There was a time when your only options for swimwear were found in a surf shop and covered in frangipani print.
Nothing wrong with it if that's your vibe, but for those of us who prefer solid colours and more understated designs, it wasn't ideal. In the last few years, though, a few New Zealand designers have brought some more diverse style to the game. These days you can look like yourself at the beach, and it's thanks to brands like Lonely, Simma Studios, Emma Ford, and Moochi.
That same combination of practical concerns and limited options led Victoria Carran to start Simma Studios last year. The fine arts graduate wanted to start her own brand, but went travelling first to get an international perspective."
"It was just such a huge confirmation that there was a need for a brand that wasn't Rip Curl, or falling off you, or covered in flowers and frills," Carran says.
Simma Studios comes from her own struggle to find flattering swimwear that suited her style, and it works. Carran isn't trying to be all things to all people while her brand is still so young.
"I use myself as my fit model," she says. "When I was doing all the sampling, I was trying everything on and if I felt hot in something I'd be like, yes that's done."
While that does mean she hasn't yet made suits that work for women with larger busts, that's in the pipeline.
For the meantime her minimal, sleek suits and bikinis rely on cut and colour for their impact. It also helps that Simma suits will stand up to some abuse.
Carran recently heard from her first online customer, who said that in six months of regular wear and not-so-regular washes, her one piece looks brand new.
The designer puts it down to the high-quality fabric she uses. It's worth spending a bit of cash, she says.