Surfing Saved their Sanity: An Inspirational Hand-Painted Print

by Caitlyn Roux April 11, 2022 3 min read

Inspired by a story of hope and comfort amidst a time of prolonged conflict comes a beautiful design that's derived from this historical event five decades later. Lauren, from W'MENSWEAR drew creative inspiration from the stories told of a small group of US soldiers who found solace in surfing during the Vietnam War.

Two women surfing, one wearing the Kiyo Top & Collin Bottom Sea Foam Camo Print and the other in the Paris Sea Foam Camo Print, SEPTEMBER surf swimsuit

Paris One Piece Sea Foam Camo Print and Kiyo Top & Collin Bottom Sea Foam Camo Print

Often there's a story behind what inspired the design of prints, but none quite like this one. We got the opportunity to collaborate with the talented Lauren from W'MENSWEAR to create a special hand-painted print, one that no other swimwear brand will ever have.

Our collaboration features the:

Two women next to one another, one wearing the Scorpion Sun Crop Olive & Lucky Bottom and the other wearing the Paris One Piece Sea Foam Camo Print, SEPTEMBER surf swimsuit

Scorpion Sun Crop OliveLucky Bottom Sea Foam Camo Print and Paris One Piece Sea Foam Camo Print 

We interviewed Lauren to get to know her a bit more and to gain deeper insight into her distinctive Sea Foam Camouflage print, as part of our collaboration for the new SS22 - Collection Nº6.

Tell us a bit about your surfing journey, how you got into it and what you love about the sport? 

Although I’d been a volunteer surf lifesaver on Long Reef beach since 16, I only got into surfing at about 21 when I was at University. I had a boyfriend at the time who was a great surfer, and we would go up to Palm Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches a lot. I really loved the way it felt to fly on the water, and I know it’s cliche but honestly the connection to nature that surfing provided.

How did your W’MENSWEAR brand come to life, and what is the main differentiator from other clothing brands? 

A good friend and mentor of mine, Nigel Cabourn, encouraged me to start making clothes back in 2014. Having his own brand for over 50 years, and world-renowned for his incredible outerwear, Nigel showed me the ropes when it came to designing clothes and running a fashion business. I would say that W’MENSWEARwas a word that I used to describe my sense of style that was ‘borrowed from the boys’ per-se.

Your collaboration with SEPTEMBER features a unique hand-painted camouflage design, tell us your inspiration behind this?  

I was inspired by the story of a group of US soldiers who were surfing on their R&R trips to Da Nang during the Vietnam war. Surfing became a safe space for these GIʼs, many of whom were far from home and questioning their purpose in the face of conflict. These stories deeply resonated with me. The resilience, creativity, and playful spirit displayed by these young GIʼs felt true to the surfing ethos. I began to paint different variations of camouflages with the very sea foam hues that gave respite to the soldiers in my research. As these GI’s had fashioned their own surfboards from found objects and boating repair supplies, I too wanted to make something new using my own resourcefulness.

Woman surfing, wearing the Kiyo Top & Lucky Bottom Sea Foam Camo Print, SEPTEMBER surf swimsuit

Lauren surfing in the Kiyo Top & Lucky Bottom Sea Foam Camo Print

Your podcast, the Ponytail Show, love all the interesting people you have on it! Tell us how it started and your inspiration behind it?

I started the podcast because I was missing all of my friends whom I regularly see on my travels! It was a covid podcast if you will.

What does a day in the life of Lauren look like? 

Most days are spent in my studio working on ideas for new projects, otherwise, I’m visiting the wonderful makers who turn my ideas into beautiful objects! And a lot of green tea.

If you could share one message with the world, what would it be? 

Be curious: ask questions people are not asking.

Woman surfing, wearing the Kiyo Top & Collin Bottom Sea Foam Camo Print, SEPTEMBER surf swimsuit

 Kiyo Top & Collin Bottom Sea Foam Camo Print

"Todayʼs blossoming female surf scene is growing, pushing boundaries, and expanding all of our expectations in the best ways possible. Itʼs so exciting to see the new generation of women fly, and I am stoked to be able to play my bit." - Lauren Yates

Get to know Lauren more through her website or Instagram account - @ponytailjournal. Also, keep a lookout for what she will be getting up to next, it could quite possibly be another mesmerizing design!


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