With over 200,000 supporters across her social media platforms, Swarnaa Rajalingam has gained quite a following thanks to her entertaining and inspiring content about body image, representation and being a South Asian woman. Now, the Sydney-based content creator has launched her own swimwear range, that seamlessly champions those issues that she's passionate about.
Swana The Label is the first South Asian-founded sustainable swimwear line in Australia. It boasts bright and bold prints inspired by Southeast Asian culture, and most importantly, comfortable and stylish designs to suit an array of shapes and sizes.
Having grown up in a Tamil community in Sydney, Swarnaa's navigated the challenges of embracing Aussie beach culture while facing expectations around the way women present themselves in public. It's because of this that she's spent the past four years researching and working on this monumental collection, which aims to help brown women connect with their bodies and culture at the same time.
"Growing up in Australia, swimming is a massive part of our culture," Swarnaa told Draw Your Box. "That has been a massive influence on my interest in swimwear and wanting to create a collection that serves different body types and also celebrates our culture.
"We were one of the first communities to actually embrace the feminine body, gender fluidity and sexuality, but over the years things have changed due to various different reasons," she explained. "We want to really be able to encourage women to be able to be proud to wear swimwear and be out there and enjoy the water."
With a mixture of one-piece swimsuits and bikinis that vary in cuts and go up to a 4XL in size range, the collection has kicked off with a signature green and blue colour scheme teamed with an intricate print featuring elephants, leaves, feathers and swirls.
"We're marrying our culture into the prints and we're creating pieces that celebrate different body types and hopefully empower people to be outdoors enjoying their lives to the fullest," said the entrepreneur. "We have worked really hard on our pieces to make sure that we're catering for different concerns such as women wanting a little bit more coverage, or women that have maybe a bigger bust and a smaller waist and find it hard to find pieces that are more supportive."
While representation and diversity in the fashion industry is evolving, runways and swim campaigns have long featured models who are predominantly tall, skinny and white. Pair this public perception of beauty with the stigmas within conservative ethnic cultures, and many women of colour have been left feeling unseen and unworthy of slipping into a stunning cozzie.
"I've also been a part of this community where we used to think that swimwear just wasn't for us because we might have a certain body type that's not necessarily represented by swimwear, or swimwear's just not designed for us," said Swarnaa.
"Whether you're busty or whether you're in a bigger body, or whether you are differently-abled, sometimes you just feel like you're missing out. There is just not enough representation.
"So, the key message is everybody deserves to live their life to the fullest. Everybody deserves to feel like an absolute goddess. Everybody deserves to live it up, go to the ocean, do their thing and feel incredible – and that's why we're creating this collection."
For more details about Swana The Label, click here.