SNRKLBR Swimwear embodies the cheeky, bold 21st century woman, with a healthy balance of modern-vintage charm. The brains behind the operation, Laura Smith, launched the brand in 2015 on the shores of Byron Bay. Since then, SNRKBLR has expanded along the east coast of Australia, providing the perfect vintage swimwear for those who still want to shop local. From the beaches of Brazil to the waves of New South Wales, Laura opens up about her design inspirations, the challenges of being a newcomer and some of her short-term goals for the brand.
TEO: What vintage vibe does SNRKLBR communicate that could not otherwise be shared through modern-day designs?
Laura: I love that in the ’80s and ’90s—particularly in the ’80s fashion got really bold; women had big hair and big shoulder pads and everything was a statement. I like to think SNRKLBR is kind of like that. Bold and individual—but without the shoulder pads.
I was really inspired by my own vintage swimsuits I’d gotten at the op shop and worn out. I had maybe four one-pieces and I’d loved them to death—they were so stretched they’d fall off me in the surf but I couldn’t get rid of them because I couldn’t find anything I loved as much to replace them. So, I thought maybe other people out there wanted them too and I made them.
Have you considered expanding to everyday wear?
I’ve thought about it. My boyfriend wants to start a denim label and I’m like, ‘sick! Let me design some pieces for you’. I’m super excited about the idea of designing non-swimwear things, but I’m pretty busy right now—it’s summer so I think I’m going to be flat out for a while.
After finishing school, you’ve done a lot of travelling. Are there any particular locations that have influenced your designs?
Brazil definitely has a lot to answer for in terms of the cheekiness of the cuts. My main memory of Rio is getting to the beach on the first day in Brazil and seeing the women there; they had these incredible, strong bodies and were wearing nothing but a g-string. To me, it was so exotic and made me realise that Australians were actually pretty conservative at the beach.
What encourages you to keep going when faced with business challenges?
Oh my God, things go wrong all the time and I lose my shit. I overreact a bit, which probably isn’t the best trait of an entrepreneur. But I’m pretty stubborn and I don’t like failing, so I push ahead and in the end I’m relieved I didn’t just give up, and realise I may have over exaggerated the problem.
What are some of the things you’d like to achieve with SNRKLBR Swimwear this year?
I have lots of new ideas for cozzies which I’m dying to make happen. Aside from that, I’d love to spend a bit more time getting creative with the brand. I feel like the SNRKLBR image is so much more defined than previous years, so it would be cool to channel that into more photoshoots and collabs.
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Photos: Karl Barron (centre) and Marisa Taschke (top and lower)