Pride was established by Steven Fleming as a way of reconnecting with his own city, and with his wife, after a decade of travelling to cities in Europe, the Americas and Asia, as an expert in the field of active and liveable cities.
It is right in the historic East end of Newcastle, Australia’s second oldest city (where you can't hear the cars for the surf!) that Pride has its swimwear manufacturing operation. It is a place where Steven has been able to practice what he had been teaching through his books and his talks, about cities as places for all kinds of production (manufacturing included) free of the menace of cars. For all but the heaviest deliveries—sewing machines, for example—Pride will continue to show the superiority of cycle-logistics for doing business in town.
Part of Steven's attraction to swimwear was seeing how important it was to his wife’s enjoyment of the historic Art Deco pool at their doorstep. Australia has the knowledge to make truly superior swimwear, but cost cutting, off-shoring and a fast fashion mindset were making that quality harder to find.
Addressing the gap meant buying machines from Australian brands who had off-shored production to Asia and going to those brands' former machinists and mechanics to capture their incredible skills. It wasn’t meant to be a rescue mission for a manufacturing tradition in decline. It turned into one though, and that’s fine.
It was worth the effort, too, for what swimwear symbolises, and that is Australia's unique offer to an increasingly industrialised and urbanised world. Most peoples' instincts would see them do nothing a machine could do for them. Around pools, though, we change. Even the most sedentary among us are compelled to start moving.
"swimwear symbolises [...] Australia's unique offer to an increasingly industrialised and urbanised world"
Steven's revelation after returning to Newcastle after four years based mainly in Amsterdam, was that to be truly fittening places, cities need more than active transportation. They need active destinations, in the form of free public pools. In this sense Pride is a social entrepreneurial venture, founded to promote a new, more complete vision, for healthy and prosperous cities.