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UWA and me

I graduated UWA from the Human Movement Department 25 years ago now. Woah, have things changed since then - personally, professionally and the Uni too. At that time I wanted to be an Activities Director on island resorts. Which I enjoyed for a year. However my path has changed pretty drastically since then. I would never have imagined that I would become a self-taught fashion designer, using my knowledge of human anatomy and physiology to bring a new, environmentally-concisous, active swimwear brand for women to market. I know how a woman’s body moves and what needs we have for active garments. Running an Exercise Physiology business and building a start-up swimwear business simultaneously, while secretly creating another online program business, has proven to be challenging but totally manageable. My time at UWA fortunately helped build strong foundations in writing, knowledge base and growth, skills and toolkit development, communication, plus drive and determination.

Supporting women and our environment

I am in love with the human body and how amazing it is. Everything about it fascinates me. So it is perfectly understandable for me to have all my businesses be focused around the body, and it’s health, movement, appearance and wellness. If I can make a significant difference to someone’s quality of life and meet their needs, then I see this as a win.

I saw the problems many women and I faced when it came to swimwear. I found swimwear wasn’t constructed to support the body against the forces of impact and gravity which most water sports or multi-terrain activities have, nor are they made with sports-bra design, plus they aren’t created for women with curves to be active. In fact, the research showed that many women felt pain, embarrassment and limitation when it came to wearing their swimsuits. I couldn’t ignore this, so I set forth to create better garments. I could see the potential of being able to positively impact women. In particular active shapely women like myself who struggled to find appropriate garments in the market. So I created Phibii to make a difference to women’s lives, by actually supporting them, one female at a time.

Phibii prides itself on upholding high standards in Environmentally-Conscious and Sustainability Practices. We’ve constructed the swimsuits from the highest quality fabric on the market, which is made from 78% recycled plastic from post-consumer waste, including from fishnets. We believe in doing our part in caring for the world, and it feels like we are taking plastic out of the ocean and recycling it into our swimsuits instead.

The Phibii development journey

The concept of Phibii began 5 years ago when I was training a client down the beach one day, and we had the the realisation that there was no appropriate swim garments available to train in, for her and myself. This lead me to embark on a journey of learning the fundamentals of fashion design and start-up business. The development process took much longer than anticipated, because firstly there was so much to learn and create, but also finding the right-fit in manufacturer and pattern makers proved difficult tasks. Self-funding and grant applications have been the main source of funding and knowledge growth. Mentorship programs were worth their weight in gold. I was so excited this year to have in my hands final prototypes, that fitted and functioned perfectly. The plan is now to build the awareness and anticipation for the product launch by mid 2019 in an Indigogo crowdfunding campaign.

Phibii is 'Resort-to-Sport' Swimwear that supports like a sports-bra with body flattering designs, along with other innovations and comfort features built-in. A major benefit experienced is significant reduction in breast bounce and damage. Research has shown that a woman with size B cup breasts has up to 8cm of bounce movement with every step she takes down at the beach, and a woman with size DD cup breasts can experience up to an agonising 19cm of movement. This is a big problem. It is imperative that women have high-quality and supportive swimsuits if we want to protect against breast sag, damage, pain and embarrassment. The high-versatility benefits meant that I have also recently rocked a Phibii swimsuit in an Ironman event and by the pool, beach and sun-lounges at a 5-star Bali Beach Resort!

Jodie Hopkins BSc '93

Jodie Hopkins, BSc, has over 25 years of experience as an Exercise Physiologist, helping people to move better, look better and feel better. A Medicare Health Practitioner in her Perth-based business Your Life Your Body, Jodie regularly talks on 6PR Radio, answering medical, health and fitness questions. She is an Amazon Published Author, has presented in a number of conference events, and has had articles published in magazines and newspapers, both nationally and internationally. Jodie will soon launch an innovative ‘Active Swimwear Brand’ named Phibii - inspired by the word ‘amphibian’. Phibii has been specifically designed for women to feel confident and comfortable when being active around water, whilst remaining fully supportive and flattering. Jodie loves animals, doing adrenalin sports, and world travel - she lived for 16 years overseas (11 of them in Canada working as a Roxy Snowboard Coach in Whistler Ski Resort. In 2018 she trekked Mt Everest and completed her first 70.3 Ironman Race in Busselton (wearing a Phibii swimsuit for the whole event!).

You can keep up-to-date with Jodie and Phibii via the links below: