Katherine & Margaret Hampton are an unstoppable Mother-Daughter duo from Sydney, NSW. Their label, Camp Cove Swim has taken Australia's swimwear standards to a new level, focusing on the celebration of women's bodies through locally designed & well made swimmers for every shape. We sat down with the Hampton's to talk about bathers, bodies, and the joys of running CCS.
Duckfeet: Hello girls! How are you today?
K: Busy, but very well thank you!
M: Very well thanks!
Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do?
K: I am the owner/designer of Camp Cove Swim. I live/work in Redfern, Sydney with my partner and two other mates.
M: I am a part-time fashion teacher at the Hunter Institute of TAFE and I help Katherine with production.
How did you get into designing and making swimwear?
K: I’ve grown up watching Margaret teach and sew my entire life. I was a competitive swimmer during my school days and the old speedo’s just wouldn’t cut it for me. I need sparkles, I needed frills and Marg was the lucky lady that got the job of bringing my 10 year old brain’s creations to life. I have always loved the water and loved designing clothing and prints so the two go hand in hand. I was working in the buying department of a fashion accessories company and had job offers from another swimwear label but I just knew that I wouldn’t be truly happy until I pursued my own brand.
M: Through my love of swimming and teaching students I have come to teach myself the special techniques it takes to put swimwear together. I was always sewing swimsuits for Katherine and my other daughter Emily for them to wear at swimming training and swimming competitions and offered to help Katherine in making samples for Camp Cove Swim.
What do you love about Camp Cove Swim?
K: My favourite thing about the brand is getting to see other women feeling confident and looking beautiful whilst wearing one of my creations. Our hand-illustrated prints are something that I also love about Camp Cove Swim. There really is so much love and creativity that goes into designing our prints and that is something I am super proud of!
M: Their individual specialized prints! You can’t get the same prints anywhere in the universe and I think that’s very special.
What’s difficult about designing & making swimwear?
K: You definitely don’t have a very big canvas to work with but I think that’s what I like most about swimwear…it’s the littlest thing that can make the biggest difference in design and fit. It’s also difficult trying to design something that suits a wide variety of figure types. We want as many ladies as in as many shapes and sizes as possible to rock our designs.
M: Working out how to assemble the garment in the unique style that we do…which is having all the seams and elastic finishing enclosed. Some other swimwear labels make their designs this way but it a relatively new technique so I had to teach, investigate and experiment myself.
Where do you find inspiration?
K: This is one of the hardest questions! Sometimes not even I know where my concepts come from. Something small like a particular colour I see in an image can trigger the creative button in my brain. But nothing beats people watching on the beach as a swimwear designer. I love seeing everyone’s ‘beach get up’ as I call it. What do they bring, what do they wear over their swimsuit, do they put their swimsuit on at the beach or wear it under a dress, cheeky bottoms or high waisted! That’s the ultimate!
M: Sourcing international magazines and looking at construction techniques in different retail stores.
How does Camp Cove Swim celebrate women’s bodies?
K: This is one of my biggest motivations behind the brand. With everything the brand portrays I am always conscious of celebrating women’s bodies in as many shapes and forms as possible. Being a positive role model on this issue is one of my personal morals that come through in the brand. We do not want to be a part of the body shaming culture (which can happen to smaller and bigger girls) that can come hand in hand with running a fashion label. We want to encourage women to dress to please themselves, not everyone else!
M: Camp Cove swim loves the booty! Trying to cater for different sizes and by showing off a little more booty with the cheeky cuts we are showing women that is it ok to flaunt your favorite bits!
What’s up next for Camp Cove Swim?
K: Golly sometimes not even I know what’s next. The business is changing and growing so quickly that it is hard to keep up! We have some travel plans for the next few months, more photo shoots with some extremely talented creatives and we are working towards using more eco-friendly fabrics! So stay tuned!
M: I’ll be working on the new samples for the northern hemisphere summer range soon and producing more of the current range as the styles have selling out so quickly!