Melbourne duo Amber&Thomas make clothes, but their collection also includes swimwear. This is not something most designers do. Usually it’s one or the other, and if they do make swimwear it’s often an extension of the clothes and not really all that functional. Amber&Thomas are a fledgling range, their pieces elegant in their simplicity, but from the beginning they planned to include swimwear in all their summer collections – for the woman who wants to look as good and feel as comfortable on the beach as she does in her clothes on the street.

We had a chat to Amber Hourigan about her small range of simple swimwear pieces that sit rather well alongside her garments.

CC: Many women find it hard to find swimwear that fits, is comfortable and wearable at the beach. Did you find this personally?

AH: I did. It was a yearly struggle to find the perfect suit. So that’s why we chose to develop a line of swimwear. We hope that we have taken some of the angst out of swimwear shopping for the Amber&Thomas woman.

Who is the Amber & Thomas woman?

Our market is any woman who is into fashion, and wants her swimsuit to be a fashionable garment. The Amber&Thomas woman is chic, stylish and modern.

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Do you think Amber & Thomas swimwear is filling a gap in the market for swimwear?

I like to think so. It is for the woman who doesn’t want anything too skimpy, sporty or girlie; for the woman who wants to look as chic on the beach as she does everywhere else. Our swim collections are derived from our ready to wear collection each season. Many of our customers wear our swimwear as bodysuits – and that is a huge compliment.

Are your garments made in Australia?

Yes they are – we try, where possible, to support the Australian manufacturing industry.

Why did you decide to include swimwear pieces in your collection? Most people do one or the other, and when most people make swimwear, it is often an extension of the clothing and not really all that functional.

We actually started with swimwear before branching out into ready to wear, so we think we got the balance between fashion and function just right.

Would you ever extend the range to include clothes and swimwear for men? I find it particularly hard to find good men’s swimwear.

It is something we have discussed, and Thomas [Williams] – being half of Amber&Thomas – is definitely an influence during these discussions. I guess we will have to wait and see.

You were inspired by the elements wind, earth and fire for this collection (hence the name). What landscapes in particular inspired you?

We looked at many images of the Australian landscape, and also drew on our own travels. The colours of the Northern Territory were a great source of inspiration: the colour of the land and the flora and fauna are like nowhere else on earth.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Victoria?

Hmmm, that really is a hard one to answer, there are literally so many amazing places to choose from. However if I have to pick one I really love heading down to Portsea after a long hard week at work. It has a really relaxed vibe and it's only an hour and a half drive from the city! Plus the beaches and natural landscape are second to none.

Amber&Thomas is available in Melbourne at Green With Envy and Intial.