Spending a majority of her life in swimwear, Noosa-based curve model Bree McCann realised finding a piece for the “average Australian woman” was hard to come by.
WITH a dream to “hit that gap” the successful model recently launched her own swimwear brand specifically targeted at women from sizes 10 to 20.
“My life as a model I’ve spent a lot of time not fitting in,” Ms McCann said.
“I wanted to build a brand that catered for a majority of Australian women to fill a gap in the sizes.
“I want to break all the rules and bring diversity to the swimwear market.”
In her “evolution” as a model, Ms McCann has witnessed firsthand how swimwear sizing does not cater to everyone.
“There’s not a lot out there for curvy bodies or bigger women,” she said.
“I’ve done a lot of swimwear modelling and quite often I’m wearing their largest size.”
Ms McCann said with the “average” Australian woman being a size 14, she wanted to cater “inclusively” for a range of body shapes and sizes.
Introducing Code B.
Code B’s sizing works on a number scale from one to five, one being a size 10-12 and five a size 18-20.
“I’ve really worked on the fit,” Ms McCann said.
“I had models test them out in every size from one to five and they gave me feedback if they felt uncomfortable or thought something needed to be changed.”
Ms McCann hoped Code B would focus on body positivity with the brand a “fusion” of everything she had learnt in her 10 years of modelling.
“I hope I can give people a little extra body confidence,” she said.
“I want to bring something new and exciting, something that is fashion forward for customers.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them on the beach this summer.”
The 31-year-old said she believed Noosa was thriving with creative, like-minded women and she hoped to share insight into the importance of self-love and body image.
“So many women struggle with body image and self-love.”
“The only way we are going to continue the change is to open the door to other body shapes and sizes.”
Code B is available online at codeb-store.com.
IT’S where she maintains a magical home (a work of art in itself), has friends who’ve become family, and where her fabrics are printed and garments produced.
Dui has now launched a sensational collection for summer 2019/20 called Home Away From Home– with the range shot on location in her beloved Pushkar in Rajasthan, Dui’s home when she’s not on the Coast. It is the first time she has taken a photographic crew to India to showcase her collection.
The back story and magic of India
The magic happened from the moment Dui’s feet touched the ground in India for the first time, 25 years ago.
“My soul sparkled and my heart seriously went BOOM!,” says Dui. “I had an immediate sense of connection – and was blown away by fabulous buzz in the streets, the incredible diversity and bursts of colour in every direction. The beautiful sari-wrapped women in vibrant silks, the men wearing bright-coloured turbans, the street vendors with delicious local treats to savour, and the fields of marigolds bursting with sunshine.”
This intoxicating tease for the senses had her from the outset. Dui experienced the hustle and bustle of Delhi and spent a few successful seasons in hot spot Goa, where she sourced second-hand wedding saris, which she transformed into one-off pieces she then sold at flea markets in Goa. To escape Indian summers, she migrated further north to
LEFT: Dui's dog Harry - always by her side when back on the Sunshine Coast.
Manali in the Himalayas. But of all the temptations of India, it was (and is) the glory of Rajasthan (“Land of Kings”) that provided the soul connection that still flames Dui’s colourful love affair between Australia and India.
Inspired by her success in Goa (and homesickness after five years on the road), Dui returned to Australia. Using Indian fabrics, re-imagined and sewn on the Sunshine Coast, she set up a small stall at the famous Eumundi Markets. Boom Shankar was off and running.
Dui was looking for new ways to diversify her Boom Shankar designs from her original sari creations – and to grow the Boom Shankar label. Rajasthan had already captured her heart, and the fact that it was also the home of block-printing made it all the more a perfect fit. Boom!
On discovering the wonderful artisan communities of Rajasthan, another wild rush of creativity bloomed and Dui knew this was a long-term relationship.
“The design ideas flowed as did some truly amazing work relationships with the artisan communities,” Dui says. “Before I knew it, I had a label that had developed its own identity and truly celebrated colour, but equally as important, I had an Indian family – and some very precious and very loving aunties, uncles, brothers and sisters”.
With every visit back to India, Dui has rolled up her sleeves to spend endless hours working closely with traditional wood-block cutters and master pattern-makers.
“It gives me great joy sitting in with the block-printing artisans, listening to their stories while they hand-stamp their magic to create our unique Boom Shankar fabric designs,” Dui says.
Building a home in India
About 15 years ago, Du took the plunge and bought an old farm in the town of Pushkar in Rajasthan to build her own little sanctuary.
“It’s taken pretty much 15 years to complete,” she says. “I wasn’t in a crazy hurry, and just lived in each little space as it slowly came to life.”
And it’s been worth the wait. Local tradesmen and artisans (many of whom are her friends) have created a beautiful, open-style, three-level sanctuary that embraces the architectural traditions of the region. The tropical garden is a lush oasis for the many adopted animals of Dui’s Indian home – including Daisy the dog, cows, eight desert tortoises and the semi-welcome Pushkar monkeys that let themselves in. When back in Australia, her “home away from home” and the animals are lovingly cared for by Dui’s Indian brother and his family.
“It has been a dream come true to create a space to return to as well as a place to reciprocate the warmth and hospitality I’ve so often experienced in India,” Dui says.
From watching the stars from her open-air rooftop with the kids to sharing tears of emotional joy at Indian family weddings, the incredible memories shared in Pushkar have been the creative sparks for what Boom Shankar is most loved for … Dui-designed, stunning block-print fabrics, all playful and hand-crafted.
Over two decades, Boom Shankar has evolved into a prominent Australian fashion label, with a flagship showroom at Noosaville, and distribution to more than 300 stockists throughout Australia and New Zealand. Dui designs each piece in Australia (including the fabrics), and spends six months of the year in India in Pushkar, working with fabric printers, pattern makers and craftsman assembling each season’s range.
Dui says she feels blessed to have created a beautiful work/life bond between her heart places of Australia and India. Boom Shankar has also allowed Dui to ensure her son Charlie understands the joy and richness of both Australian and Indian cultures, through his schooling and his ongoing relationships with friends and family in both countries.
“It really is amazing that of all the names I could possibly have chosen, I chose ‘Boom Shankar’ which means ‘to bless’,” she says. “When I picked Boom Shankar 20 years ago, I could never have known just how much joy this work would bring and just how blessed I would be!”
‘The ‘Home Away From Home’ Summer 2019/2020 Collection
That is why this collection for Summer 2019/20 is so close to Dui’s heart, honouring her “home away from home” in
Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.
“As with the people and everyday life of Rajasthan, this collection celebrates the diverse mix-match of vibrant colours, creativity and fun,” says Dui.
The collection honours the long-standing connection to Dui’s family, friends and artisans in India, and celebrates the abundance of creativity Dui threads together between her heart home, Australia and her soul place, India.
“Go wild and have fun with colour and the endless mix-and-match combinations. Anything is possible,” she says.
INCLUSIVE: Noosa curve model Bree McCann is set to launch her own swim label, Code B, which she hopes will fill a gap in the industry. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED