Every year, eight million pieces of plastic end up in the ocean, thus, not only polluting the waters and shores but also threatening marine life to the brink of extinction. Due to the increased urgency to protect the oceans, some countries joined hands and proposed World Oceans Day at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Subsequently, the United Nations gave the day its recognition in 2008 and it is marked every year on June 8.
While governments, NGOs, and individuals are doing their bit, many clothing brands are also working towards ocean conservation by recycling the discarded plastics and fishing nets to produce yarns and fabrics for their clothing lines. We take a look at some of these ocean-friendly fashion brands that are giving us sustainable as well as stylish products.
[Hero Image: OceanZen/Contur/Girlfriend Collective; Featured Image: Girlfriend Collective]
Girlfriend Collective is one of the world’s most famous sustainable activewear brands. Its lustrous fabrics, which exude comfort, are made from post-consumer water bottles from landfills. For its LITE leggings and Maternity Collection, the brand uses Econyl yarn obtained from fishing nets, landfills, and other ocean waste. The recycled fabric is certified Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, which means that it has been tested for harmful substances and is harmless for human health.
Textile for the clothes comes from a government-certified facility in Taiwan, where the bottles are processed into yarn. The completely female-oriented brand ensures that safety, health and fair wages are ensured for the workers at the Vietnam facility where the clothes are produced. The colours for the clothes are obtained from eco-friendly dyes. Packaging is biodegradable and made of 100 percent recycled materials.
Hamilton Perkins is pretty well known for its limited-edition luxury bags, all of which are made from recycled materials. The collection includes travel bags, shoulder bags and backpacks among others.
Hamilton Perkings has been using recycled material for its products since its founding in 2014. One of its most popular designs is Earth Bag Premium, which is also the first that the brand created. The bags are produced using pineapple leaf fibre, recycled plastic water bottles, and billboard vinyl. On average, per Earth Bag, 10 pineapple leaves and around 17.5 recycled plastic water bottles are used. Except for the dazzling gold and silver pineapple, the colours of the bags are soft.
Hamilton Perkins has stores in the US, Canada and Europe but they also ship their products to other parts of the world.
Another ocean-friendly fashion brand, Indigo Luna primarily uses two types of sustainable fabrics for its range of linen, yogawear and swimwear. One is eucalyptus-derived fabrics by Tencel and the other is Econyl.
The products, which include shorts and kimono jackets, are made in Bali, Indonesia, in a small factory run by women. Work is done by hand under safe conditions and adequate healthcare, according to Indigo Luna. Everything from dyes to packaging is eco-friendly. The soft colours of the clothes come from tropical plants such as indigo, mango, secang wood, and rhubarb leaves. The process is so sustainable that even the waste is composted. Packaging is done in biodegradable Cassava starch bags.
Women who love to take a dive or a swim would find OceanZen swimwear not only comfortable, stylish, and high-performing but also responsible and environment-friendly. The brightly coloured outfits are made from recycled bottles and fishing nets recovered from the oceans. The company’s founder Steph Gabriel, who is an Environmental Scientist, was inspired to create the brand in 2014 due to her love for the oceans and her observation of the impact humans were having on marine life.
The sustainable swimwear brand also ensures that packaging is done in reusable cotton drawstring bags. The swing tags are made of recyclable paper. The satchels in which the products are shipped are created from 100 percent biodegradable and home compostable materials. If any fabric goes unused during the manufacturing process, it is used to make scrunchies.
OceanZen is OEKO–TEX certified and goes a step further in spreading awareness about the oceans; it organises an annual week-long retreat for women to visit Tonga and swim with humpback whales.
Fair Harbor takes its name from the hamlet on Long Island, New York, where the brand’s founders, brother and sister Jake and Caroline Danehy, spent their summers growing up. The duo founded the company after impressing a panel of judges including Hollywood actress Jessica Alba and winning a grant at a mock Shark Tank competition in 2015 at Colgate University where Jake was a student.
Since then Fair Harbor has helped remove over seven million plastic bottles from the oceans. The bottles are used in producing their signature product: boardshorts. Around 12 recycled plastic bottles are used to make each short, be it the floral-patterned The Anchor, the blue-and-red The Bayberry Trunk or any of the other men’s swimwear. Even the tees, henleys, polos and hoodies are made using recycled plastic bottles.
The process of using plastic bottles to make sustainable fabrics for clothes is similar to most other brands. Bottles are collected from around the world, shredded and washed into flakes, melted down to form pellets and then shredded again into yarns. The yarn is then woven into the brand’s custom fabric. Fair Harbor works with factories in the US, Peru, Pakistan and China. The brand claims that it prioritises worker safety, fair wages and minimise environmental impact.
As part of its quest to safeguard the oceans, Contur uses only Econyl for all of its luxurious activewear range. The brand caters only to women, and its products include leggings, shorts, crops and vests which are available in solid colours like orange, burgundy, cerise and jade among others. The clothes are equally perfect for everyday wear as they are for a workout.
Stitched and seamed by hand, all the clothes are breathable and sweat-wicking. Some of them also come with high UV protection.