Introducing your favorite new swim brand from down under: Peony. The boutique Australian label fuses bohemian nostalgia with refined femininity to create swimwear made for chasing the sun. Hello – we’re in love! Its founder, Becky Jack, grew up in Queensland, eastern Australia with the ocean as her backyard, living in swimsuits for most the year. But despite this, her journey to fashion design was quite different: after doing a double degree in law and business, Becky landed a job at a top criminal law firm – a dream, right? Until it wasn’t. Becky found the legal practice unsatisfying, and she had a fire in her belly for something more, so realized she wanted to follow her true passion. Fast-forward six years, and Peony has gained cult status in Australia, with the US quickly following. The label is loved by global it girls like Bella Hadid, Lucy Williams and Yan Yan Chan.
This summer, Peony introduced its first sustainable collection, Narrative. The recycled Italian fabric is made by regenerating discarded materials, such as fishing nets recovered from the ocean floor. The process results in cleaner oceans and swimwear that’s good for your soul. Who doesn’t love that? Becky says the conscious shift stemmed from her genuine love for the environment and was a natural progression for the boutique brand.
To celebrate the launch of Peony on Golden Edit, Becky shares what it was like to switch careers and start her own brand, the inspiration for her latest collection, why sustainability should be at the core of every business, and her Byron Bay must-do’s – in case you happen to find yourself in that dreamy part of the world…
LIKE US, YOU GREW UP WITH THE OCEAN AS YOUR BACKYARD. TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPBRINGING
I had the most wonderful childhood. I am one of four girls and we all grew up in Queensland along the East Coast of Australia. Summer holidays were spent as a family at home around the pool or on holiday in Noosa or Byron Bay. I feel incredibly fortunate to have come from a very loving family.
WE'RE SO EXCITED TO WELCOME PEONY TO THE GOLDEN EDIT FAMILY! WHAT INSPIRED YOUR LATEST COLLECTION?
Thank you! We are so excited to be a part of the Golden Edit family. Our Resort’18 Poolside collection was inspired by sun-drenched photographs of idyllic poolside scenes from golden times. The collection is a celebration of natural beauty, escapism and the female form. The collection brings together tones of vibrant berry, chocolate and soft melon, which pair back beautifully with timeless neutrals. The collection showcases elevated detailing and a beautiful play on form and function – ruching, sash belting, tortoiseshell buckles and delicate cotton scalloping. Luxurious fabrications feature throughout, including sustainable Italian Lycra, a signature knitted jacquard stripe and, most notably, a debut knitted floral jacquard, Bathe, developed exclusively by Peony. All pieces are sold as separates and designed to mix and matching.
YOUR FIRST SUSTAINABLE COLLECTION LAUNCHED THIS YEAR - WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY MEAN TO YOU?
I am passionate about Peony’s transition towards sustainability and I believe we should all be working to make better, more environmentally conscious decisions in everything we do. This transition is a very natural progression for our boutique Australian brand. It’s been in the pipeline for over 12 months and stemmed from a genuine care and love for the natural environment. We want to feel good about what we do every day and once we started talking to our customers, we knew it was something they wanted too. To me, sustainability means making better, more informed and environmentally conscious decisions. The shift doesn’t have to happen all at once. I try to encourage others to take small, considered steps towards reducing your impact on the environment. Do your research and support small, independent and environmentally conscious brands where you can. Consider purchasing less quantity and better quality to ensure your purchases stand the test of time and don’t need replacement. It’s all the little things that can add up to great change.
YOU WERE WORKING AT A HIGH PROFILE CRIMINAL LAW FIRM WHEN YOU REALIZED YOU WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ELSE WITH YOUR LIFE. TELL US ABOUT THAT 'AHA' MOMENT, AND WHAT THE PROCESS OF STARTING PEONY WAS LIKE
I never really had a light bulb moment. My light bulb was more of a slow burn. Looking back, I have always been passionate about design. When I was at school, I would sketch garments on notepaper during class and on napkins at restaurants. Swimwear design was particularly appealing to me because we grew up in Australia near the beach and it seemed that was all we wore for nine months of the year. Although I had dreamed it, I never imagined that one day I would actually turn my passion it into a career. After school, I studied a double degree in law and business. Following graduation from university, I went on to qualify and work as a lawyer for six months. Although I loved studying law, I found legal practice personally unsatisfying. I felt a fire in my belly for something more, and it didn’t take long for me to realise that it was time to pursue my dream of starting my own brand. Soon after that, I finished working at the law firm and started Peony. The brand was born in 2012 and named after my favourite flower, which blooms at the beginning of summers.
WHAT WOMAN DO YOU HAVE IN MIND WHEN DESIGNING YOUR COLLECTIONS?
Each piece is designed with the Peony girl in mind – we know her so well; her destination bucket list, her favourite go to swimwear shapes and her love of the ocean. We also know our girl is caring, conscious and has a deep love for the environment. We know this because we listen to her and we feel the same way.
LET'S FINISH WITH SOMETHING DREAMY. PAINT US A PICTURE OF WHAT IT'S LIKE LIVING IN BEAUTIFUL BYRON BAY...
I love spending time in Byron. Growing up, my family spent summer holidays there so it’s home to some of my most precious childhood memories. One of my favourite things to do in Byron is walk to the lighthouse and then have a swim at either The Pass or Wategos. When my sisters and I were younger, our family did the lighthouse walk a lot, often taking turns on Dad’s shoulders – it’s a very nostalgic place for me. These days my husband and I get there as often as we can. The natural beauty of the bay can take your breath away, especially during whale season. After a dip in the ocean, we love having a coconut margarita and a bite to eat at the Mez Club. For coffee, we love the Roadhouse and for dinner we love The Italian.