Inspired by the beauty of the Aussie bush, Shapes in the Sand is an Australian sustainable swimwear brand using fiber derived from discarded nylon ghost nets found at the bottom of the ocean and other waste from landfills.
The Shapes in the Sand office can be found nestled in a little bush haven amongst the Gum trees complete with a family of banana eating water dragons, a breakfast stealing kookaburra, sultana hiding currawongs and stamping brush turkeys.
Founder and designer Alexandra Dash wakes each day to a pair of Lorikeets demanding their buffet breaky before her day in the beautiful home-based office.
“Waking up to this really sets me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Working from home in such a beautiful location keeps my head clear and it’s where I come up with ideas for new collections. Depending on the time of year a typical day will vary. Working on new collections from home, my manufacturer who is based locally, the post office sending off your orders, lunch at the beach, whale watching at Avalon, meetings with stockists, to name a few. No matter how busy a day I always find time out amongst nature”.
Currently in it’s third season, Shapes in the Sand has grown into a leading name in the sustainable fashion industry. Using only eco-friendly materials and ethical manufacturing processes here in Australia, this ethical fashion brand ensures the well being of people and the planet every step of the way.
“The whole sustainable fabric idea was fascinating to me in the early stages (and still is). A fabric derived from plastic bottles or discarded ghost nets seemed so surreal. Technology today is really something special. Being able to create a fibre from waste, and then make it into a fabric that still has all the properties of the highest quality XtraLife Lycra, with a softness like no other is just incredible!”
Anyone who has ever shopped for a swimsuit knows there are literally thousands of brands out there most of which are manufactured in developing countries with no traceable supply chain. For Alex, manufacturing in Australia, knowing who was making her designs and building a great working relationship with them was important.
“One of the biggest challenges when I started Shapes in the Sand was the initial setting up and at the time the researching of sustainable fabrics and being able to access them. Ensuring that the business is as eco as possible took a bit of time to establish too. In a cut throat industry where there are so many swimwear labels and much unethical behaviour taking place. The choice to have Shapes in the Sand swimwear handmade locally in Australia was always on the cards right from the beginning”.
Alex is incredibly passionate about supporting conservation and not-for-profit organisations and is developing some exciting new ideas for projects as her journey continues.
“Shapes in the Sand has partnered with WIRES Wildlife Rescue for a project to help raise awareness, and fund a Koala Care Facility for the colony of Koala’s along Sydney Basin. Without a facility these koalas won’t be able to receive the proper attention needed if they are injured or orphaned. It’s projects like this that inspire me to keep moving forward to help create a positive difference for the planet”.
5 questions with Alex-
What made you want to create this seasons collection?
The Australian bush is such a unique and diverse environment. It’s rich in beauty, colour and Australia is where I was born. I grew up reading May Gibbs Iconic Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie and one of my favourite flowers is the Gumnut Blossom so I wanted to incorporate the things I love into this collection.
Your favourite piece from this collection?
The Blossom Dancer Cheeky Lace up Pant is one of the favourites. The Lace up detailing allows you to adjust for a perfect fit. Although I absolutely love the Blossom Dancer print, it’s also reversible to the Charcoal colour way making it a versatile choice for those who like to mix it up a little.
What are 3 things that define your brand?
Sustainably Shaping Swimwear
Advice for starting a sustainable business?
Be as transparent as possible. Having a sustainable business you need to make sure your message is loud and clear and that others can see that it is truly a sustainable business and all the processes involved are fair. Create an organic and fresh image for your business. Your brands image is everything and how its portrayed is how we all see it.
Your best tip for living a more sustainable life.
Plastic Free is possible.
Start reusing and get those single use plastic items out of your life. I take my Reusable coffee cup wherever I go. Cafes are more than happy to fill it up. Lunch containers are perfect for reusing and when purchasing something bring your own bag.
There is an awesome community based organisation called Boomerang Bags, where volunteers are sewing beautiful bags for communities to use.
We have started using them in our suburb and they circulate around the community. from shop to house and back again! (hence the name Boomerang) You can find out more and see if they are in your area here.
Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability educator. She started The Green Hub in 2015 and has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education platforms dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable life, talking about the big environmental issues like climate change, plastic pollution, and fast fashion – showing people how they can have an impact through their own small daily actions and how to be part of the bigger environmental movement.