Aussie label Double Rainbouu is making surfwear cool again

The tired, wan faces of Double Rainbouu double act Mikey Nolan and Toby Jones are cracked concrete evidence that putting a show on at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia is hard work.

You would think the success of their debut runway show last year, picking up accounts such as Net-a-porter and creating the printed short-sleeved shirt of summer for men, would make things easier.

"We started designing the collection in February but to be honest we maybe should have started in January," Nolan says.

"It's a lot bigger," Jones explains. "Last year it all fitted onto one rack. This year it doesn't fit onto three."

Double up

If it wasn't for the bags under their eyes and fading voices you could be forgiven for thinking it's all a polished play-act with Double Rainbouu having successfully established itself as the natural heir to Mambo in the urban surf arena, creating casual pieces for men and women with just enough edge to get away wearing them without a wave insight.

Nolan and Jones's experience as creative directors at Ksubi certainly helps but even with energy levels at all time lows there's a captivating crackle of creativity from the duo that translates into their clothes.

"Last year it was a post apocalyptic full moon party, then we explored Waterworld and now we're wondering what happens when nature is over. And it's a synthetic beach," Nolan says. "We've called it Synth UUave, just as Kelly Slater is designing the perfect wave at a pool in Texas."

Double barrel success

Post-punk elements continue to come into the equation, influencing prints but it's the increase in the collection size and stronger presence of womenswear that is burning the hemp-scented candle at both ends.

"It's now 50-50," Nolan says, "We didn't expect that but a little account called Net-a-porter changed everything."


"We have also added more t-shirts, fleece which let's us show more of the language that we want to use."

Denim is also part of the mix but don't make the mistake of thinking that this is Ksubi 2.0. "It's a bit of an evolving story and we don't know where it's going next." Jones adds.

Double the fun

Stress levels might be reduced at the show by the scent of beer as Double Rainbouu takes over the revived pub icon, The Lansdowne for an evening event.

"We thought that we'd go off-site and try something that's more multimedia," Nolan says. "We are not really a runway brand so why not put on a pub show. It's a nice juxtaposition with the surf nature of the brand."

Casting is done and they have successfully ticked the important box of racial diversity, even if it's not reflected in the hairstyles. "There are seven guys with shaved heads…," a troubled Nolan says.

Double speed

Perhaps, just perhaps, things will be calmer backstage than last year when models raced onto the runway without having their looks signed off by the stylist Sarah Starkey.

"We just weren't prepared and there was no waiting," Nolan says. "IMG (the owners of fashion week) just start the show and we have no say in it. This year we have more help and it should go differently."

The hope hangs in the air, as radiant as the printed fleeces until exhaustion strikes again.

"Let's face it… it will probably be just the same as last year..,," Nolan says.

Well, if it ain't broke.

Check out the gallery above to see Double Rainbouu's latest collection at MBFWA.