What is a sarong anyway?

What is a sarong anyway?

What is a sarong you ask?  Its a simple rectangular piece of fabric that can be wrapped around the body as a beach cover up, or a hundred other uses.

But first, the story about how I ended up designing sarongs and resort wear, from my little sail boat in the Caribbean.  It all started when my first baby was born, and I could no longer go out and get a job to support our sailing lifestyle, because I wanted to be at home on the boat with my baby.


Here is a quick video with snippets of us sailing to Dominica, my baby girl was about 2 years old at this stage.

We had our own beautiful boat, but we still had to make a living for ourselves, and I didn't want to leave my baby and put her in daycare to get a job, so I decided to create a job for myself on the boat.

I started making beautiful beaded jewelry using larimar (the gemstone of the Caribbean) and various other aqua and turquoise beads.

Next I started importing beautiful brightly colored baskets from Madagascar.

Eventually my old friend who had been the Production Manager at Billabong South Africa, when I was Head Designer there, said to me "when are you going to stop fiddling around with these little things and start your own line?".  It seems obvious now, but I had honestly never thought of doing that.... despite graduating fashion school and having many years experience around the world in the fashion industry. 

Here is my Fashion School graduation collection... funnily enough in bright colored resortwear.


Here is a video of that graduation collection on LIVE national TV in the Australian Fashion Awards 1992.

So I booked myself a flight to India to search for fabrics suitable for the hot weather of the Caribbean.  Here I am in Delhi.

I found myself the most amazing soft pure cottons, and so began West Indies Wear.  From the get-go we were all about sarongs and cotton tunic tops to give sun protection in the Caribbean heat.


Here is a quick video where I am talking about how I first started my brand. 


We still do a lot of different printed designs on sarongs.  


What is a sarong?  Just a big rectangle of cloth actually.  Most common sarongs are in a synthetic viscose rayon fabric, but ours are in lovely soft pure cotton.

What do you do with a sarong?  You can use it as a towel, or you can wear it as a dress over your swimsuit.

You can wear it as a skirt over your swimsuit too.

And if it is SO HOT you would prefer to wear it as a mini skirt... simply fold it in half lengthwise and wrap it around your waist.  Tie it on one side to create a drape, or tuck it in on the waist to keep it flat.

And even the boys like to wear them.  How does your partner feel about a "man sarong"?

Use it to cover a pillow on a beach chair.

You can use it to shade your face when you are tanning.

Or you can use it to shade your shoulders when you have had too much sun.

My tween put her sarong to use by putting her own spin on sun protection.

Even our little mermaids like to wear them... simply shorten the length by folding it lengthwise to get the length that suits your mermaids height.

Both of my little mermaids love their sarong collection.

Even the babies love them, because they are so soft.  Here is baby girl Saylor all snuggled up in her Sailaway Sarong.

This however is my idea of a good time in a sarong.

I highly recommend you wearing one while you have your vacation "nana nap".

What about shelling?  Do you like to collect some shells on the beach.  I have to admit a little collection of shells always finds its way to my house.

When the sun sets and the air gets a little cooler, you can wear it to keep the chill away.  You will be very surprised how warm such a fine cotton can be.  I always use one on my long flights.

The nice thing about our pure cotton sarongs, is that if you use it for a towel, and then hang it out to dry, you will have a fresh towel in about 5 minutes of island breeze time.

No beach walk should be taken without one !

Well here you go.... this sarong use must be the craziest of all.  AND that would be reserved for my dog crazy sister Amy.

Happy sarong vacation island friends xx

 Be sure to check out my new video here.

Click here to SHOP OUR SARONG collection.

Don't forget to PIN this blog post to your pinterest (there is a link below) so that you can remember us when you are shopping for your summer goodies.

Back to blog


Absolutely love reading your stories. It’s so great that you decided to take the road less taken. So nice you have a partner that shares your ideas! Linda

Linda DeVries

I love everything I’ve ordered! sarongs are so much fun and so versatile. Also beautiful as a runner or table cloth🏝


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.