Zimmermann: The Australian Designer Making Waves

Australian sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann have come a long way since the 1991 launch of their eponymous fashion label. What started as a small operation in Sydney has expanded into an internationally renowned brand, with dozens of stores worldwide. The line’s feminine silhouettes, which evoke visions of summering on the French Riviera and winter trips to St. Barth’s, are adored by celebrities and are some of the best-selling designs on online retailer Net-a-Porter. Based in Sydney, Nicky and Simone are also experts on the local scene. Here, Nicky shares some of her most valuable insights.

Tell us about your brand, Zimmermann. What was the original inspiration and how has it evolved?

Feminine with an edge was the original vision. I started out designing and making dresses in my parent’s garage in Sydney while I was still in school. At first, I sold my pieces at Paddington Markets in Sydney, and during this time I was lucky enough to land a two-page spread in Australian Vogue. I went to design school shortly after and launched Zimmermann with my sister in 1990. While the brand has evolved since its inception, we are still drawn to a feminine aesthetic and play a lot with color, print, textures and embroidery.

What advice would you give young women interested in launching their own companies? Follow your own path, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As a designer, it’s so important to have a strong opinion about what you stand for. Craft a perspective about what you want to say and what you want your brand to look like.

Related: Sydney Destination Report

What are three words you would use to describe Australia?

Bright, fun, fresh

What advice would you give someone visiting Australia for the first time? I would start a trip in Sydney and explore from there. The city is at its absolute best in the summer, when the bright, sunny days are intoxicating. I think you need at least a week to experience Sydney properly and acclimate to the laid-back lifestyle. It’s nice to just hang out and do things the locals do, like go to the beach, spend time in Bondi and take a day trip out of the city to Palm Beach or Whale Beach.

If you had only a day to spend in Sydney, what would you do? I’d start the day with breakfast at the Earth Food Store (81a Gould St.), in Bondi, followed by a walk along the coast from Bondi to Bronte. Then I’d go for a swim and read the morning paper on the rocks in Tamarama. For a late lunch, I’d head to one of my favorites: Sean’s Panorama. After some quiet time in the afternoon, I’d go for cocktails and dinner at Bennelong, which has beautiful views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

What are your favorite boutiques in Sydney? The Intersection (Oxford St.), in Paddington, sells a wide variety of Australian designers. There are also some nice boutiques on Gould Street, in Bondi—you can just cruise the street and find all sorts of things. Mamapapa (11/20 Avalon Parade), which sells a mix of vintage, designer and kids’ clothing, is another favorite.

Related: How to Have a Luxurious Vacation to Australia for Less

Can you think of a moment that made you fall in love with travel?

In my early 20s I traveled to New York City for the first time. It was an important moment because it made me realize that there is so much in the world outside of my home country. I love Australia and Sydney, but I also discovered a passion for traveling and seeing the world, whether it be for work or for pleasure. 

What items are always in your carry-on bag? I always carry moisturizer, pawpaw lip balm, an eye mask and ear plugs.

What places are on your travel bucket-list? I want to travel to Africa with my daughter, who is 11. I’d also like to explore India further.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a vacation to Sydney and visit the Zimmermann website ( to shop the label's fashions. 

Published onDecember 14, 2017

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