Vintage Inspired Swimwear
100% designed and made in Australia and founded by Miho Arai who worked as a lingerie designer for 7 years in Tokyo, Japan before moving to Newcastle to begin her new life and her swimwear label in this Aussie paradise.See our handpicked guides to Newcastle
BY ALICIA POOLE
It’s almost the start of the Summer season and that means it’s time to pull your swimmers out of hiding and get ready to wear them to death. But maybe, you’re like me and your swimmers of last year are a little worse for wear and you’re in desperate need of some new togs. Well, we've just found a new, local, swimwear brand that you’ve GOT to check out.
Myriam Swim is Newcastle’s newest locally designed and made swimwear brand, brought to you by Miho Arai. Miho, originally from Tokyo, has called Newcastle home for the past three years after falling in love, and recently marrying Joel, a Newcastle local.
“I met Joel in Japan about five years ago. We were dating in Japan but had decided to move to Australia together. The original plan was to move to Melbourne, but I think he [Joel] was missing his friends and family in Newcastle. At that time, I wasn’t sure if Newcastle was going to work for me, but here we are; and it’s been really great,” Miho told me.
Miho studied Fashion Design in Tokyo then worked as a lingerie designer for seven years in two of the world’s most bustling cities; Tokyo and New York. Building up her career and creative ability in the lingerie industry, the dream of starting up her own label was always bubbling away in the background.
“I had always thought that I wanted my own label, but I knew I wanted a change from lingerie. So, I decided to do swimwear. With lingerie, it’s always hidden, but I wanted to be able to show off what I was creating.”
After moving back to Australia, Miho was joining her partner Joel, an avid surfer, on his trips to the beach; something she hadn’t had the chance of doing back home in Tokyo. After visiting beach, after beach, after beach, Miho struggled to find swimwear that she fell in love with.”
“I found that there wasn’t a lot of swimwear that I really loved. The Japanese swimwear was too cute for me; too many frills. I did like the design of imported swimwear, but they were also a bit too revealing and sexy for me. So, I thought to be able to design swimwear that I would like to wear and share that with others would be good.”
So, following the couple’s recent move back to Australia, Miho had decided that it was indeed, the perfect time for her to pursue her dream of creating her own swimwear label. But where to start? She knew no one and had absolutely no connections to the people she needed to make this dream happen.
“I was struggling in finding a design, and a pattern maker as well. It took over a year to find the right people. I found them through friends of friends and then I was ready to start.”
Now to the name, what exactly does it represent?
“The name just came up in my head one day, so I googled it. It turns out that there is a woman called Myriam in the bible and there is a story. When there was a war, she led women to freedom. She spread the sea and led the women by singing and dancing. I saw this beautiful story, and I thought that this woman is independent, smart, and fun which is who I see wearing these pieces.”
With a love for vintage clothing, and a passion to create swimwear pieces that reflected her own personal style it was only going to be a matter of time before she teed up something with the range of incredible creatives that Newcastle has to offer. Now, Miho is currently working with a locally based talented pattern maker, as well as an experienced swimwear maker in Sydney.
“I have worked with Bronte and Caitlin who are both local photographers. As well as some local girls, Heidi and Juni who modelled the last collection, and Ailie from Maker Store & Studio modelled my latest collection. They are all awesome and it has been really fun working with them! This business makes me feel connected to the local community which I think has been a big help with feeling at home in Newcastle.”
Just over 12 months ago, Miho had started a conversation with local artist, Kiasmin.
“I also work at Cafe Inu at Carrington, and Kiasmin is a regular customer. I knew her face, but I didn’t know she was an artist. When I went to the Olive Tree Market, where she had a stall. We talked about what she does and what I was planning to do, one thing lead to another and I think we’ve just had a lot of fun collaborating.”
This collaboration is the most recent collection launch for the MYRIAM Swim range, and we’re pleased to announce that you’ll be able to check it all out in the flesh at the Olive Tree’s upcoming Market happening on the 16 November.
So, what design is your favourite Miho?
“I think the high-neck top is my favourite. The design, even when I was designing lingerie, is quite conservative compared to typical Australian swimwear. It covers your skin in the front but has an open back. I really like that balance of conservative and a touch of sexy. It shows my swimwear concept really well.”
Above photo by Caitlin Schokker