY touch, of course. A crisp collared shirt layered underneath adds a bit of polish and a velvet ribbon tied around the waist gives it some shape. Instead of going the usual fascinator route I spruced up a Reclaimed Vintage suedette cap by topping it off with an oversized pom pom. A cute clutch and wedge heels finishes it all off nicely.

Here are some other things I’d take into consideration when putting together an outfit for the spring races:

Pastels vs. Brights
Spring is the perfect season to embrace pastels. I tend to wear more pastels than brights however I am wary of outfits that veer into pastel overload. If anything I’d say add bright accents to a pastel outfit  to give it a bit of edge.

Monochrome vs. Floral/Patterned
¿Por qué no los dos? Why don’t we have both? I love a good pattern and I think they’re the perfect way to stand out from the crowd (although I’ve already stated how I feel about florals for the spring races). If you do choose to go down the monochrome path then doing so in a pattern is a great way to add extra detail to an outfit.

Dresses vs. Jumpsuit/Co-ords
I’ve only ever worn dresses to the races as it’s generally easier to put together a polished look in one (or maybe that’s just me, I don’t know). That said, I do love a good jumpsuit and wouldn’t put it past me to give one a go.

Heels vs. Flats
In day to day life I’m a flats person but for the races I always opt for a heeled shoe. And always an enclosed one at that (I must have read something about it in one of those etiquette guides once and it’s just stuck with me). Wedges and block heels are the way to go, though, because getting stuck in the grass in stilettos is the pits.

Fascinators vs. Alternative Headwear
Alternative headwear all the way. Fascinators end up looking so samey so I’m all for headwear that’s a bit quirky. I also love seeing all the OTT headwear that people come up with. DIY options are always fun and the last time I went to the races I whipped up a pom pom headband the day before (I really love pom poms you guys).

Bright Lips vs. Smokey Eye
I’d go a smokey eye but also not like you’re about the hit the club levels of smokey. This is purely for practical purposes as bright lips require upkeep throughout the day, especially what with all that champagne sipping and canapé eating, and I just don’t have the time/energy for that. Unless, of course, you’ve found the holy grail of long lasting lipsticks in which case help a sister out please.

What does your ideal race day outfit look like?

[This post was in collaboration with asos. All content is my own]


A Weekend in Coolum

Long weekends provide the perfect opportunity for a getaway but I’m usually slack at planning trips to coincide with them. I pay no attention to my calendar and then next thing I know I’ve got three days to fill and nowhere to go. Luckily the other weekend my friends and I got our butts into gear and booked a trip to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast. Now, I haven’t been to Coolum since Year 6 school camp and all I really remember from that trip is a candle making class where we kept dipping our hands into the hot wax while the teacher wasn’t looking. I’m usually impatient whenever I head up to the coast and take the first exits to Caloundra and Mooloolooba because GET ME TO A BEACH ASAP. However, if you spend a little bit of extra time on the road towards Coolum, Peregian and Noosa you’re rewarded with some pretty stunning coastline. I’d forgotten how beautiful this neck of the woods (coastline) is. If you hate blue skies and crystal clear turquoise waters, look away now.

We stayed in a self-contained apartment at Element on Coolum which was centrally located and clean, spacious, and fairly modern.
There are plenty of dining and takeaway options along the main strip of David Low Way, adjacent to Coolum Beach. There’s also a shopping complex a few streets back with a supermarket and various other shops. While we were there we alternated between making meals in our apartment and dining out. 
During our stay we ate at the Coolum Surf Club which provided the best beach-front setting as well as Canteen Kitchen + Bar for lunch and afternoon cocktails. 
Other places that we didn’t get to try out included Compound Secondhand Surf & Espresso (it was closed on the Sunday) and Raw Energy (it was packed out on the public holiday Monday so we headed to Stellarossa instead where I waited way too long for my breakfast and the waitress couldn’t tell the difference between a latte/cappucino/flat white).
Spend all your time at the beach, duh (but also, be sun safe). If you can, however, manage to peel yourself away from the sand and surf these are some other things you could do:
The coastal walk from Coolum Beach to Point Arkwright is pretty worthwhile. It’s a leisurely walk and takes about half an hour each way. Unless, of course, you’re like me and stop at various points along the way to gawp at the scenery and take photos. It’s on this walk that you’ll also find your way to little coves like First Bay and Second Bay
If you’re lucky (we were) and it’s the right time of year you might be able to spot some whales splashing off the coastline. Point Perry is a pretty good vantage point but any spot high on the coastline will do.
If you’re feeling particularly active, hike up Mt Coolum for an even better view of the coastline.
Staying at Coolum also puts you in a pretty good position to make the quick trip up to Noosa. While we had initially planned one such outing, once we got to Coolum we decided it was too good to leave.

What’s your favourite local getaway spot?