Making Waves

Words Cleo Glyde – Photography Florencia Olsson

There is a practical side to swimwear that lets us stay active, but the new Central Coast label SUZU conjures so much more than boring laps in the pool. A palette of chartreuse, pale yolk and dusky pink, as pretty as a twilight sky melting into molten gold, screams ‘fun in the sun’. “I wanted the line to reflect colours of life in Australia,” explains Su-Elise Nash. “The yellows and greens capture the sunshine, sand and all the foliage at the beaches here.”

The SUZU collection has a distinctive retro flair, with golden clasps, signature prints and resort-style silhouettes, such as one-pieces with cutouts. Different shapes suit different body types: bandeau and triangle bikini tops, string or full bikini bottoms.

Sustainability is also a pillar of the SUZU brand. Positioned as eco-wear, the collection uses recycled waste collected from the ocean to create more earth-friendly fabric. SUZU means ‘bell’ in Japanese. “I wanted to be part of the solution. When my research revealed that lost or abandoned fishing gear, nets and plastic waste on the beach can be recycled into gorgeous fabrics, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” she says.

Su-Elise feels a profound attachment to the beaches of her adopted home, where she lives with her partner Ryan and son Blu. It’s literally a world away from her beginnings in South London, where she found fame in the early 2000s Brit girl group Mis-Teeq, alongside Alesha Dixon and Sabrina Washington.

“I was born and raised in South London, and was just a teenager when I joined Mis-Teeq,” she says. “I met the girls, deferred from university, and had my first Top 10 hit by the time I was 19.

Our debut album was released in 2000 and we were living large. It was a rollercoaster, but a fantastic life, too.” It was her previous experience working at Gucci’s flagship Sydney store that forged her love affair with luxurious Italian fabrics. “I wanted to source the best sustainable fabrics in the world, test how they feel on the skin and keep elasticity, and craft my own print with my house logo. I wanted this collection to reflect the water but not sparkle too much.”

When it was time to shoot the SUZU campaign, Su-Elise reached out to her own circle, including mums and Coast-based girls from her gym. The campaign was shot at Spoon Bay in Wamberal.