The Australian Label to Shop Now Before Summer

Think back to last summer with long lazy days spent on the beach (we know, distant memory, right?), and chances are you spent a good portion of the day style-stalking and subconsciously shopping for your next bikini. Our bet? You spotted at least one Zulu & Zephyr bikini.

The brains behind the bikinis (plus an amazing range of ready-to-wear) are sisters Candice Rose O’Rourke and Karla Rose—directors of Australian brand Zulu & Zephyr. Since the label’s launch in 2012, it’s quickly become a go-to for its unique shapes and prints, relaxed silhouettes, and retro feel. This year will see the label expand to the U.S., and after its fast and considerable growth in Australia (240,000 Instagram followers and counting), we predict it’ll be embraced with open arms.

To celebrate the label’s S/S 16 collection, we caught up with Candice and Karla to discuss how they launched the label, and what we can expect next. Keep scrolling to read our interview and peep the new campaign.   


Akila Berjaoui for Zulu & Zephyr Spring 16 

Who What Wear Australia: As sisters, what has been your experience launching a fashion label together?

Candice Rose O’Rourke and Karla Rose: We love working together! Side by side we juggle our professional, personal and family goals, whilst supporting and challenging each other every day. First and foremost we are sisters so there are some heated moments and sibling rivalry at times, but we’re also great friends and business partners so there is a whole lot of love and support in between. 

WWW: Have there been any set-backs or hurdles? Do you have any advice for anyone wishing to do the same?

CR and KR: There have been rollercoaster moments—highs and a few lows and plenty of loops and bends. But we troubleshoot as best we can, when we can and work through any issues with integrity and a swift approach. For others looking to launch their own business, we would tell them that there is no time like now.

WWW: Talk us through what you did to get your brand off the ground.

CRO and KR: Our initial success came down to a few key moments. Firstly, meeting buyers face to face and sharing our story in a real light.  We have close friendships with boutique owners who took a chance on our label from the beginning and we cherish these relationships. Secondly, our design team is true to the Zulu & Zephyr aesthetic each and every season—consistency is crucial, whilst also introducing new ideas and concepts. We don’t follow trends; we create what we feel the Zulu & Zephyr girl will love.  On top of this, we have a loyal and like-minded social media following who understand our message of intertwining fashion with an amazing lifestyle.


Akila Berjaoui for Zulu & Zephyr Spring 16 

WWW: In five short years, your label has quickly and quietly become a go-to for influencers. Why do you think this is?

CRO and KR: We truly feel that the influencers we work with do so because our brand is an extension of their own lifestyle.  There is a mutual respect for one other as creative people who love what they do each day and get to work on something that is authentic in a sometimes-unauthentic world.

WWW: And what is it that sets Zulu & Zephyr apart?

CRO and KR: We have a small, humble team who are in touch with our original ideas and concepts. Our story hasn’t changed; it’s just growing bigger. We’ve quietly developed the brand each collection, which has attracted customers, retailers and influencers alike. Our product speaks for itself, which makes us incredibly proud. Zulu & Zephyr is a mix of swim, resort and lifestyle wear and while it’s coastal inspired, it can be worn by anyone, anywhere.

WWW: What do you think it is about your brand that resonates with Sydney girls?

CRO and KR: Sydney is a seaside city, so it works incredibly well for the customer who lives by the sea. We also have amazing support from our country clientele, as well as international buyers and girls who don’t just think of us for swim—but also as their denim/knitwear/ready to wear go to.


Akila Berjaoui for Zulu & Zephyr Spring 16 

WWW: Can you tell us how quickly one of your best sellers has sold-out and what it was?

CRO and KR: Our Palms Harness Bikini in Olive ($130) was, and is still, a huge success. This signature harness bikini, with its ribbed textured lycra was a beautiful, non-fussy swim style that sold out across the country in days. Customers will be glad to hear the Golden Harness Bikini ($160) will be available in Marigold this August.

WWW: We’ll be counting down the days! What has been your most memorable moment so far?

CRO and KR: Shooting with wild animals for our Ranger campaign for S/S 16 was a huge career highlight, as well as teaming up with one of our favourite photographers Purienne in 2013.

WWW: We love your S/S 16 campaign! What’s do you predict will be the next big trends in swimwear?

CRO and KR: We like to keep things simple—classic cuts, with hints of vintage prints and an offering for all different shapes. For S/S 16, we touch back on harness shapes and earth-inspired colours, inspired by a modern safari girl, challenging the inner expeditionary.

WWW: And lastly, we have to know—what is your vision for the brand in 2016? What can we expect next from Zulu & Zephyr?

CRO and KR: Zulu & Zephyr launches throughout the U.S. in 2016, and will continue to cater for our local girl with an amazing S/S 16 collection. We’re launching an in-store visual magazine which will be available at exclusive stockists this July, and we’re releasing a summer campaign completely filmed and photographed in house by this little sister duo. Further to that, you can expect a ton of fresh ideas and designs from our small and creative team who want to deliver something beautiful for each collection for many years to come.

You have your blue denim shorts already, so add baby pink as a fresh update.

This earthy stripe print is exclusive to Zulu & Zephyr so you won't see it anywhere else.

We predict you'll see this bikini everywhere come summer.

How will you be styling your sandals into autumn? Share in the comments below.

Opening images: Eleanor Pendleton of Gritty Pretty and Brooke Testoni

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