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Child's UV Zootz swimming costume

Date: 1992 - 1993
Overall: 525 x 500 mm
Medium: elastane (spandex or Lycra), plastic zip
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Swimwear
Object No: 00016838
Place Manufactured:Victoria

User Terms

    The 20th century's end saw the return of the 'neck to knee', although for sun protection rather than modesty. This colourful lycra girl's UV zootz suit was designed to give children maximum skin cover, maintain body heat and make them easily seen. Marketed by the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, the UV zootz suit embodies a new awareness of the risks of skin cancer in Australia.
    SignificanceThis swimming costume reflects the change in late 20th century Australian attitudes to the beach and suntanning, and highlights a new awareness of the harmful effects of the sun and its relationship to skin cancer.
    HistoryNeck-to-knee style swimming costumes provide maximum coverage and protection from the sun for the swimmer, while allowing ease of movement and comfort. They are skin tight and are made of bright colours and geometric patterns which blend the style of surfwear of the 1970s and 1980s with a wider awareness of skin cancer and the need to cover the body in the 1990s. Neck-to-knee swimming costumes contrast dramatically with other contemporary designs, including the high cut one-pieces and bikinis for women, and minimalist V styles for men.

    Women's swimwear design has gone full circle from the cumbersome woollen or serge bathing suits of the late 19th century to the neck-to-knee designs of the 1990s.

    The 1930s saw both men and women revealing more skin, reflecting the new craze for sun bathing. Swimwear became functional, sleek and streamlined. Men went topless, wearing swimming trunks and belted wool knit shorts with a half skirt for modesty. Women's swimsuits went backless, and by the 1940s developed into high waisted two-piece sets. By the 1960s, women's swimwear became more daring, with the introduction of the bikini. It marked a reaction to the constraints of heavily structured swimsuits of the previous decades and represented freedom of the exposed body.

    The UV Zootz range of Lycra neck-to-knee swimwear was designed by two self confessed "50s babies, born and bred on the beach", Debra Furness and Jan Fitzgerald. The two designers had both lost family to melanoma and were looking for new ways to protect themselves against the sun. Originally designed with children in mind, they quickly expanded their range to teenage and adult swimwear. The suits were also marketed for other outdoor activities such as cycling and windsurfing.

    Additional Titles


    Web title: Child's UV Zootz swimming costume

    Related People
    Manufacturer: UV Zootz

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