Designer - Palm Swimwear
5 MINUTES WITH ….
KAT FUREY, CREATIVE DIRECTOR – PALM SWIMWEAR
How did you decide to make a career out of swimwear design? Was designing always in your career plan?
I have always been a hands on person. From a young age I have always loved to paint and draw. It wasn’t until my later years I realised I could do something I really enjoy as a career, so pursuing design as a career has always been something I have wanted to do.
I learnt a lot from studying fashion and design at Curtin University for a year and working in marketing a few years later. Both led me to creating my own business and brand. Swimwear came about naturally I guess, as a Perth girl, born by the coast and with a love for the sea. I also love the concept of swimwear being functional as well as fashionable.
When you first starting designing, who was your muse? Who were you designing for?
To be honest, at the start I was designing for myself. My partner and co-founder Ben and I spent a lot of time in Bali, hence swimwear was an essential part of my wardrobe. We wanted to create a swimwear line that was classic, chic, stylish, and simple. We felt there was a gap in the market for swimwear that stood out in a more understated way.
We have always been quite particular when it comes to high-quality fabrics and classic minimal design in garments, so we tried to emphasise this throughout our swimwear designs. We both believe in designing sustainably, not just through our choice of using recycled fabrics, but also through classic cuts and monochrome palettes that don’t date quickly.
Can you describe your creative process? How do design ideas come to you? In what kind of environment are you most inspired creatively?
I would say that most of my designs are influenced by my travels, research (I am currently undertaking my undergraduate in Science with some Design units), old movies and everyday life. Our design process is usually collaborative, but most of our ideas are first sketched or brainstormed on paper from a concept or story. I am naturally most creative at night, so I used to design at all hours, however I’ve lately been trying to get in the habit of designing during “work hours”. Natural light, greenery and open spaces suit me most.
You launched in 2014. How have your designs evolved since starting the business?
I would say at the start, they were sportier. We used more mesh and did more crop styles in our first collection. Our second and third collection became much more refined and classic. The idea is that swimwear is a functional garment, steering away from superfluous designs and modernising the classic swimsuit. Mass-produced, disposable fast-fashion today means that clothing is more-or-less designed to keep up with the latest fad and it therefore loses its classic appeal.
You use Econyl in your designs, which is a great social and environmental choice. Tell us about this and how it enhances your lines?
Each swimsuit is made from ECONYL recycled nylon which is material regenerated from waste plastics and old fishing nets to create a material that is fully and endlessly regenerable.
Ben and I both study on the side of PALM, and our study focuses heavily on the environment and community. This naturally influenced us to start sourcing materials on the market that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable. It's great to see the market changing towards more sustainable business practices and products that are more available to independent brands like ourselves.
We want our bikinis to last; not only through simple, smart design, but by also sourcing recycled Italian fabrics that endure longer wear than standard materials. We were excited to source fabrics that were not only longer lasting and more resistant to UV and chlorine damage, but were also constructed from 100% recycled polyamide made from post-consumer materials.
Quality and sustainability are two things important to us and we are always looking at ways to improve both these areas as our brand evolves.
What, or who, inspires you?
My mum. She’s the happiest, most patient person I have ever met!