Making a splash!





My swimsuit journey officially began on the last day of first year fashion. It was the day our Avant-Garde pieces were due. We turn up with twenty broken needles, many red raw fingers, tears, cuts, Thai takeaway boxes and white faces from the lack of sleep. I was a broken woman…. well almost.

With heavy eyes and black bags for a face, I listened intently to the introduction of our next challenge, this being the eponymous swimsuit.   Soon we would be dealing with fashion on a slightly smaller scale involving stretch. And so, at last swimsuits had saved me from the vicious sea of fabric!

It was then we all embarked on summer break sourcing inspiration left, right and centre. I spent most of my time along the south east coast of NSW and then further inland to Kosciusko National Park. Kosciusko National Park is an outstanding area with glacial lakes, limestone caves, grasslands and woodlands. Spending time there enabled myself to understand how much the surprising, everyday beauty distracted my mind from stress and worry normally associated with city life.

'Dead Horse Gap' (Kosciusko National Park)

'Dead Horse Gap' (Kosciusko National Park)

'Perisher Valley' (Kosciusko National Park)

'Perisher Valley' (Kosciusko National Park)

Not long after my trip, I came across a quote found in the fashion magazine, ‘Mirage’ that accurately summed up my thoughts…

“We are drawn to the social doctrines and design elements that define a new way of thinking and exiting worlds that result from this. Yet we are equally intrigued by the surprising everyday beauty of the ordinary…” Mirage Magazine, 2009.

This was really the starting point for my research. I wanted to know more about the meaning behind this quote so I began looking into WGSN which led me to the idea of “elusive” as a concept…

“The constant evolution of coastal daylight sets the mood for this dreamscape look, using light as a medium to create surface interest. A predominantly contemporary look with a powerful inner spirit, consideration is required to achieve pared-down perfection. Look towards technology and fabric innovation to create forward-thinking silhouettes and print finishes.” WGSN.

It was perhaps the soft and loose imagery that supported this definition that resonated with me the most. I began collecting images that portrayed these mood-like characteristics looking through magazines, newspapers, family photographs….the list goes on…..

Tom Sandburg's photography was incredibly inspiring to my work

Tom Sandburg's photography was incredibly inspiring..

Tom Sandberg

'The Pirelli Calendar Album', Tom Sandberg

Photographed by Derek Henderson

Derek Henderson's photography

It was interesting to see where my head and heart led me in this stage of the research. As I cut down my collection of images to a handful, most had interestingly depicted a sense of serenity and freedom – something of which I had experienced in my travels. ‘Escapism’ would define this well…..

Escapism es·cap·ism (noun)
1.    something such as fantasy or entertainment that makes it possible to forget about the ordinary or unpleasant realities of life for a while
2.    the act of indulging in daydreams or fantasies to escape from everyday reality

I looked into many avenues that related to ‘Escapism’  in order to find a trend and concept that would fit appropriately with the woolen mermaids brief.

I found ‘Escapism’ within:

  • Today’s technological and urban existence. Industries have been specially developed to foster people’s desire to escape from the rigors of daily life. Principal amongst these are music, sports, films, television, role-playing games, recreational drugs, the Internet and within fictional literature. ‘Escapism’ can also be linked with the normal, everyday parts of our lives such as eating and exercising (meditation for example).
  • History. Neoclassicism is a movement that began in the mid-eighteenth century. It formed through the reaction against the exuberant Rococo style and an outgrowth of some classifying features of the late baroque. From these movements, grew a minimalist style that celebrated the refined and geometric forms of Greek and Roman antiquity. This style showed in architecture as well as in fashion. Women dressed in thin, transparent, white cotton with few or no undergarments. This romantic style of dress appeared again in the current trends for spring/summer 2009 on
  • Annette Kellerman. Annette Kellerman also offered this idea of escaping the old and re-inventing the new with a defined sense of minimalism. Kellerman revolutionized the traditionally heavy sea dresses into ones practical for swimming.

My translation of the trend, ‘Escapism’…..

'Escapism' Trend Board

'Escapism' Trend Board

I get really attached to simple images and these were the ones that resonated mostly with me. I especially love the girl holding a sash in the wind. It defies freedom, sensuality, essence, naivety and fantasy that together spell escapism at its best……


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