Ashton Smith has always been a water baby. Surfer-girl and tanned goddess, she tells us how she dreamt swimwear label Farron Swim to life in her home of Stradbroke Island, ahead of the launch of her new Spring Summer 15/16 collection.
So how did Farron Swim come about?
Well, I grew up on North Stradbroke Island, so I have been a water baby from day one. My dad was a professional surfer and my mum a dedicated beach babe, so my upbringing was practically beach first, home second. I've lived my whole life by what the waves are doing, thanks to my dad. One of the earliest memories I have is of my sister and I in matching bikinis when we were little and never wanting to take them off! So I think, even back then a bikini was a very important part of my life.
What inspired you to start your label?
The swimwear market has become somewhat saturated in the past few years, and yet I still struggled to find a basic black bikini. I started thinking about my own style and how I like to dress and it really came down to good-quality basics. That's when I saw a gap in the market to create timeless chic basics in prints and styles that transcend trends, cut in highest quality fabrics in cuts that mould and frame your body.
Why the name, Farron Swim?
It’s a play on "fahrenheit", which is a term to measure heat. When it’s hot you swim, right?
How would you describe your designs?
Well thought-out basics. A focus on quality in fabrics and flattering cuts with an essence of timelessness.
Your Instagram following has nearly 13,000 followers, how do you feel about this?
Instagram is a funny game, there is so much emphasis on it these days. I really don’t put too much thought into it, I like my Instagram to reflect our moodboard and style. But I 100% appreciate the support - social media is integral to any brand’s success in this age so I’m grateful to have a growing platform.
Do you have a particular approach to designing?
No particular process, between seasons I save a lot of pictures on my phone, trawl blogs and style.com and sketch. I can’t give away all my secrets but it is a process.
What can we expect from your upcoming SS15/16 collection?
I'm really proud of this new season. I've grown and learnt so much as a person and as a brand, and I think that really reflects in our new season with a few more grown-up silhouettes, and just building on our aesthetic of basics. Watch this space early October!
Tell me about your recent collab with Buckley The Label?
Buckley The Label is designed by Candice Gill – we're very best friends and literally started our business from day one together. Buckley's brand values are based on quality, exceptional cuts, sharp tailoring with a sexy French rock-and-roll vibe, which I love. We were around at her house casually discussing print options and she pulled out her paisley design and I instantly saw it on a bikini.
You’re based on Stradbroke Island, how much of your business is carried out on the island?
I'm probably one of the few people that can say they are a true Stradbroke Island local and I'm pretty proud of that. I love my home and feel incredibly lucky for the life I live. We're transitioning from a mining-based economy to a tourism-based economy, so I try to keep as much of my business on the island. I design every piece from my home. My website, logo and lookbook were all designed by a local lady (Stradbroke Design) and I shoot my campaigns locally, staying at the most stunning local accommodation, Stradbroke Hotel, who are a huge support of Farron Swim.
What materials do you use in your designs?
We use imported nylon/spandex that's specifically sourced for us; we find it has a soft second-skin feel, double lined so it won’t dig and holds colours and prints perfectly.
Do you see your label expanding in the future?
We have expanded this season into ready-to-wear coverups which I am really excited about and we're working on something big for an October announcement.
60 seconds with Ashton...
Describe your off duty style…
Good basics. Bassike tees and singlets, Ksubi denim, Isabel Marant shoes or Havianas and my Celines.
When you're not working we'll find you…
I’m always working, but I try to surf as much as possible in my favourite Deadmans top and Flinders bottom set.
Tea or coffee?
Straight or curls?
Depends on the day, but my hair usually decides itself.
Cats or dogs?
My doggy, Subi.
Early mornings or late nights?
Early mornings. I love an early morning walk or surf to start my day which usually sets me off with a clear headspace to get through my day.