The rashie is back, and it’s not at all what you remember.

The ACQUA Brand
Thanks to our brand partner, The ACQUA Brand


There’s something about an Aussie summer. It’s barefoot, it’s stinking hot, it’s sticky with Zooper Doopers and it’s usually sunburnt – but as it turns out, it doesn’t have to be.

Thanks to Jane Hayes and Julie Capobianco, the duo behind The ACQUA Brand, this summer will be rashguard-clad. The co-founders, owners and designers (they’re a talented bunch) have set their minds to redesigning the rashie and in a historical first, the words style, luxury and sparkle will become synonymous with sun protection.

Whether it be for the laid-back luxury of Byron Bay’s Wategos beach, Brisbane’s sweat-inducing Mt Coot-tha walk or the calm of Melbourne’s Bayside Coastal Trail, The ACQUA Brand team has a range of rashguards and swim tees that seem to effortlessly bridge the gap between style and functionality, swimwear and activewear.

We sat down with the pair to talk style, motivation – and protecting your déc.

Before The ACQUA Brand what did your daily grind look like?

Both of us decided to leave our part time corporate jobs whilst raising the kids, and seek out the mythical idea that is otherwise known as the work-from-home-whilst-raising-the-kids-and-having-it-all-with-flexibility-and-a-high-income-let’s-have-the-summer-in-Europe type thing. Well, while we aren’t quite there yet, here we are, with a new business we are passionate about, and loving the journey.

fashion rashie
Jane Hayes and Julie Capobianco, the duo behind The ACQUA Brand. Image: Supplied.

Why the rashie?

So, it took a while, but we made a decision. We NO LONGER WANTED TO BE SUN WORSHIPPERS. There, we said it. It’s out there. IN CAPS.

Growing up by the beach, it didn’t come easy and liking the look of bronzed skin, there had to be sacrifices but when you hit your 30s and your décolletage starts to boast your sun damage rather than your cleavage, we knew the time was right. #protectyourdec

So began The ACQUA Brand, a range of sun conscious swimwear that would protect your skin and keep you looking chic at the same time. A feat many surfing brands hadn’t seemed to have mastered; that not all women wanted to be covered in heavily branded, pink, mauve, lavender and fluoro (apologies to all the six year old ‘Frozen’ fans).

How did you take your product from just an ‘idea’ to something tangible?

After a year and a half spent researching, planning and designing we finally developed the perfect product, from fabric to fit. Ideally, we wanted a long sleeve rashguard with a zip, as we weren’t quite ready to ditch the bikini (baby steps) and being able to take it on and off was a must and it had to be anything but midriff.


Q: What made you start The ACQUA Brand? Was there a defining moment for you both?

There are a few reasons as to why we made the switch from ‘the dark side’.

  1. Pure, good ol’ fashion VANITY. It happens fast, one day you have baby skin and are oiling up that tan, and the next, BOOM, there they are, sun spots, sun damage and wrinkles. What the? When the?
  1. Modesty and Body Shape. Not everyone is comfortable in a bikini. Enough said.
  1. Wardrobe malfunctions and actually using the beach. As lovers of the sea the beach is our playground and we want to be dressed for action. Swimming, paddleboarding, surfing, snorkelling are all the enemy of the bikini, and whilst you can wear your bikini underneath, the rashguard is your protector.
  1. Skin Cancer. According to the Cancer Council, Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Close to 2,000 Australians die every year and two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70 – two in three.
  1. Layering sunscreen all day is tedious. It’s still a must, but a physical barrier beats a chemical barrier any day of the week.
“Ideally, we wanted a long sleeve rashguard with a zip, as we weren’t quite ready to ditch the bikini (baby steps).” Images: Supplied.

Apart from the range’s laid-back luxe appeal and tailored silhouettes, what makes your product stand out?

Excitingly, we discovered a new Lycra technology out of Europe, that was UPF 50+ and used recycled nylons from fishing nets and plastic bottles off the ocean floor to make it into high performance, quality fabric. Being passionate about making the best possible product and knowing it was environmentally friendly only added to our conviction.

Who will be wearing The ACQUA Brand this Summer? Any celebrities we might know?

We were incredibly fortunate to receive support and encouragement early on from the likes of Lisa Wilkinson (A Melanoma Institute ambassador) fashion industry juggernauts Rachel Zoe, Edwina McCann, Paula Joye and beauty blogger Zoe Foster Blake amongst many others who know the benefits of covering your skin that helped give the cause a stronger voice.

Here are some more offerings from The ACQUA Brand. (Post continues after gallery)

From idea to product to shelves, what has been the most rewarding part of your journey?

It was very humbling being stocked by David Jones who have always been great supporters of young Australian designers. The biggest kick out of this whole journey though has undoubtedly been hearing from our customers who let us know how much they love wearing our product, how they get to spend more time at the beach or by the pool and and how it’s changed their beach experience.

Our mission is to bring the Australian beach lifestyle to the world, with the added bonus of sun protection. Bold we know but as Zoe Foster Blake says, ‘Don’t be a sun dickhead.’

What do you think? Will you try the fashion rashie this summer?