Alyshia Morris, founder of Shade Swim. Images supplied.
Alyshia Morris founded Australian-based swimwear label Shade Swim in 2018 with a focus on sun safety. It’s a personal cause for Alyshia who was diagnosed with two stage 1 melanomas in 2013, which was the catalyst for inspiring her to launch her brand. She is a big fan of the outdoors and a mother to three active kids but couldn’t find a swimsuit that was not only sun safe, but also stylish and supportive, catering to the change in her body shape after having children. As she couldn’t find anything that ticked these boxes, she decided to create her own label and Shade Swim was born.
We caught up with Alyshia to find out more about Shade Swim, what inspires her creatively and what her top tips are for being sun safe?
What inspires your swimwear designs and can you tell us about your favourite pieces?
The Endless Summer collection was inspired by the Hollywood icons, Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner and Bridget Bardot. I wanted to create an elegant and flattering swimsuit that would cater to every female body shape. I loved how they oozed style and sophistication all in their own way, no matter their shape.
It’s hard to say, but given my history with Melanoma my favourite piece would be The Grace long sleeve in the leopard. It’s timeless, yet fashion forward and offers fantastic coverage from the sun.
What makes Shade Swim special and what has the response been like to your brand?
A major point of difference for Shade Swim is that we are made locally here in Brisbane, ensuring our garments are ethically made to the highest standard. We also use a high quality UPF 50+ sustainable fabric, which has allowed our brand to stand out. The response to this has been overwhelming and I think the customer really appreciates buying locally made, sustainable fashion. We find women comment on how flattering the swimsuits are when they try them on. They love how it supports them in all the right places, while still being stylish and most importantly sun safe.
Why is it important to you to manufacture in Australia and what are the ethical values for your business that inform your decisions?
For me the decision to manufacture in Australia was easy. From the very beginning I wanted Shade Swim to be locally made in Brisbane so that I could work closely with the team to ensure the quality and workmanship was outstanding and to build a great relationship with them. I wanted to avoid wastage and being able to work closely with the manufacturer allows us to have low quantities in stock and make pieces as needed, therefore there isn’t wastage or too much stock. It’s also great to be able to know who is making the product and ensure it’s ethically and locally made.
Swimwear by Shade Swim.
How do you balance the creative and business demands of your role in your brand?
I outsource when needed. I believe you can not be in charge of running every single thing in your business, you will burn out very quickly. I know what my strengths are and I use them well. I have a very good vision of what and where I need my brand to grow. I love the creative and design side and then outsource other areas, where I work closely with other local businesses who can help Shade Swim grow. We all have a great relationship and communicate well. Having weekly meetings is great to make sure everyone involved is on track.
What are your top tips for being sun safe?
– Wear a Sunscreen 50+ and re-apply every two hours
– Make sure you wear a hat – preferably a wide brimmed hat to cover face, neck and ears
– Sunglasses – should be polarized
– Avoid the heat of the day 10am till 2pm / if you must go out ensure you are in the shade
– Swimwear – must be long sleeved UPF50+
– Everyday clothing – try to ensure your chest, back and shoulders are covered if you’re in the sun and longer pants and skirts are a good option (and on trend)
You can get more of our sun safety tips on the blog on our website!
What are your top tips for looking after swimwear?
– Rinse in cold water after wearing
– Squeeze out excess water
– Dry flat in shade
– Wash in a lingerie bag when required on cold wash on a gentle hand wash cycle
Looking ahead what makes you excited about the future?
I’m really excited to see Shade Swim grow even more, every year is that little bit better. We are in the planning stage of creating some new designs which is very exciting. I love seeing women out at the beach and by the pool wearing my swimsuits and embracing the Shade Swim style and sun safety message.