If you should spot a Liandra Swim bikini on the beach, you would likely be struck by the dotted layouts. Through her collections, she combines her native history along with her love of beach attire. “The entire purpose was to utilize swimwear as a boat to discuss stories about native Australia, and share positive narratives around indigenous Australian girls,” she states. “it is a very different life [there],” states Gaykamangu, who is now based just outside of Sydney. “It is still very much conventional. Cultural practices are still in position, and the speech is spoken every day.” She spent her childhood going to the shore, along with her continuing love of swimming eventually forayed into launching her own swimwear brand in January 2018.
Before she started her brand, she was a high school educator and taught herself the way to make clothes. She finds joy in fusing her culture’s traditional elements with a more sudden design aesthetic. One of those traditions is sustainability; Gaykamangu says that she had been always taught to honor the ground. (The packaging can also be 100% compostable.) Most of the designs are reversible also, encouraging her customers to buy less, re-wear more.
“It is definitely modern,” she says of the brand. A signature motif of Liandra Swim’s one- and two-pieces are their picture prints, which Gaykamangu creates digitally herself. Her”dotted prints” are a spin on dot art, a favorite form of painting that originates from native tribes in Australia. Many of the prints have a deeper meaning behind them that acknowledge her tribe’s history. “The blue represents the water, because it had been via our water and our oceans that those changes arrived ” During the design process, Gaykamangu says that she focuses on integrating colors and prints that will complement an assortment of skin tones. “I am always thinking about my canvas, which is women,” she states.
Every bathing suit style is named after a native woman Gaykamangu finds especially inspiring, such as physicians, painters, and celebrities. The Jirra top and bottom, by way of example, is named after the Yorta Yorta-Wiradjuri woman Jirra Lulla Harvey. “She’s a person that I believe is a positive role model–not just for native girls, but for [everybody ].” When clients buy a bit, they receive a card telling them of the women who inspired it. “There’s some really groundbreaking work that native girls are doing, not only in remote communities, but in our inner cities,” she says. “I did not feel there was sufficient light being shed on that”
While her lineup sheds light onto her indigenous culture, Gaykamangu simply hopes that customers will find something special in her layouts and that they also learn something new. “I wanted to be able to showcase how versatile indigenous Australia is,” Gaykamangu states. “We’re oftentimes expected to stay in a given field where we could be distinguished, whether that be tourism or in an art gallery. Our culture can be celebrated in so many distinct ways.”