Balmy, blue sky days have finally arrived, uninterrupted by the sheets of grey cloud that have long shrouded our summer plans. Gone is the need for goose down: now is the time to shed the layers and enlist the swimwear.
And so, just in time for your favourite season, we’ve compiled a list of labels committed to their cause: making women feel their best whether swimming in the sea, splashing in the pool or simply lounging in the sun. From flattering textiles to expertly tailored lines, from a devotion to sustainability to a flair for frills, these are the brands worth investing in.
Lingerie and swimwear label Araks, the brainchild of New York designer Araks Yeramyan, is a brand based on collaboration. Each season, for instance, Yeramyan invites creatives from different spheres to shoot the Araks lookbook with an analogue camera, in a project dubbed “Lingerie on Film”. Araks’ most recent partnership meanwhile is a pairing with artist Tanya Ling, resulting in chic white silhouettes flecked with oceanic lines and an array of classic shapes artfully smudged with bursts of colour. Araks have just launched their sustainable swimwear collection too, made entirely from recycled materials, such as abandoned fishnets discarded on the shore, that would otherwise end up in landfill. In celebration of Earth Day 2018, they donated 10% of all sales to The Ocean Clean Up – consumption that’s good for the conscience is something we’re all for!
Matteau is all about timeless silhouettes, their minimalist approach easily distinguishable on a beach full of frumpish florals and distorted spandex. Founded by Australian sister duo Ilona Harmer and Peta Heinsen back in 2015, the brand fits their designs on family and friends to ensure consistency in shape, from an A cup to an E cup. The meaning behind Matteau’s philosophy of clean lines and classic simplicity is providing women with the quiet confidence to be the most authentic versions of themselves. They believe that swimwear is merely a garment that is hosted by a bountiful character worth more than the sum of its parts.
Inspired by Romy Schneider’s effortless, feminine aesthetic in La Piscine (1969), Tuyen Nguyen and her partner Michael Lim created Australian label Her Line in 2014. The pair agonised over the fit, fabrication and cut of their sleek swimsuits for a year, analysing how a slice of the best quality textile could accentuate natural curves to make women of all shapes feel confident. Having grown up within a Vietnamese manufacturing community, it was important for Nguyen and Lim to produce locally, enabling a continuous dialogue with the makers to ensure the highest quality garment. Last year, Her Line launched their ready-to-wear range, producing a collection of trans-seasonal staples for the modern woman.
Hunza G is an ode to the ’80s – think: crinkle fabrics and high cuts in vivid fluoro colourways. Launching as clothing label Hunza in the 1980s, and responsible for Julia Roberts’ cut-out mini-dress during that shopping trip in Pretty Woman, the London brand relaunched in 2014 as Hunza G, under the direction of Georgiana Huddart. Since then they’ve skilfully carved out their niche in a market full of simple silhouettes, garnering a cult following for their swimwear offerings from the likes of Suki Waterhouse, Leandra Medine and Yasmin Sewell. A must for anyone seeking frivolous frilly fun.
MADE BY DAWN
Unable to find swimwear to suit her needs, Hawaii-born designer Dawn Peterson started stitching her own samples from her Santa Barbara abode. Enlisting the help of her husband Kirk, Dawn taught herself how to create bikinis by hand, cutting patterns on the dining room table, stitching them together with a sewing machine inherited from her grandmother and hand writing labels, illustrated with a signature smiley face. And so Made By Dawn was born. The label’s collections are distinctly feminine, rendered in soft-hued tones and boasting demure ruffles that serve to emphasise the pieces’ sultry lines.
WET THE LABEL
Wet the Label are one of our favourite sustainable brands. Their covetable swimsuits are made entirely from a special techno-fabric, derived from post-consumer materials, while natural dyes are used to create earthy tones and produce hand-painted illustrations. Mel Wehrli, the label’s founder, cites her Mauritian upbringing as the source of her devotion to sustainability and a harmonious relationship between humans and our natural environment. Each of Wehrli’s pieces are made to order, via her sumptuous Instagram, to ensure minimal waste. A truly conscious approach to design that’s a joy to support.
The one-stop shop for all things swim, sun and SPF, Nu offer a masterclass in larger-scale sustainability, with a fully traceable supply chain and all materials sourced from the US, Italy, Japan and Brazil. 98% of Nu’s swim fabrics are derived from recycled fibres and emit 0% emissions into the atmosphere during the manufacturing process. To top it all off, founder and designer Gina Esposito has created a collection that is as comfortable as it is beautiful: Nu swim ripples over the body, hugging curves in all the right places.