In 2007, Australian swimwear company, Speedo Australia, collaborated with Japanese fashion designer, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons, to launch a collection of competitive swimwear for men and women. The project followed several collaborations between high-profile designers and international sports companies to produce fashionable sportswear and accessories. These goggles are from the Speedo, Comme des Garcons range.
Kawakubo conceived this project in response to a lack of fashionable competitive swimwear. 'I wanted to make real swimwear for people who like swimming for pleasure or for training their bodies,' she said. 'I chose Speedo because of their tradition and authenticity and because they simply make the best swimwear. The collection is for all those that love creative design, and swimming.'
The range consists of seven women's swimsuits, five men's swimming trunks, three t-shirts, two swimming caps and goggles. Its geometric prints in black, white, red and navy reflect the minimalism of Comme des Garcons designs.
Speedo is the world's principal competitive swimwear designer and manufacturer. The Museum has an extensive collection of Speedo swimwear and accessories dating from the 1930s to the present, including designs produced for the Australian Olympic Games team from 1964 to 2004, the Australian Commonwealth Games team from 1970-2002 and numerous international Olympic teams. This collection is complemented by the Speedo archive which includes scrapbooks, catalogues, posters, newsletters, stickers, photographs, video footage and badges.
Speedo's origins lie in MacRae Knitting Mills, manufacturer of cotton and wool knitwear. It produced its first swimming costumes in Sydney, Australia in the late 1920s and in 1928 held a competition to find a name for the new swimwear line. So successful was a staff member's catchy slogan, 'Speed on in your Speedo', that the company changed its name to Speedo. From the beginning Speedo focused its attention on producing competitive swimwear, complemented by a range of leisure swimwear and knitted apparel. By the 1980s most of the world's top swimmers were competing in Speedo costumes.
The Museum's Speedo collection and archive illustrate the evolution of swimwear styles and fabrics designed to reduce water resistance and enhance speed.
Catherine Reade, Assistant Curator, 2007