I'm Convinced the Best Swimwear Comes From Australia—These 6 Brands Are Why


(Image credit: @francescasaffari)

Francesca wears a yellow two-piece from Australian brand SIR.

It’s around this time of year that swimwear becomes relevant again. Unless you’re one to brave the English Channel in sub-10-degree temperatures, the idea of slipping on a bikini has probably been the furthest thing from your mind for the past six months. But with summer fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about the swim sets you imagine wearing as you lounge on beaches or sip piña coladas poolside.

While browsing this season’s swimwear offering, I’ve noticed that many of my favourite one and two-pieces have something in common: they’re Australian. It makes sense—from what I can tell, the beach is a huge part of the culture in the land down under. I distinctly remember my Sydney-born friend recounting how he spent his childhood Christmases barbecuing at Bondi Bay. Wild.

As a nation that boasts mile upon mile of paradisal coastline, presumably, Aussies spend a lot of time in swimwear. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that they know what they’re doing when designing them. Generally, the common theme seems to be an attention to fit that's sorely missing from regular high-street bikinis. No awkward side boob or unflattering briefs here. If you think about it, a swimsuit should hug the body like a second skin, so fit is a pretty important thing to get right. Below, we've spotlighted six Australian brands that we think have done just that, without compromising on style.

1. Peony

Peony is named after my favourite flower, but that's not the only reason I love this resortwear brand. With colourful collections featuring uplifting prints and romantic details, Peony's pieces wholeheartedly embody the spirit of summer. The label identifies as vintage-inspired—an aesthetic that shines through its faded floral bikinis—but there's also something distinctly modern about it. This season, expect one-shoulder cuts and halterneck suits that fit right in with summer 2023's biggest trends.

2. SIR

It seems like every influencer I follow owns a SIR swimsuit. I can see why—the selection below is just a sampling of how classic its collections feel. But that's not the only reason to consider a SIR design; if you're keen to protect the planet when making new swimwear purchases, you won't need to look further than this eco-conscious brand. The team collaborates with environmental non-profits in Australia and regularly donates samples and excess stock to Worn For Good, a charity with a mission to normalise circular fashion.

3. Matteau

Founded by sisters and Queensland natives Ilona Hamer and Peta Heinsen, Matteau is a brand you’ve probably seen before (even if you don’t know it). The luxurious beachwear has sailed into closets worldwide, including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s—the model has showcased one of Matteau’s beautiful broderie anglaise dresses on her Instagram. If that wasn't enough to hook you, I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear the brand also takes sustainability very seriously, prioritising the use of organic and recycled materials.

4. Zimmermann

Most fashion devotees will have lusted after Zimmermann's voluminous floral dresses at one time or another—we sure have talked about them enough—but it's the brand's eye-catching swimwear that we're particularly taken with right now. Think unexpected cut-outs and tactile fabrications. The label has been going since the early '90s, helmed by sisters whose exquisite designs have been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Kendall Jenner and Kate Middleton. If it's good enough for that A-lister line-up, it's good enough for us.

5. Form and Fold

Minimalists, let me introduce you to Form and Fold. Not only is this the brand to turn to for more affordable and understated sets, but it was launched exclusively with larger-busted swimmers in mind. If you're anything between a D and G cup, you'll know how difficult it is to find comfortable and supportive swimwear. But thanks to design duo Carly Warson and Stephanie Korn, you can now dive into holiday fun worry-free, whatever your bust size. As the name suggests, form meets function in these thoughtfully constructed pieces, be it an underwired one-piece or a wire-free bikini top. 

6. Zulu & Zephyr

Zulu & Zephyr offers everything from balconette bikini bras to basic one-pieces, adorned with simple prints that will slot into any holiday wardrobe. Born beachside in 2012, the brand has cultivated a global legion of fans who rely on its knowledge of lasting materials and expert craftsmanship. The founders cite 1970s Australian fashion as its raison d'être, drawing from nostalgic colourways and patterns to make each collection stand out. 

Next Up, 8 Summer Outfits to Throw On When You Just Can't Think

Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor. She started her first blog at age 14 and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor to Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and fresh takes on classic design.

In her spare time, Bébhinn enjoys perusing Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, working through her out-of-control book collection and watching dog reels on Instagram.