For the last 15 years Australian fashion label Bassike, known for its minimalist, androgynous aesthetic, has helped define the modern Australian wardrobe. Founded by Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan in 2006 as a small pop-up boutique in Avalon, on Sydney’s northern beaches, Bassike has mushroomed into a handful of standalone stores across Australia and is now stocked by more than 60 retailers worldwide. Despite its success the sustainably minded brand has never forgotten its roots.
“The northern beaches is definitely the spiritual home of the brand – it’s where I grew up, the location of our very first store, and where the Bassike office has always been. To me, the northern beaches really encapsulates the laid-back Australian lifestyle and the relaxed but elevated way we like to dress,” Sams tells Broadsheet.
Part of the brand’s vision from the get-go has been its unwavering commitment to sustainability. Bucking trends and seasons, it instead concentrates on key investment pieces and hard-working staples, such as high-quality Australian-made organic cotton tees and shirts, drop-crotch pants, jumpsuits, sustainable denim and chic jersey basics.
“Mary Lou and I started Bassike back in 2006, as we noticed a gap in the market for quality, design-led wardrobe essentials,” says Sams. “Organic cotton wasn’t widely used at the time, so this was a conscious decision for us when developing our very first collection – we still use this same, exclusively designed, jersey fabrication today. We also knew we wanted to support local industry by making our garments onshore in Australia.”
Coming full circle, the brand opened its flagship boutique in the heart of Avalon last year. (And it recently launched a new store in Double Bay.)
“I have always lived close to the ocean, and I am constantly inspired by nature in my creative process. I design the way I like to dress, and I think that sense of utility and androgynous ease that is present in all Bassike collections comes from the surf culture of the northern beaches, and Australia more broadly,” Sams says. “Things too have changed as the northern beaches community has evolved, but our ethos remains centred on authentic clothes, honestly made, and I think the vibe and style of the area that I loved as a child is still intact and continues to inspire me every day.”
Sams shares with us her top five favourite spots in the northern beaches.
“Classic Coffee. They make the best coffee and chai in town, and the location on south Avalon headland can’t be beaten. It truly feels like home, as I always bump into someone I know to catch up with while I’m waiting.”
South Avalon Headland, Avalon
“Barrenjoey House in Palm Beach. It’s such an iconic location on the water, [and it] has a great menu and a fantastic cocktail list that I love to explore on a beautiful and balmy early summer’s evening.”
1108 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach
Your go-to spot
“Pizzico Italiano in Avalon. They serve the best Napoli-style pizzas. It’s very low-key and perfect for takeaway after a busy day.”
1/48 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon