Words by Sara Mulcahy
A wise man (Plato to his friends) once said “Necessity is the mother of all invention”. And lovers of the great outdoors here in Port Douglas will tell you he was onto something there when it comes to the fishing shirt.
Back in 2018, Tessa and Darroch ‘Syd’ McMonnies were sailing the ocean blue with their fishing charter business, taking visitors on day trips from Port Douglas to chase Coral Trout, Spanish Mackerel and Giant Trevally. When you’re out on the water seven days a week, a cool and comfortable crew is paramount, and the pair wanted to kit out themselves and their team with clothing that fitted the bill.
“Syd was out on the boats all day, every day, even in summer when it was super-hot,” says Tess. “He was dying of heat, and we could never find anything for him and the crew to wear that looked respectable and was cool enough to wear all year round. There didn’t seem to be anything out there that was made in Australia, for Australian conditions. I thought, we can definitely do better than this.”
With a background in photography, fashion and textiles, Tess took the wheel and designed a new take on the fishing shirt — one that was UPF50 sun-safe and super-lightweight, with vented panels down the sides for that crucial airflow. She hand-drew the simple yet stylish designs inspired by their life on the Reef. After seemingly endless researching and trialling of fabrics, she found the perfect manufacturing partner in WA, and the first shirts went into production.