It’s a well-known fact that the world has a waste problem. Textile pollution is pouring into landfills and our oceans will soon contain more plastic than fish. According to a 2017 article published by National Geographic, there are more than six billion metric tons of plastic waste in the world. However, an innovative new industry is emerging that looks at upcycling waste, particularly ocean plastic, into a sustainable resource and creating innovative new fabrics that sustainable swimwear brands are able to convert into covetable pieces. For example, ECONYL made in Italy and REPREVE, made in the U.S. are generated nylon fibres made from recycled plastic polymers like fishing nets, plastic bottles and carpets that litter our oceans.
In beautiful sustainable synergy, some swimsuit companies are using this new technology to create beachwear made from ocean trash. These are our selection of sustainable swimwear brands from right here in New Zealand.
Aurai Swimwear tackles ethical fashion differently. Created by Brazilian designer Natalia Bertolo, sustainability and the environment are very important to the brand. AURAI started using ECONYL for its SS17/18 collection and, for its SS18/19, introduced AMNI SOUL ECO, which is made from a polyamide fabric that accelerates biodegradation in oxygen-free environments, like those found in landfills.
KowTow is one of New Zealand’s biggest ethical fashion labels. KowTow are Fairtrade-accredited, and proud of their consistent seed-to-garment commitment, which ensures things are done sustainably, every step of the way. The brand has designed a collection of full suits and two-piece sets made from ECONYL and manufactured in Italy.
Salt’s eco-conscious footstep goes beyond the use of ECONYL fabrics. SALT has made eco-conscious decisions in each step of the process — from acid-free tissue paper, which is printed using soy-based ink to 100% recycled paper hangtags and 100% recycled plastic that’s used to make the waterproof reusable pouch which each pair of swimwear comes with.
Wellington-based Nisa employs and empowers refugee women to make their eco-friendly garments. Their products are made with ECONYL, and XTRA LIFE LYCRA is additionally used in their swimwear to help keep garments lasting longer.
Certified Fairtrade organic cotton and ECONYL are the main materials used by Thunderpants, a small, ethical, family-owned and operated company, based in the Wairarapa. Ethical standards are pivotal to Thunderpants’ production, ensuring that everyone involved in the making of their garments is treated fairly.
Saltysea creates socially conscious and ethically made clothing for those with adventurous hearts. Beyond that, the company only works with ethical factories to make its small-batch garments.
Remember, you can use your purchasing power to support these ethical and sustainable swimwear brands. Support local industries where you can and reduce, reuse, recycle.