Gabrielle Scollay – Beachwear Designer

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Bennetts Head local, Gabrielle Scollay, recently designed a new beachwear range. We caught up with her to talk textiles and kaftans.





Did living near the beach provide inspiration for your summer range?

Absolutely. Growing up, we were at the beach every morning before school, straight back after school and all weekend. Forster really has the most beautiful summer lifestyle, and that’s what our S/S ‘12 collection is designed around – luxury comfort. It’s a collection people can wear to the beach and also head straight out to lunch or dinner in. Each design is a limited release, to prevent everyone from ending up with the same outfit and also allowing people to feel unique and experience exclusivity.

Swimwear has undergone a dramatic evolution over the years … how has swimwear changed?

Like all fashion, swimwear has taken a full circle. Styles that are popular now, like palazzo pants, playsuits and scarfs were originally designed by Jean Patou, Hermes and Coco Chanel in the 1930s. However, the materials and print varieties have changed dramatically. Imagine attempting to swim in flannel or wool! These days, women do love to wear small bikinis, but beachwear like kaftans, loose tops and flowing pants allow us to feel beautiful and sexy, while being stylishly modest.

Where do you source your textiles?

We purchase our materials in Australia, and we always try to use Australian made where possible to promote local trade and keep our carbon footprint to a minimum. Sometimes with materials that aren’t available locally, like silk, we purchase through importers with a focus on fair trade. We always do a lot of research to ensure we are doing the right thing ethically. My mother and I did volunteer work in a reputable manufacturer’s factory in Indonesia for a month, to experience the conditions first hand. Some of the conditions in the third world factories are appalling, so we felt it was important to locate and support the companies that do the right thing. Fair working conditions and minimising our effect on the earth were major factors in our decision to manufacture our garments locally.

What sort of materials do you use?

This collection is all about comfort and flowing fabrics, so we chose to use silk, rayon and cotton, as they’re natural, light and soft.

What beachwear items should every woman have in her beach bag this summer?

Always pack sunscreen and water! Plus, a waterproof camera to capture every moment, a beach top or kaftan to throw on when the sun is at its strongest, sunglasses, a towel, book, iPod, and take a volley ball or badminton set – there’s no better way to keep your summer body in shape.

Where and how can people buy your range?

Just jump onto We will also be at the Saltwater Freshwater Festival on the 26 January 2012 with other local indigenous artists.

A little bird told me that you’re also an actress and have starred on well-known Australian TV shows. How did you get into acting?

Ha, ha … yeah… When I was 16, I was signed by an agency looking for new talent for ABC TV’s series, Blue Water High. I was really lucky to be cast as a main character, giving me the opportunity to work with some amazingly talented and kind people, whom I continue to work with on various Australian productions today. I think the next thing to come out that I’m in is the second series of Dance Academy in early 2012.

How will you be spending your time over the Christmas break?

Definitely at Forster! I will be rotating between the beach and my studio. I’ll definitely be enjoying all the amazing fruits, like watermelon and pineapple that go with summer. At night, maybe some dinners at Reef Bar Grill or Aztec and cocktails on the lake at Bee 52.

Thanks Gabrielle.

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