Fash­ion

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.

Noosa Life and Style - - CONTENTS - CAITLIN ZER­AFA

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

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