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Suburban fashion on the cutting edge


July 9, 2018 by admin

FASHION designer April Marie Hewat is used to the startled looks and snide comments from insiders when she says she lives and works in Cranbourne.

But with her company, April Marie Swimwear, clearly going places, the mother of three can afford to be relaxed about her suburban address and background.

Cleo magazine recently featured her tiger swimsuit – modelled by Jennifer Hawkins – and next month she will present her collection at Fashion Aid 2012, one of Melbourne’s most popular charity fund-raisers.

Early in her career, she used Sydney models, high-profile fashion photographers and tropical locations. It cost a fortune and always left her disappointed.

Now that her confidence has grown, Ms Hewat prefers local locations – the Peninsula Hot Springs, for example, or Cranbourne swimming pool – and a local creative team: Carrum Downs photographer Rebecca Le Souef and Langwarrin model Monique Wardley.

“We make a good team. Bec understands what I’m after and I’m much happier with the results. Everyone who sees the portfolio is blown away by the photos,” Ms Hewat said.

“I don’t have anything against male photographers but they want the photos to look like something out of People magazine and my swimwear is much classier than that.”

Her interest in fashion began when she was growing up on a farm in Carrum Downs. “I was lying awake one night at 3am wondering how I could make swimwear different. I ran into my dad and said ‘I know – we’ll print Australian postcards onto lycra’.”

Later, she switched to images of plants and animals, the most distinctive being her tiger bikini. She took a risk, put an ad in Vogue and sales went through the roof. In 2009, she launched the label at Fashion Week in Sydney.

“I knew nothing about the rag trade when I started – I made a lot of costly mistakes. Everyone loved what I was doing but they didn’t think I could achieve it.”

Ms Hewat does all the swimwear and fabric design, co-ordinates the manufacture and does the marketing.

She would probably sew them too if she could. Her husband, Paul, does the bookwork and her father is her biggest backer.

She likes working with other mothers because they understand what it’s like.

“I have a beautiful home office but there are times when my kids are running around. With other mums, I don’t have to be embarrassed if there’s a toy or a biscuit on the floor.

“There’s a benefit to being in the suburbs because you can be true to who you want to be.”

Home style: Rebecca Le Souef, Monique Wardley and April Marie Hewat (with Alarah, 9 months) are a formidable fashion team. Monique is modelling the famous tiger swimsuit. Picture: Ted Kloszynski


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