shapes in the sand is an eco conscious swimwear label that is handmade in australia using eco printing and 100% regenerated materials collected from landfills and oceans like nylon contained in old fishing nets. I spoke with alex the founder of shapes in the sand about recycled plastics, eco printing, capturing the aussie bush, and rehabilitating koalas in need.
how would you describe your label?
shapes in the sand encompasses the beauty of nature, helping to ensure it’s beauty remains. I’d describe it as a playfully sustainable label, with a fresh transparent take on the australian swimwear industry.
what inspired you to create your own eco conscious swimwear label?
I remember when I was a little girl I would collect these colourful stink bugs from the trees outside my place in sydney. I’ve always found nature fascinating. I was inspired in my second last year of studying fashion design and production where I became really passionate about swimwear design. I had heard of these sustainable fabrics which were at that stage quite popular in the usa but not so much in australia. fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles and discarded nylon fishing nets, helping to clean up landfills and our oceans. in my last year of studying I managed to organise sample size board short fabrics made from recycled plastics to use for my final major work, where I founded shapes in the sand. I really wanted to find a regenerated lycra for swimwear however had no luck during that time. it was when I began establishing shapes in the sand that I was opened to a new way of looking at the fashion industry.
what sets shapes in the sand apart from other sustainable swimwear labels?
with a focus on prints which are designed to create awareness for the environment and to be as environmentally friendly as possible with every step involved within running the business, shapes in the sand is also made ethically and locally. with looking after the environment as the driving force behind this label, we are always looking for uniquely sustainable ways create collections as well as the day to day running of the business. this season I decided to experiment with eco printing for a collaboration with wires wildlife rescue. eco printing is where prints are created using leaves and natural dyes which are printed onto natural samples fabrics. I had never seen this type of printing on lycra before. the initial design being on a natural fabric had to be created into a repeat print for printing on the regenerated lycra. It turned out to be very interesting and unique.
what was the inspiration behind the latest collection ‘spirit of the bush’?
the aussie bush and childhood memories of may gibbs snugglepot and cuddlepie. inspiration has been drawn from australia’s beautifully diverse birdlife and some of the most unique flowers & trees including my favourites, the gumnut blossom and scribbly gum. by using real eucalyptus leaves in the eco dyeing process, I wanted to capture the australian bush as authentically as possible through my own unique interpretation. the imperfect lines and outlines of leaves represent the scribbly gum forests, where the indigo blues are a symbol of the cloudless australian sky when you look high above the trees.
what is the wires project and how is shapes in the sand involved?
the wires project was created as part of the spirit of the bush collection, to help raise awareness and fund a koala care facility for the unique disease-free colony of koalas who live along the sydney basin. to ensure their survival they need a dedicated facility where they can be rehabilitated appropriately. shapes in the sand has designed an exclusive print, using an eco dying method, with the natural dyes drawn from eucalyptus leaves. reflective of the australian eucalyptus forests, home to many colonies of koalas the design titled ‘scribbly gum’ brings the spirit of the bush to life, illustrating its incredible beauty. $25 from each purchase from the spirit of the bush collection will go towards building a koala care facility for wires, to help care for and rehabilitate koalas in need.
what is your favourite tip or piece of advice for greener living?
green is not something you can buy. green is a way of life. treasure everything, live sustainably in the best way that you can. make it, grow it and do all you can with what you have.