Five Minutes with Ali Cotton of FIRST BASE

With a newly launched Bondi concept store and a range that encompasses activewear, streetwear and swimwear, FIRST BASE is cementing itself as the ultimate sports lifestyle brand.

Not only is FIRST BASE made for the gym, bar, beach and everywhere in-between, but the brand is also extremely big on lessening the effects on the environment and maintaining ethical production practices. I spoke with Bondi Beach babe, creative director and girlboss of FIRST BASE, Ali Cotton about her brainchild.

What I love about FIRST BASE is the minimal, less-is-more feel and the strong streetwear aesthetic. Where do you draw your inspiration from when designing? 

It’s so much about making pieces that are going to stand the test of time, so for me that means clean lines and sleek details so you can wear your gear over and over again and not feel like you are wearing ‘those leggings aggaaiiiinnn’.

FIRST BASE doesn’t take itself too seriously – it’s tongue in cheek and not afraid to have a bit of fun. How much does the brand’s tone reflect your general attitude and outlook on life?

The brand voice is very much just me talking. I am quite irreverent and I want that to come through in the brand. FIRST BASE is not some big corporate machine – we’re just a bunch of girls working together who happen to be the best of friends and make stuff that we really dig. And get to have fun while we do it… because let’s be real, time goes way too fast, people are way too serious and who doesn’t love a few f*ks and f*king hells thrown around?

What makes FIRST BASE different from other activewear labels? 

I like to think we are different because we aren’t a big corporate brand. We’re independent, self funded and a small tight-knit team. We can take more risks from a brand perspective and just offer up a fresh and more real perspective on athleisure. Spiritual sayings are banned in this office!

In terms of our ethics, we are proudly 100% ethically produced which means that all the factories that make our clothes are audited by an independent body to ensure that all of the basic working conditions that you or I would expect are met like reasonable wages, safe working conditions and working hours. It’s hugely important to me and my team that we only operate in this way. While it costs more, is harder to achieve and requires constant monitoring, it just comes down to one thing – it’s the right thing to do.

Who is the FIRST BASE girl? 

She is a lover and a fighter. She is serious about health and wellness and equally serious about tequila on the rocks. She works hard and plays hard and never takes herself too seriously.

And one song to describe FIRST BASE?

Drake – Legend is currently on high rotation.

What are your top picks from the latest collection? 

The ‘Earn Your Stripes’ bra and leggings have been a big hit – great classics with clean details. I’m also loving our brand new khaki collection we just dropped. I was repping the full length khaki leggings with a knotted up big white tee, baseball cap and fluffy black slides the other day – I might have checked myself out a few times in the mirror.

Style is so personal and the cool thing is you can really take our pieces and take them where you want, whether that’s keeping things simple or taking it up a notch. I tend to always go fro the up a notch vibe.

You’ve just launched your first ever concept store in Bondi Beach, Congrats! What’s the reception been like so far? 

Bondi is the home of the brand and so much of what it is about and it was absolutely essential that the store was setup there. We are so lucky to have scored this space! We’ve had a such a great response to the brand already in such a short time. It’s fantastic to be able to get that direct feedback from customers.

What are your favourite summer hot spots? Recommendations on the best places to work, play and workout?  

Well I live in Bondi and now with the store in Bondi, I’m one of those people that doesn’t tend to leave much! But I do love the Coogee Pavilion for a drink and a hang. As far as swim – give me an ocean and I’m in so I’m not fussy!

I work out all around Bondi whether it’s in the yoga room at Body Mind Life or outside at North Bondi with Lean Bean Fitness. I like to mix things up. Also, Fish Bowl in the Pacific is my fave new lunch place – that’s a must go to.

And your ultimate summer beauty hack? 

Turmeric in your lemon water is amazing for keeping inflammation at bay. Doesn’t taste amazing but does amazing things. Other than that, I say ‘If you can’t tone it, tan it’.

Do you have a go-to workout? 

A combo of barre, HIIT and yoga. Barre is amazing for getting your body super toned and yoga is essential for life in terms of keeping me loose.

What has been your biggest pinch me moment for the brand so far? 

Probably being asked to speak at NYU in New York last year about what it means to build a brand. That was pretty cool.

Lastly, you’ve nailed streetwear, activewear and swimwear… so what does the future hold for FIRST BASE? Any plans for a permanent store? 

Anything is possible. I don’t like to give too much away as I love surprising people… but I can say that we do have some things in the works and I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Visit the FIRST BASE Concept Store at The Pacific, Shop 13, 180 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach. Open Mon – Sun. 

Images by Jody Pachniuk

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