What do you do when you can’t find a simple black bikini anywhere? You start your own swimwear label. At least, that is what Kat Furey did. Furey is the creative director of Palm Swimwear, an Aussie sustainable swimwear label making waves since 2014. Having already been spotted on the likes Cara Delevingne, the label is killing it. Furey began by studying fashion design at university, where she always dreamt of having her own label. Fed up with the swimwear available to her in Australia (or lack thereof) Furey decided to make her own. “I started making swimwear for myself because I found it quite hard to find a simple black bikini. I couldn’t find anything.” She sourced some tailors in Bali and the relationship grew naturally from there. Palm’s designs are made from 100 per cent recycled post-consumer materials, meaning it’s a brand with an ethical conscience.
“It’s something that’s quite hard to maintain sometimes, depending on the resources that are available to you. I guess I’ve always aimed for sustainability and ethical practices.”
Palm is mainly produced in Indonesia, where such practices can be a little more challenging.
“The main challenges, particularly for small independent brands and smaller budgets, is having access to sustainable resources. They tend to be a little bit more expensive. But I think what you’re seeing in the industry now is not just change from brands but also supply chains. They are all working to be more ethically minded so they’re putting more pressure on the supply chain to provide more sustainable fabrics.”
Change isn’t just occurring in the brands and the supply chains, it also has a lot to do with the consumer. “It’s about the public and people being aware of how things are made and where they’re getting made."
“It’s about people asking suppliers questions about who is making this, and just being aware of the true cost of buying a $5 t-shirt and just thinking, ‘is this sustainable in itself?’" Basically, it means consumers having an ethical conscience as well as brands.
“Sustainability can mean different things to different people. We’ve travelled from Australia to India to Indonesia and we’ve had really interesting insights into how the fashion industry operates in different places. It’s about learning about different cultures and the different way people work.”
For Palm, working together is easy. With a 2017 Summer collection on its way and potential growth into apparel in the future, there’s plenty more to look for than a simple black bikini.