Bondi Born has bred a new take on timeless swimwear.
Founder Dale McCarthy and Creative Director Karla Clarke create elegant, sophisticated swimwear and apparel using only the finest quality fabrics and premium local craftsmanship. Don’t believe us? The certified B corporation uses advanced stretch fabric technologies to craft custom-fitting swimsuits, plus absolutely stunning apparel.
Bondi Born is known for its pared-back, sleek silhouettes that use three technically advanced swim base-cloths that deliver superior performance to optimize look, fit, feel and longevity, per the brand’s website. Swimsuits endure up to 10 times longer than competitors (are there even really competitors?) and uses 3D stretch material to move with your body both in and out of the water.
The majority female-owned and operated company is also carbon neutral and donates 1% of their revenue to non-profits. The Bondi Born motto is to “empower and inspire the summer style of women all over the world, while never compromising on quality, people or planet.”
Below, founder McCarthy exclusively discusses the latest Bondi Born collection with The Knockturnal.
The Knockturnal: What inspired you to found Bondi Born?
Dale McCarthy: When I founded Bondi Born in 2015 I was living in Bondi, the swimwear capital of
Australia and I felt there was a gap in the market for a truly luxury Australian swimwear
brand. Having lived and travelled broadly overseas, I knew there was international demand
for Australian swimwear but I felt no one was pursuing uncompromising luxury and quality
in an elegant, contemporary way.
The Knockturnal: Where do you find design inspiration?
Dale McCarthy: The genesis of our design philosophy is contemporary Australian design – elegant and
pared-back with no fuss. We see this expressed around us every day through Australian art,
architecture, interiors, food and film. Our Creative Director Karla Clarke overlays this with
inspiration from international fashion trends – often eveningwear – and finds ways to
translate these concepts into our swim silhouettes.
We don’t use prints, so powerful colour combinations are a huge part of our collections. We
look to nature and to holiday destinations, where are garments are often worn. The
Australian landscape has such a rich palette and offers endless inspiration! One of our past
collections was inspired by the earthy reds and brilliant blues of the rugged West Australian
coastline another from the vibrant flora and fauna of the Caribbean.
The Knockturnal: What is the theme for your latest collection?
Dale McCarthy: Our SS22 Collection, Luna, is inspired by the transient colours of the sky when the moon
replaces the sun on a hot summer’s evening. This gradual change from day to night is
embodied in a refreshing palette of complementary pinks and blues.
The Knockturnal: Who is the Bondi Born customer?
Dale McCarthy: The Bondi Born woman is intelligent and accomplished. She makes considered purchase
decisions and happily pays for premium design, quality and sustainability. She enjoys
international travel and takes pride in her appearance. However, she has a busy life with
work, family and friends so she appreciates the way we make it easy for her to pull together
her summer wardrobe. She feels a deep affinity to our brand values, and she seeks out
Bondi Born for our elegant design and the wonderful way our garments make her feel.
The Knockturnal: Where did your passion for fashion sustainability come from?
Dale McCarthy: In my personal life I’ve been “green” for a long time. I’m fanatical about recycling, buying
organic food and wearing natural materials and donating to green charities. But, in all
honesty I didn’t set out to be the sustainable swimwear brand. My goal was to create
exceptionally high-quality swimwear and to never compromise on quality. But as I began to
realise the choices that we had to make every day on things like fabric mills, fabric
composition, makers, trims and packaging, I realized that sustainable and ethical choices were always the best choice, to fulfill our philosophy of uncompromising quality as well as for people and planet. It has been an incremental process, but now we have integrated sustainable and ethical decisions and practices into every facet of our business. We became B Corp certified in 2020 and I’m very proud that we are one of only a handful of luxury
fashion companies in the world to have achieved this.
The Knockturnal: Please describe the process with consciously sourcing materials and then fitting and
Dale McCarthy: It took 3 years of intensive research and design to develop our swim collection into what it is
today. We sought out advanced stretch fabric technologies and had to learn what cuts and
construction techniques made them perform best on a woman’s body. We work with three
trademarked swim fabrics now. Each performs differently and serves different body needs
and each has 5 globally recognized eco-certifications. With our ready to wear fabrics we work closely with a handful of the best mills in Europe, Japan and Australia. Each is eco-certified and provide eco-certifications for their fabrics. Organic linen, organic cotton and sustainable cellulosics are always our go-to source of
We design, fit and make our garments locally in Sydney with a small, expert team. We have
a stringent fitting process between initial concept and the final product delivery. Every new
design undergoes three rounds of sampling and fittings and our designers, patternmakers
and makers who work closely together at each stage to ensure a superior result. To me the
thought of designing in one country and making in another country would be a huge
compromise on the end product.
The Knockturnal: It’s wild that each trim is hand-selected or custom made! What behind-the-scenes
details can you share about that feature?
Dale McCarthy: We invest a lot of time sourcing the finest quality fabrics, so it is important that the trims
also meet these exacting standards. For our design team this means working with local and
international suppliers to source the best trims for each garment, whether that is a
waterproof zip for our swimwear or hand dyed buttons to colour match our seasonal ready
to wear palette.
The Knockturnal: Where do you hope to see Bondi Born in 5 years?
Dale McCarthy: What brings me great joy is how passionate and loyal women are to Bondi Born. They truly
love wearing their garments and express great respect and appreciation for us as a brand.
Having shown at Australian Fashion week in 2019 and 2021 we have established a cult
following here in Australia and we are just beginning to see the brand breaking into
international markets, particularly the US, the UK and the Middle East.
In five years we hope to be showing our collections on the international Fashion Week
runways so that we can share the Bondi Born experience with more women of the world
and bring a little piece of contemporary Australian style to the world.