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Fashion for Cause: Bikinis on the Coast

Fashion for Cause: Bikinis on the Coast

The Gold Coast has one of the most recognised beach cultures in the world. With world-class surf breaks, white sandy beaches, and glorious sunshine year round, we are known as a land of beaches, babes and bikinis. It is no wonder then that we happen to produce some the best bikini fashion across the globe.

This sensational beach culture is not all sunshine and lollipops, however. The sun loving and salty lifestyle may seem casual and carefree to the outsider, but it has a very large impact on society physically, emotionally and environmentally. Two of the Coast’s leading swimwear manufacturers are each doing very different but very wonderful things to make this renowned beach life fundamentally better.


Salty Soul Surfwear is an environmentally conscious company that promotes earth and ocean sustainability with their products. The materials used to produce their costumes are derived from ethically sourced Japanese limestone, as well as recycled fishing nets from nylon regeneration company, ECONYL. In the fishing and boating world, it is undeniable the impact that abandoned fishing nets have on our marine life. With the help of ECONYL, Salty Soul Surfwear is turning this landfill and ocean waste into durable fibres to create gorgeous and highly functional pieces of beach-life fashion.

Priscila Gonzalez, founder of Salty Soul Surfwear, came up with the vision of creating a green alternative swimsuit in 2014, when she realised there was a massive gap in the local market for such a product. Passionate about beach culture, but also recognising the large impact we have on marine life and the coastal environment, she set out to design a product that not only looks gorgeous but also leaves less of a carbon footprint on the earth.

Priscila decided to partner with ECONYL and their innovative way of creating products from waste. “Their regeneration system can be endlessly repeated. They have different initiatives and projects to keep our oceans clean and transform all the waste collected into something that is not only entirely made of regenerated material, but are fully and endlessly regenerable. I just think it’s brilliant!

The whole process completely aligns their desire to uphold the qualities she was seeking in surf wear – durability, sustainability and style. “I decided to use this type of fabric when I started to research more about the fast fashion industry. It is so bad, I was in shock! That is why consumers need to make better choices and this industry urgently needs to evolve. Fashion companies must get to know every step in their supply chains and be transparent with consumers. In doing this, we start to take responsibility for them, including the safety of our workers and the impact we have on the environment.”

Keeping with eco-conscious trend, Salty Soul Surfwear also has a #buy1get1tree initiative. Inspired by the Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund in Western Australia, the teams plant one tree for every item purchased. Now, having teamed up with worldwide organization, One Tree Planted, they are not only sustainable in product, but also in profit. With a beautifully ocean inspired collection of swimwear, there is something for every body. “Our limestone based neoprene bikini sets and our

sleeveless one piece are great for boating and all water sports. Super comfortable and it won’t stay wet for too long. The idea is to bring that freedom feeling every ocean lover looks for. We cater to many sports, and of course, to every girl who cares about the environment and wants to feel comfortable doing what she loves.”


Saving the world one bikini at a time in a completely different fashion is Gold Coast Bikini guru, Karina Irby of Moana Bikini. If you are one of Moana Bikini’s half a million Instagram followers, or the 1M+ followers on her personal account, you would never in a million years believe that this blonde bombshell and absolute splash of sunshine would ever have been bullied through her youth. But indeed she was. A long-term sufferer of chronic eczema, it was Karina’s experience of insecurity and isolation that was the driving force behind Moana and more so, the ever growing Moana Army, which she has organically created along the way.

“I just wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin and I wanted to create something that made others feel the same,” says Karina. With a budget of just $800, she has built Moana Bikini from the ground up. Working a full-time job and then spending countless nights, studying design and patterning videos on YouTube until 3am, Moana’s first ever collection sold out in just 30 minutes proving that if your passion shines through, absolutely anything is possible.

Self taught, self funded and self promoted, Karina has worked tirelessly to build a brand that supports women of all shapes and sizes and absolutely relishes in the joy and happiness of her customers. “The customers are everything to me. I don’t see them as a transaction. They become part of something. Our VIP Facebook page has over 8,000 members and probably half of the girls aren’t even Moana customers. They are girls who want love and support. It has become less about the bikinis, and more about the community. But from a business perspective, that is what drives the company. To see them interact and the messages they send is just magical.”

Moana Bikini now has a health and fitness page that promotes body awareness, health tips, fitness and nutrition tips, and of course, just oozes self-love and happy bodies. No matter your shape, size, age, activity, Moana Bikini provides the goods for every woman. There’s a party on the beach and everyone is invited, with sun savvy options as well as their super cheeky and ultra bright pieces, Moana has every water lover covered. For the beach, boat and water sports, you can mix and match to find your perfect Moana combination to suit every sun and water-filled activity.

If you think the bikini business was just a conveyor belt of lycra, think again. These Gold Coast women are working hard to change the face of the industry, to protect our environment and to help build the confidence of women the world over. With summer just around the corner, it is time to think smart about the products we choose to spend these long hot days frolicking about. Check out Salty Soul Surfwear and Moana Bikini online for styles and information and feel good this summer, inside and out.


By Lowen Taylor


(Published in the Oct- Dec 2019 edition)



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