Naomi Collings: Bridging Culture and Craft with Kamara Swim

Naomi Collings: Bridging Culture and Craft with Kamara Swim

Naomi Collings is a celebrated name in the First Nations fashion community, known for her exceptional swimwear brand, Kamara Swim. Fusing culture and craft, Collings has crafted a brand that not only stands out for its style but also for its deep cultural roots and commitment to sustainability. Naomi Collings: Bridging Culture and Craft with Kamara Swim

Naomi Collings: Bridging Culture and Craft with Kamara Swim

This month, Style Up caught up with the talented designer to discuss her new collections, expanding business ventures, and Kamara’s national growth.

Having recently showcased her designs at Brisbane Fashion Festival and Melbourne Fashion Week in 2023, Collings has propelled Kamara from one opportunity to the next. The brand has had a bustling start to 2024, with Collings focusing on making Kamara export-ready for international retailers.

Naomi Collings: Bridging Culture and Craft with Kamara Swim

“The start of the year (2024) is always Kamara’s busiest time in terms of sales and shipping orders for customers over warmer months – and it has been a longer summer feel than usual. Although there’s no time for a breather, it’s also the time we develop an exciting new collection and expand styles,” she said. “We’ve also been involved with partners to expand into new markets, particularly focusing on making Kamara export-ready for international retailers.”

Collings has launched Kamara’s newest collection titled “Universe,” which recently walked the runway at Pandora’s Australian Fashion Week.

“Universe is a story of the space we surround ourselves with. It could be a place of infinite possibilities, where we can explore endless optimism. We make our own Universe of calm and peace, or one of risks and thrills,” she explained. “Our choices are what make us, and it’s important we make choices that bring us and our planet peace, so it can take care of us as we take care of it.”

For the new Universe collection, Collings collaborated with Yaggerah artist Jenine Godwin-Thompson, her aunt. This partnership brought a unique and personal touch to the collection.

“For the Universe collection, we’re honored to feature a collaboration print with Yaggerah Aboriginal artist and my Aunty, Jenine Godwin-Thompson. This has been a special opportunity to work with family. We draw inspiration from the inspiring creatives around us, and Aunty Jenine is an incredible talent and an important figure in our Universe,” she said.

Godwin-Thompson’s artwork, “Birth of Earth,” is a vibrant addition to the Universe line. “It’s the beginning of life in an explosion of color. The vibrant hues of fuchsia and orange, married with a dark background of indigo and onyx, are both a celestial dance of stars against a night sky and a reflection of the deep, colorful layers and natural beauty of the earth which takes care of everything within,” said Collings.

Godwin-Thompson shared her inspiration: “My work is from the heart. I love creating works from my experiences and travels into remote communities. My inspiration comes from my culture, as well as my passion for spaces – both natural and man-made. These small, delicate works are my interpretation of the fertility of the earth.”

The Universe collection features a range of classic silhouettes, each with Kamara’s exclusive prints and long-sleeved, signature cuts. The collection also introduces new styles, including a fit-completing sarong and a highly anticipated jumpsuit. In keeping with Kamara’s commitment to sustainability, the new collection includes the brand’s first completely recycled one-piece, named Onyx.

“Onyx is our most daring yet durable piece, matching sustainability with comfort and beauty. It’s challenging to balance, but the reward means so much to us, our customers, and the earth,” said Collings. “Onyx is made with ECONYL® regenerated Nylon from the Healthy Seas initiative – a fabrication that’s elegant, fine, soft, and breathable. It offers muscular compression, comfort, and UV protection (UPF50+) while resisting chlorine, sun creams, and oils.”

Similar to all Kamara pieces, Onyx is lined with recycled polyester elastane using REPREVE® – an eco-friendly green fiber made from recycled single-use bottles. The Onyx one-piece has been selected as a finalist in the 2024 Clean + Conscious Awards, highlighting Kamara’s dedication to sustainable fashion and ethical manufacturing.

Alongside the new collection’s release, Kamara was thrilled to participate in the Indigenous Fashion Projects Pathways Program and feature on the catwalk at Australian Fashion Week. This partnership now sees Kamara available through David Jones for an in-store Kamara experience in addition to their online store.

“It’s a stride towards our goal of being a leading socially and environmentally responsible swimwear brand,” said Collings.

While Kamara has already achieved significant success, Collings has ambitious plans for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025. “We are excited about our next collaboration to feature alongside Kamara’s next collection to release this Summer. In addition to our own exclusive print development, collaborating with fellow First Nations creatives for a feature print is one of the best parts of Kamara’s process for each collection,” she said. “For us, it is important to continue to shine a spotlight on the incredible talent of First Nations creatives in Australia. It’s important for sharing and protecting culture through growing respectful partnerships in the industry.”

Naomi Collings and Kamara Swim are not just making waves in fashion but are also fostering a deeper appreciation for First Nations culture and sustainable practices, setting an inspiring example for the industry.

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