With a vision focused on promoting Australia’s unique flora and fauna through fashion, KOOEY is an Australian swimwear brand incorporating varying elements of the Australian landscape into its prints and designs.
Its name is a phonetic derivation of the Australian bush-cry ‘cooee’, which can carry a considerable distance.
Extending its reach beyond local shores, the brand has appeared on runways at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim Miami, Los Angeles Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week events.
Lead designer, Nikki Silverthorne, describes the KOOEY style as classic bordering on edgy, with a fusion of trend-focused and traditional elements.
NSS Editor, Michelle Larin, recently caught up with Silverthorne for a brief chat about her patriotic swimwear label.
Q: Nikki, tell me about you as the designer. What fuels your passion for swimwear?
A: I don’t think it’s possible to live in Australia and not be drawn to our beautiful beaches and lifestyle. My desire for swimwear comes directly from my passion for summer and the beautiful country in which we live.
Q: What philosophy does the KOOEY label embody?
A: A major part of our philosophy is promoting art through fashion. For example, many of our collections heavily feature indigenous art from print artist Anne Hanning, with each collection focusing on a different area of Australia. By using her prints, the wearer is literally wearing a piece of art that depicts Australia, its culture and lifestyle, which is what we are all about.
Q: How do you describe your brand’s style and fit?
A: We offer on-trend pieces from season to season, but also keep with the traditional cuts that flatter a woman’s body.
Our swimwear is well structured utilising underwire, padding (often removable), control mesh lining, and adjustable straps. We firmly believe that every woman has a different shape, so we try to offer various styles of swimwear to suit all body types.
Q: From what fabrication is your swimwear made?
A: Our swimwear is currently made using Carvico Italian Lycra, which is a very high quality fabrication.
Q: Tell me about some of your past swim collections.
A: Our ‘Ningaloo’ collection was inspired by the Ningaloo Reef in the far north-west of Western Australia and its regular visitor, the Whale Shark.
We also had a ‘desert’ collection which was inspired by the desert in and around Alice Springs. This collection was close to the heart of our print artist Anne Hanning, as she is an eastern arrernte painter. You could say our prints were a bit more traditional for that collection.
We have also had a collection inspired by the birds of Australia and our current collection is influenced by opals.
Q: What do you think it takes run a successful swimwear label in Australia?
A: It’s important for any brand to stay true to its philosophy, especially in today’s tough retail market. Australian swimwear is considered some of the best in the world, so it’s key for us at KOOEY to maintain high quality swimwear, but also at an affordable price.
Q: Describe the essence of the woman who wears KOOEY swimwear.
A: Put simply, the KOOEY woman is someone who enjoys life and is comfortable in her own skin.
Q: Define 'Australian beach culture'.
A: I think Australian beach culture means something different to everyone, however I would say it’s our laidback approach to life. That is what generally gives us Australians a happier outlook.
Q: What do you love most about Australian summers?
A: That we all go outside and enjoy the sun! There are so many places in the world where people retreat into air-conditioned spaces when it gets hot. We go swimming!
Q: If KOOEY was a woman, where would she spend her holidays?
A: Anywhere near the ocean.
Q: What is beauty?
A: Beauty is how a women feels on the inside. If you don’t feel beautiful on the inside, then you will never look beautiful on the outside.
KOOEY swimwear has featured in various fashion and lifestyle publications including InStyle USA, People USA, Vogue Australia, Harper’s BAZAAR Australia, InStyle Australia, Madison, Cosmopolitan, Cleo, Dolly, Qantas and BOX.
For a list of stockists, visit: www.kooey.com.
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