Meet Casey — designer and founder of Hakea Swim

At HANDSOM, we’re easing through summer with the warm hues and subtle shades of sustainable swimwear label, Hakea Swim.

Designer and founder Casey Eastwell is very close to HANDSOM’s heart, having spent four years here as a graphic designer, before tackling the launch of her own label in 2017.

Hakea — pronounced hay-key-ah — is an Australian native plant genus known for its rare, diverse beauty and extreme resilience. Harnessing a close connection to the coast, and happily withholding Australia’s harsh heat, Hakea’s thoughtful and flattering designs reign true to their name.

Whether they’re worn as burnt-coloured basics or swimwear staples, Hakea pieces are designed to keep you safe from the sun — both in, and out of the water. Like HANDSOM, Hakea is focused on creating garments to love, and last.

Read our interview with Casey below —

What drove you to make the brave and bold decision to start your own swimwear label?  

You know the saying “find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life”? For a long time I didn’t really know what my passion was, but I knew I wanted to create a certain freedom within my life and work for myself. On my holidays I’d travel to warm places in search of swell and adventures and I found a real lack of sun protective swimwear I could surf in, that was flattering, functional and reflected my style. Over the course of a few years, and after sharing this same issue with a number of women, it felt right to start my own label and create the swimwear I couldn’t find anywhere else. I wanted to make flattering swimwear to empower women, by making the point that skimpy doesn’t always equal sexy.

As someone who loves to spend time outdoors, I wanted the brand to promote a connectedness to the ocean — and the importance of protecting it — by taking a slow and sustainable approach to providing high quality, multi-functional pieces that last. I feel like I’ve truly found what I am passionate about, and have now created the life balance that I had always hoped — one that allows flexibility, so I can to continue to travel and explore.

What do you think Hakea has started to represent in its short life — and, more importantly, what do you want it to in the future?

I think from the start, Hakea has always been about striving towards a simpler way of life, and to show that it is possible to carve your own path. Hakea is driven by the idea that ‘less stuff is more’, and enjoyment should be found in moments, not things. It’s about choosing quality over quantity and removing the emphasis from acquisition of material things towards a connection to the things in life that really matter.

We know that you choose to release small collections on an ‘inspiration-only’ basis, to avoid the overwhelming environmental impact of fast-fashion. What is it that often inspires you to experiment with new styles, colours and prints? 

I’m always inspired by nature, the colours in landscapes or the textures in rock formations. Usually new styles stem from listening to customer feedback and tweaking cuts and shapes, or when I’ve had a number of requests for a certain style. Other times new styles come from something I’ve found a need for myself, like our new linen blankets (coming soon). Since moving to Byron, I’ve found myself outdoors so often — at the beach or having picnics with friends — so I wanted to design a multi purpose blanket that is big enough to share, but can also be used to dry off with.

I really put a lot of effort into developing our cuts to suit a range of body types, while remaining multi-functional, versatile and sun protective — always in earthy tones, as inspired by the Australian landscape. I design practical swimwear that women can feel comfortable, but also beautiful in, and when worn with a pair of jeans can translate from the beach to the cafe without too much fuss.

—Why do you think HANDSOM is a good fit for stocking your swimwear? 

Handsom pieces are the versatile wardrobe staples that I imagine Hakea to be paired with. I think we share the same values and a laid back but put-together aesthetic. And, maybe not so surprisingly after all my years at Handsom, our colour palettes always seem to complement each other perfectly! 

I think we both have quite diverse customer bases, however our customers have many similarities — they are loyal, share our brand vision and are proud to support small businesses with whom their values and style align.

—How do you think Hakea Swim sets itself apart from the other swimwear brands emerging within Australia / throughout the rest of the world? 

I really put a lot of effort into developing our cuts to suit a range of body types, while remaining multi-functional, versatile and sun protective — always in earthy tones, as inspired by the Australian landscape. I design practical swimwear that women can feel comfortable, but also beautiful in, and when worn with a pair of jeans can translate from the beach to the cafe without too much fuss.

—After a long stint here at HANDSOM, I’m sure at one point our clothes would have occupied a large part of your wardrobe. What are your favourite pieces — old, or new?  

They still do! The white Balloon Pants and a black satin bomber jacket that I don’t think ever made it to production are old favs, still on high rotation in my wardrobe. My new favourite purchase are the Harry Pants in Chestnut. I can’t get enough of them! 

Shop our selection of Hakea staples here.