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While we may not yet know what summer will hold, finding new ways to stay cool and look hot, whether for a beach trip or pool party, will likely come down to a few things: grabbing a swimsuit (the right one), some shades, and a can-do attitude.
We asked some of South Africa’s most-loved men’s and women’s swimwear brands to recommend their hot favourites for the summer months ahead. Whether you choose a slinky string bikini or a stylish high-cut full swimsuit; or for guys, briefs, swim shorts or boardies — pattern, print or plain — you’ll turn heads in any of these brands…
Cape Town-based designer swimwear label Gabrielle Swimwear is renowned for its exclusively designed prints and commitment to sustainability and slow fashion, providing quality, ethically produced swimsuits in a range of styles. Better yet, they’re sold as separates so you can find your perfect fit.
What’s hot this summer? “Showing more skin, lots more skin!” says Gabrielle Kool, managing director and designer, “higher leg cuts and cheeky, Brazilian styles are the popular choices this season. It’s all about showing off that booty, and more detail on the top areas. Think feminine prints, ties and straps etc.”
Proudly 100% South African swimwear (and resort apparel) brand BeachCult, is the summer-lovechild of designer Joanna Hedley and focuses on mindful, ethical start-to-finish production and design. Created from sustainable, recycled techno-swim fabric, with unique fits and one-of-a-kind prints, BeachCult is a much-loved and popular local favourite.
“In response to the ‘darkness’ of the pandemic,” Joanna says, “this summer’s swimwear collection is aptly titled ‘Colour Therapy’ with a range of positive colours in fabric made from recycled plastic and nylon — an attempt to lighten the mood and bring joy after such a tumultuous period in our lives.” Sexy bikini or a stylish full suit, you’ll be sizzling this summer.
Established in 2015, GiLo Lifestyle is a Cape Town-based online store with ethical and sustainable fashion at its heart. It began with Gina and Loren, two women with a love of fashion and the environment in equal measure; hence the name GiLo, pronounced Gee Low (It is also an acronym for Giving Love back to the planet). With a desire to change consumer mindsets and shopping habits, GiLo provides eco-friendly and stylish swimwear made from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean.
“South African men tend to be a tad on the conservative side with regards to their style,” says CEO, Gina Tarboton Dyer, “so, we thought we’d tempt them to tap into their wild side with a palette of vibrant African colour and pattern — especially the tiger!”
“Our theme this season is inspired by the return to the beach after a crazy year of being locked inside,” founders Adam Duxbury and Joshua Meltz say. “This is evident in our new Summer ‘22 range with references to ocean creatures, beach activities, and classic summer symbolism with a strong 90’s design influence to create a ‘Nostalgic Future’ capsule, with memories and swimwear made to last. This season, we’ve also introduced a new range of products including mesh cover-ups for the gals and cheeky briefs for the guys, and yes, the speedo is back in style — for good!”
Cape Town-based Chasing Bees is a small, family-run online enterprise with a big heart. Founded on two main footings; to deliver responsible products and live by ethical trade, seeking out local manufacturers when sourcing in support of small business development, sustainability and regeneration in the South African economy. In addition, the company also pledges support to the conservation of wild bees and pollinators through sharing a percentage of all profits with Ujubee, an organisation dedicated to the conservation of bees, integral to the health and biodiversity of our planet.
“Inspired by timeless design elements, this season’s swim shorts are a tribute to traditional nautical graphics, flamboyant florals and, of course, bees,” founder Jeff Liss says. And hot off the press, Chasing Bees has just opened a store at the Yellow Wood Centre, on Main Street in popular holiday destination Plettenberg Bay.
Images | Courtesy of BeachCult
Images | Courtesy of GiLo Lifestyle