Tribe Tropical – Kids Sun-Safe Swimwear

  • 2019

  • Product
    Sport and Lifestyle

Designed By:

  • Emily Gradon

Commissioned By:

Emily Gradon

Designed In:


Raised in tropical climates as a fair-skinned red-head, Emily Gradon always struggled in childhood and adolescence to dress sun-smart without being teased by friends for ‘daggy’ beach attire; wishing to protect her own children and others’ she created a ‘tropicool’ range of UPF50+ swimwear, with the goal of making sun-protection trendy and acceptable.

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  • Emily wanted to create stylish, sun-safe swimsuits for young girls, using original prints with a tropical Australian vibe. The prints were inspired by Australian resort destinations; Emily hoped that they would appeal to children and their parents alike. Emily wanted the swimsuits to be in a middle price range, not competing with mass chain department stores, but not with high-end labels either; she wanted the swimsuits to provide adequate coverage & be made of high-quality fabric that provided UPF50+ protection. Dealing with suppliers overseas meant that there was often a language barrier but the desired outcome was achieved in the end!

  • Emily worked with a graphic designer based in Pakistan to finalise the original patterns used on the swimwear, drawing inspiration from images featuring Australian birds (cockatoos & galahs) and tropical flora & fauna. Emily hand-drew the desired outcome for the swimsuit design on paper and had the swimsuits made via a Hong Kong-based supplier. The swimsuits were to feature a cute frill detail on the leg and wrist, to add to upper thigh and wrist coverage (from sun); swimsuits were to have a front zip for ease of removal of the swimsuit, and double lining was a must for extra coverage/protection.

  • It is hoped that there will be a long-term positive impact on sun-safety awareness, acceptability amongst children to cover-up in the sun and a lessening of sun damage to skin for future generations. Emily wants covering up in the sun, at the beach & pool to be the new norm, which wasn't the case when she was growing up in PNG & Cairns. Covering sun-exposed skin where possible using UPF fabric also lessens the need for sunscreen which has been proven to be damaging to our reefs and environment. Less chemicals in the ocean means less of a negative environmental impact long-term.

  • The swimsuits also have the option of a matching sun and swim hat, which features a wide-brim, an under-neck adjustable tie to prevent hats from flying away in wind or water, and double lining for extra sun protection. The hats cover the ears & scalp, and shade the face well. The outfits as a whole (swimsuits + swim hats) have been well received.