On the occasion that you have two Australian style icons meet and collaborate, you know you're going to have a body of work that is eternally iconic. And this is exactly what happened when Jess Gomes met Bond-Eye. Together, they created an eight-piece capsule collection made from Bond-Eye's famous crinkled, recycled nylon fabric.
International model Jess Gomes is emblematically Australian. A summer-loving soul who reimagined the way we think about swimwear, Jess Gomes said she wanted to "heal myself in a way with bright colours and heal other people too". So, naturally her latest project - an 80s-inspired swim collection with Bond-Eye - was all about dynamism and vibrancy.
Ahead of the release of the release of the collection, which is out as of September 1, we caught up with Jess. She's currently living life in amongst Melbourne's latest lockdown, finding space for creativity and always looking for new ways to stay inspired. Below, she tells us all about her collection with Bond-Eye, why she's looking forward to summer and where is next on her travel list.
Tell me about your collection with Bond-eye and your experience with it?
I really wanted to create something that was a vibe, my vibe. Obviously when we came together it was around March I would say, and I had just come back from LA, and was in Byron [Bay] at that time, and I was really in that urban vibe with bright colours, tie-dye, and really in that space of Byron colour.
Usually I’m quite neutral [with colour], but I really just would love to do something really bright and that would make people really happy. Something different. I wanted sneakers in it, socks, headphones, something really fun. I don’t think I had been able to express myself in that way before with my work. I think everything has just been a bit of a different aesthetic.
I love Bond-Eye Swim, it’s so iconically Australian. I love the material, the fit, the one-size-fits-all. Obviously I’ve had a lot of experience with swimwear, so for me it was just ‘wow!’. I love the cuts, and I love the 80s styles and the two-pieces and one-pieces with cutouts and it all just really came together. I was having so much fun with it, and it is such a vibe, and that’s what I wanted to create.
What inspired the designs?
I wanted to make people feel the vibe, and you know, feel the pop of colour and just go crazy! That green and the pink together [for example], is super psychedelic and very bright fluorescent which is kind of what I wanted.
I think for me and for everyone too, it has been such a dark period. I think I just wanted to heal myself in a way with bright colours and heal other people too. Let’s just have fun: there’s no boundaries, you know? I wanted vibrancy, the happiness, the positivity. Putting a swimsuit on and being able to say ‘Oh my god, I’m so happy today because I’m wearing this pink swimsuit and I want to do aerobics and dance and laugh with my friends’. Get out there and be fun and flirty and not be so caved into ‘we’re doomed’.
Is the 80s aesthetic something you're ordinarily drawn to?
Yeah, especially living in LA, being around the music scene and that urban culture. I’m such a sneaker head and love sneakers. That was definitely my vibe: I wanted the collection to embody that girl who likes a bit of graffiti, music and sneakers, and she likes to have fun and disco in her swimsuit. That was the vibe.
It’s like, ‘what’s that girl listening to? I wonder what she’s listening to!’. She seems cool and interested in swimsuits but also other things as well like culture, you know? Music, arts. I wanted the pieces and campaign to transcend versus just being a swimsuit shoot on a beach.
Remember Hang Ten shirts? The surf brand where they were bright coloured and if you put your hand on it it felt the heat and changed colour? Things like that I was really interested in. People like Tamila [Purvis] who’s an incredible stylist from Sydney who has worked with RUSSH in the past; we would discuss the style and stuff, and she was like, ‘we should get an ‘80s Walkman and get it in the shoot!’. I was like, ‘totally’.
And Pierre Toussaint- who is a dear friend of mine who I’ve worked with at the beginning of my career - he was so perfect and he loves that aesthetic too. We’ve spent a lot of time shooting in LA and Miami, and spent a lot of time talking about those 80s shoots, music and sneakers and everyone was super on board.
It was just super fun to create something different for me, and I had so much fun doing this, I cannot tell you. It has been….the best. I’m so happy that everyone loves it, right down to the graffiti font that we all came up with on the shoot. Pierre was like, ‘it should be like graffiti on the campaign and Jess Gomes for Bondi Swim!’ Things like that. It was fun to be part of that creative group that just got it.
Speaking of the 80s, do you have a fave 80s trend or something you want to come back into fashion?
An 80s trend?! I feel like everything always comes back around.
I’m loving the chunky sock, is that 80s? I’m loving all the oversized sweaters and jumpers with the bike pants. The Princess Diana vibes, do you know what I mean? With the rectangular sunglasses - not the big ones - but I definitely love the 80s sporty vibes, that’s my favourite look that has come back in fashion.
During lockdown, I’ve become a lot more sporty. I don’t wear heels or put dresses on anymore, clearly, but I definitely am really loving just oversized hoodies, jumpers, leggings, trackies, thick socks, sneakers, a hat, some sunnies. That kind of vibe for sure.
You mentioned about the campaign being shot by Pierre, what was that like working together again?
It was like a coming home, and I just felt so comfortable. It’s just like hanging out with friends again.
I guess what I really appreciate is that I have these great relationships in the industry that I’ve had since I was younger, and it feels so lovely that we still have that friendship after all these years being in the industry together. That’s what’s so special to me: being able to have these long-lasting relationships that last a lifetime. We see each other grow and have projects and be supportive of them. That’s really cool.
Where does your creative inspiration come from, how have you stayed creative in lockdown?
Ugh. That’s a good question. My creative inspiration comes from movies, art, music, my friends, other people I admire in the creative industry, poets, artists. That’s where it comes from. I could listen to all 90s R&B hip hip and be inspired to do something creative in that way, or even just influence the way I dress that day. Influencing me today like I’d want to wear a hoodie with sweatpants or something.
Everything around me I get inspired by. Even last night I was listening to Kanye’s new album and I was inspired! Inspired by his music. I could watch a 90s classic film, like Charlie’s Angels with Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz, and got inspired about the 90s. Especially during lockdown, I really have to tap into those things more I guess.
When I’m in LA, I walk down the street and I’m inspired, you know? I’m in Melbourne now and I’m inspired here, and love seeing the graffiti walls and urban spaces and a basketball court. I’m constantly seeing new artists or musicians or whatever and I’m inspired. I’m inspired by RUSSH and everything you post. I’m inspired by collectively everything.
When you can travel, where’s the first place you’re going?
Probably back to LA. Or I really want to go to Mexico and just chill in my swimsuits, eat fruit, drink coconut and swim. Probably back to the States though is where I’ll go. Or even Costa Rica or something like that. Somewhere tropical.
What’s your ultimate beach outfit?
Definitely the one-piece Bond-Eye tie-dye from my collection. I love the greeeeennnn one. Or maybe like I always have my little basket bag with my towel, sunnies and oil. And then I would say I have this really cool corduroy Zulu and Zephyr bucket hat and Yeezy green slides, and a shirt you unbutton that you can throw over. And then maybe like a pair of ripped-off Re/Done denim shorts with my pearl beads on. That’s one of my go-to beach outfits. And then you can just put the shirt around your waist!
What I love about Bond-Eye Swim is that it’s so comfortable: you can wear them with jeans and make it like a bodysuit top, even. It’s like a second skin. Very reptilian.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I’m most looking forward to basking in the sun, getting my vitamin D. Swimming! Hopefully being able to hang with friends and family if we’re out of lockdown, I’m hoping I can go back to Perth and be with my family and be on Cottesloe Beach. But just being on the beach everyday and swimming and relaxing, and trying to let go of this year and chill a little bit.
Summer for us in Australia is celebration of the year ending, Christmas/New Years, and I think it’s a really nice time to reflect and set goals for the following year. And just having a beer and a BBQ, chilling and listening to music on the beach. Really having that quintessential Australian summer. Hasn’t it been such a long winter?! I’m really excited to feel the heat.
I love going to Bondi or Circular Quay or going to Tamarama and Bronte, and swimming in the pools there. Australia’s awesome in the summer. These are the best months: December, January and February. We’re on holidays too.
Do you have any affirmations or pieces of advice, words to live by?
It’s really important to just be yourself, do you.
There was a quote that my friend in LA, who has quote a company called Wally where they project quotes around LA. He rents wall space around the city and asks celebrities their favourite quote to project. He asked me mine, and I loved this quote that says ‘no-one can copy your heart’. And he projected it on a wall on LA and sent it to me, and that was really cool.
You’re you, so keep living in your truth.