It was trying on a high-waisted bikini set in a dressing room back in 2016 that made Brisbane-based Australian designer Amber Boyers want to start her own swimwear line.
“Squeezing in one leg after the other, I can remember straightening up to face the mirror,” says Amber, who launched her sustainable swimwear label
“Recalling it now – it felt gross and restrictive – with fabric cutting into me in all the wrong places. I stood there thinking there must have been something inherently wrong with me, with my body.”
Many of us can relate to Amber’s story. Horror, shame, insecurity, self-loathing, disgust, embarrassment, guilt, these are just some of the emotions we women feel as we observe our reflection in the mirror.
In the change room, we go over every inch of our bodies looking for flaws and imperfections. Do my boobs look too small? Does my bum look too big? What about my thighs? Do my stretch marks show? Do I look too fat? Am I too old to wear this?
Driven to create something that would help eliminate these feelings for women, Amber put her design skills to good use, setting about to create a stylish swimwear line that was both flattering and well-fitting for women of varying sizes and shapes.
“My fashion studies helped me understand that ‘those feelings’ I experienced had nothing to do with me or my body – I just had to find a better swimsuit.” As they say in entrepreneur land, If you can’t find the solution, create it. And that’s exactly what Amber did.
With a philosophy “to empower women through design”, BAIIA’s eco-friendly bikinis and full-coverage swimsuits are designed for everyday women of all ages and shapes. The brand’s signature three-piece reversible and multi-functional wrap swimsuit is its most popular style and it’s easy to see why. From its timeless design, flattering bikini cut that elongates the legs, front V-style that enhances the bust and accentuates the decolletage, and a modest style that reveals just enough without revealing too much, the swimsuit would flatter most body types and shapes.
BAIIA, pronounced “bai-ah” which means “one who has the capacity to change the world for the better” is empowering women to feel confident, self-assured and love the skin they’re in.
But it’s not just women
During her study of fashion design, Amber became alarmed with the fashion industry’s exploitative production practices and negative social and environmental impacts so when it came to launching her own, she knew she would do it differently.
Unlike other swimwear often made with virgin nylon fabric, BAIIA features sustainable fabrics, premium Italian recycled nylon with fibres sourced from industrial and post-consumer waste such as recycled fishing nets, carpets, plastic bottles and other discarded plastic. With an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic waste making its way into our oceans each year, threatening marine habitat, being consumed by fish and marine species and killing them in the process, thumbs up to BAIIA for being a part of the solution.
Furthermore, the fabric is certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, a world leader in testing fabrics to regulate harmful substances. The brand uses eco-friendly water-based dyes which has achieved accreditation to the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS), OEKO-TEX® and CLEAR TO WEAR certification schemes.
Given Australia’s diminishing local rag trade and the subsequent disappearance of highly technical garment skills, Amber chose to manufacture in China with a company that prioritised ethics, environmental issues, sustainability and worker welfare, providing employees medical insurance and safe, well-ventilated and spacious working conditions.
“Australia has wonderful manufacturers for swimwear, but for our designs, sustainable fabrics and eco dyes, the only resources that were up to the challenge were in China.”
In just two years,
As part of our collaboration, I got the opportunity to test out the black and white Protea Reversible Wrapsuit.
Firstly, the 100% hemp fabric bag the swimwear came in was super cute. Printed on the bag in white were the words, “Swimwear for the woman of tomorrow,”. You mean swimwear for the woman of today, I chuckled to myself as I started climbing into one-shoulder piece first.
Now when faced with a three-piece swimsuit, one can feel a little overwhelmed, but there’s really nothing to it. It’s super easy once you know how it works. The brand has put together a video which shows how to put it on. In my case, I was lucky to have Amber demonstrate in person. Just climb into the largest piece first, then put on the second one so it covers the other half of your body and your breast is no longer revealed. The wrap piece obviously comes last.
With one side of the swimsuit completely black and the other side featuring a black and white hand drawn illustration of the Protea flower, I knew I wouldn’t have any problems with styling the swimwear since these
In addition, the swimsuit can double as a bodysuit or leotard. Throw on a sarong, skirt, denim shorts or linen pants, and you go from the pool or beach to the bar or dinner out, in a hot flash.
Climbing into the suit was a cinch. The size 6 fit as it should, not too tight, not too loose. My A-cup sized boobs and my 5’2 boyish body-type were magically transformed, the swimwear helped to create curves in all the right places and made me look taller. Looking in the mirror, adjusting the piece that wrapped around my waist and the deep-V so that it evenly sat across my chest, I could see why Amber had won that designer award. The style was super innovative and I looked friggin’ amazing!
Now truthfully, having my picture taken wearing swimwear isn’t exactly my idea of a fun time, since I find it difficult having my picture taken with clothes on even! But switching from editor-in-chief mode to wannabe model mode is certainly made easier when wearing garments I adore, from a brand that I absolutely believe in, by a founder whose vision I wholeheartedly support.
To view BAIIA’s entire swimwear collection or to make a purchase, visit baiia.com.au
Disclosure: This post is proudly supported by