We meet the face behind Gabrielle Swimwear, who’s sustainable range is giving her clients the freedom to enjoy the beach.

Gabrielle Kool is a swimwear designer, based in Cape Town, who has a strong focus on sustainability and slow fashion. We spent time with her to find out more about the inspiration behind her designs that are tailored for women who appreciate contemporary style and timeless beauty. 

Gabrielle’s fashion journey dates back to when she was a young girl, her mum being a creative and jewellery designer who sewed many of their clothing, and eventually passing on that skill which quite unexpectedly led her to study Textile Design at Durban University of Technology. 

She shares that while holidaying in Mexico, she came across the most “Amazing bikini shop that I went into and I realised that we just didn’t have the same options in South Africa. So I just thought well, I love bikinis, there’s definitely a niche in the market, and then decided I was going to go for it.”

Gabrielle designs for sophisticated, classy women who don’t necessarily follow trends but are rather looking for those classic pieces that fit well and can stand the test of time. 

“Sustainability is one of our biggest priorities so from start to finish every decision that I make in the business, I’m constantly thinking about our impact on the environment,” shares the entrepreneur. 

In addition to removing non essential packaging and using recycled packets and even courier mailers that are made from mielies and entirely compostable, she opted for Repreve Fabric for their custom prints. Eighty two percent of which consists of recycled plastic bottles. 

When asked about future plans, Gabrielle comments, “We are definitely planning on pushing our international market more, especially because I really love the idea of showcasing South Africa. We have the most incredible prints, beautiful African prints, and I want to showcase it in a different way.”

As Gabrielle’s business continues to expand across the globe, we can’t wait to see the impact that Gabrielle’s Swimwear will have on conscious thinking, conscious consuming, women’s confidence and fashion as a whole. 


What legacy would you like to leave behind through your design / work / business?

“I would like to put South Africa on the map for swimwear design with my prints and more unique pieces. I want to create ‘talking’ pieces that inspire people to learn more about our beautiful country and what it has to offer.”

How does your work incorporate or lead the conversation around sustainability?

“Sustainability is one of our key focuses. My new collections are made using Repreve fabric made from recycled plastic bottles cleaned up along our shorelines. Producing small volumes and keeping everything locally sourced and produced really reduces our carbon footprint as well. Quality over quantity.”

What do you feel are important considerations to keep in-mind when looking into pursuing a design project in South Africa?

“I think the environmental impact should be the number one priority, followed by asking who will benefit from this? We should all focus on keeping money in the country instead of sending it to China or elsewhere… This will start a positive domino effect which will directly benefit your business and yourself in the future.”

Any last thoughts you’d like to share?

“We have to start making more conscious decisions around our shopping decisions… Being aware of our impact as a consumer on both our environment and economy.”