A promising Baldivis fashion designer has been named Cancer Council WA’s 2023 SunSmart Fashion Project winner for her unique garment design that comes complete with UV protection.

19-year-old Curtin University fashion student, Daniella Steyn, said she was hoping to create something sun protective and sustainable that would appeal to all genders.

“Throughout history, women have often been subjected to restrictive and uncomfortable clothing choices that prioritise aesthetics over comfort and functionality,” Ms Steyn said.

“I wanted to break away from this trend so I aimed to create an outfit that appeals to a wide range of individuals, who value comfort, freedom of movement and self-expression in their clothing choices; principles I will continue to implement in my own label DNLA.”

Ms Steyn said when selecting the right sun protective fabric, sustainability was a top priority.

“I realise how important sun safety is, which is why I wanted to create a garment that had good body coverage, a high neck and long sleeves, and made from sustainable sun protective fabric,” she said.

“For my design I chose a green and black fabric made from EcoVero viscose rayon. This is a sustainable form of viscose sourced from Europe.”

Curtin University’s Acting Fashion Major Coordinator, Stephanie Hampson, said that the chance for students to be involved in a health promotion project as significant as Cancer Council WA’s SunSmart Fashion Project was an excellent opportunity to challenge themselves while adhering to a real industry brief.

“This is the ninth year we’ve been involved with the SunSmart Fashion Project and over that time we’ve seen our second-year fashion students really benefit from it, with the winner having direct engagement with industry to prepare their design for production,” Ms Hampson said.

“Industry partnerships such as this are providing our students with invaluable real world learning experiences.”

Students who undertook the ‘Garment and the Body’ fashion unit were asked to design functional, sun-protective attire that would also appeal to their peers.

SunSmart Manager, Sally Blane, said the judging panel was impressed by Ms Steyn’s design.

“Because melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young Australians between the ages of 15 and 29, one of SunSmart’s aims is to create greater awareness amongst young people about the damage that prolonged exposure to UV can cause, and the competition is a great way to do this,” Ms Blane said.

“Thoughtful, creative designs such as Daniella’s prove that being SunSmart can also be stylish and fun.”

Awarded with a limited run, Ms Steyn’s winning garment was manufactured by Sofia Clothing Balcatta, and was made available for sale at Ruck Rover General Store in Northbridge.