Australian designer bassike has a unique story. What is now a global brand, began on the corner of a remote seaside suburb in Sydney's North.
Avalon is discreetly lavish, a quiet area on the Northern Beaches that is nearly 50km from the CBD - it can only be accessed through one winding, coastal road. A village lined with small boutiques, wholefood cafes and coffee haunts, the brickwork sidewalks play host to barefoot residents wearing linen or boardshorts. It's here that bassike set up a small pop-up shop 15 years ago. And despite the designer's global success, Avalon and The Northern Beaches still remains at the heart of the brand.
Co-founder and creative director Deborah Sams says the Northern Beaches has "always been a place of significance to me personally. I grew up on the Northern Beaches and am now raising my own family here." Yet, it is an area that tends to go unexplored by anyone except its own residents. With lockdowns gone and weekend sojourns back on the menu, Deborah shares with her favourite places around Avalon and why bassike still calls this area home. Below, find her guide to the Northern Beaches, which of course would not be complete without a trip into bassike's flagship Avalon store.
Why is the community where bassike started still so important to the brand today?
I design the way I like to dress, and I think that sense of utility and androgynous ease that is present in all bassike collections comes from the laidback lifestyle and connection to the natural environment that the Northern Beaches embodies.
Tell us about Avalon? Why is bassike’s flagship still in this beachside spot on the Northern Beaches?
Avalon holds such a nostalgic importance to bassike, as we’ve had a brand presence and been at home here for many years. The Northern Beaches community have always rallied behind bassike since the very beginning, and we will always be grateful and return that support however we can.
Looking back over our 15 years as a brand, opening the new flagship store in Avalon late last year was such a highlight – the lofty ceilings, north-facing façade and spacious, beachside location are so attuned to the bassike aesthetic and what our customer has come to know, love and expect when stepping into a signature bassike space.
Now, that Australia is slowly coming out of lockdown and everyone is looking to explore, tell us more about the Northern Beaches. Where are your favourite places to get breakfast or brunch?
I always love visiting the Boathouse Palm Beach for breakfast – it is such an iconic location. Queen Ester Falafel on Robertson Rd, Newport is another firm favourite, with a simple and super fresh menu. But make sure you go early, as they usually sell out!
What’s your favourite beach?
That’s easy, Whale Beach where I grew up.
Where are the best spots for dinner and drinks?
Bistro Boulevard in Avalon, for rustic French cuisine. Alma Avalon for a margarita or two. Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach for an early evening dinner and drinks. Bar Elvina in Avalon also has a great bar and tapas. Mexicano, North Narrabeen for something more casual.
What about picnic spots?
There is the most beautiful park at the top of Palm Beach, called The Bible Gardens, with views across to Barrenjoey Headland and Pittwater. It is a hidden gem, with a very special place in my heart – it’s actually where I got married many years ago!
Do you have any other must visit spots?
Besides the bassike Avalon store on Avalon Parade… I love Palm Beach Home – owned by Beth and Ian Halliday, it is one of my favourite stores for a variety of treasures.
And of course, where can you find the best coffee?
You can’t beat Classic Coffee at South Avalon Headland.
What's next for bassike?
It’s certainly been a big 18 months for everyone, but there is no slowing down for us at bassike. We are constantly working to innovate and push the boundaries with our design-led collections, and we are also working on a number of exciting updates that reflect our on-going responsible business journey.