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ABOUT US

Lilia Rossana and Pamela Bramwell, the co-creators and friends behind Starfish & Moss towel ponchos.
Starfish & Moss logo with tagline: Towel ponchos reimagined.
PAMELA BRAMWELL

Chinese American married to a Kiwi and mum to three teenagers plus a Springer spaniel. Listens to podcasts in her sewing studio and out in the veggie garden and makes everything from scratch. 

LILIA ROSSANA

Born in Brazil but now a Kiwi who lives in a tiny home she built. Yoga teacher and nature lover, Lilia is a cold water enthusiast who has swum on six continents so far.

PROBLEM: FINDING A TOWEL PONCHO THAT'S MORE OF A PONCHO THAN A TOWEL   

OUR STORY

NATURE LOVERS AND WELLNESS SEEKERS

In 2016, Lilia and Pamela were both living in Queenstown, New Zealand and met working as volunteers for a local wellness festival. They quickly became close friends, attending various workshops, festivals, and yoga classes together while Pamela raised three boys with her Kiwi husband, and Lilia built a tiny house with hers by watching YouTube videos. 
DOES THE JOB AND FEELS GOOD TO WEAR?  

During a girls' getaway in 2022, the pair walked along St. Clair Beach salty and refreshed after a dip in the ocean wearing some towel ponchos Pamela had made (very early prototypes). They wondered why no one was making a towel poncho that ticked all their boxes yet:
  • VERSATILE AND WARM. New Zealand's South Island has a temperate climate and we're blessed with many refreshing (read: freezing!) lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and seas. So floaty tropical beach cover-ups aren't much use here, but we still wanted something comfortable we could throw on over a swimsuit to go for a swim and get back into it afterwards without looking like we're wearing a towel around. 
  • CONTORTIONIST NOT REQUIRED. Towel ponchos became popular with surfers because they could dry off and stay cosy while changing into and out of swimsuits and wetsuits without risking the embarrassing towel fumble. The traditional boxy sleeveless design might be adequate for pulling on boardies. However, tucking your arms in and trying to swap a bikini top for a bra is another story!
  • NOT UGLY. Speaking of boxy, we can't be the only ones who have full and adventurous lives and don't want to cart around lots of different clothes, especially a soggy surf poncho?
  • NOT FAST FASHION. Ethically and sustainably made, preferably locally, and definitely not from an overseas sweatshop.
  • NATURAL, NOT SYNTHETIC. Synthetic clothing (including microfiber, fleece, and fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles) shed tiny microplastic fibres when washed that are polluting our waterways at a devastating rate. As divers, polluting the ocean was a dealbreaker.
Beach at sunset, where you could use a towel poncho while camping or surfing.

JUST THE BEGINNING!

VERSATILITY REQUIRED INNOVATION AND A RETHINK 

Lilia is notorious for running off to seek out hidden waterfalls and secluded beaches for skinny dipping between errands, teaching, and Zoom meetings. She challenged Pamela to design a frictionless transition for her nature breaks, something that not only functioned as a towel poncho but dried fast enough that it could take her through the day after changing out of wet gear. In an effort to buy better but less (and not outgrow the storage in her tiny house!), each garment she owns needs to be durable and serve many purposes.
After numerous not-quite-right prototypes, they discovered a Turkish artisan weaving stunning Peshtemal towels from organic cotton yarn - a natural fabric renowned for its durability, absorbency, and fast-drying properties - and the 2023 West Coast collection was born. The humble surf poncho thoughtfully reimagined for maximum functionality and versatility in line with the growing slow fashion movement.

GOOD FOR THE SOUL AND THE PLANET

As Starfish & Moss took shape, they knew they didn't just want to offer just another hooded towel. Their vision is to create little pockets of wellness adventure seekers everywhere inspired to embark on nature-fuelled escapades, embrace new and challenging experiences, and reconnect with their sense of awe and joy. 
We're delighted you're joining us on this exciting journey of discovery! - Pamela and Lilia 
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