Hey Lieke, could you explain to me how you came up with the idea of making your bikinis from recycled materials?
WAUW, yes of course, this is where it all began. I did my thesis for my fashion degree on this exact topic; how recycled materials could be integrated within different product categories.
I started with doing research on the possibilities to make underwear from recycled materials. This was tough work and almost impossible. So, I realized I had to add several categories to make my thesis more relevant and successful for a pass ;). Then I came across different fabrics that I could use to make board shorts and swimwear, which got me very excited. I thought it would be amazing to combine my passion for designing swimwear with my passion for the ocean.
Can you help us explain what kind of materials you use? What is it made of?
For the SS19 collection we use Repreve. Repreve is made from recycled PET bottles and industrial waste. For the next collection we will use Econyl fabrics which are made from recycled fishnets.
Where does the recycled nylon come from?
Repreve recycled nylon is made from post-industrial waste. It’s removed from landfills and the ocean and then recycled.
What do you mean with post-industrial waste?
It’s nylon yarn waste which is a by product of yarn manufacturing and is typically deposited into landfills. Repreve takes this waste and recycles it.
Where does Repreve get the post-industrial waste from?
Repreve gets it from own yarn mills and from other factories that have nylon waste.
What do you mix the Repreve yarn with?
We mix the Repreve yarn with spandex, which creates the perfect fit for our swimwear.
What is your next step against a cleaner ocean?
It’s a big problem and tough to solve on our own. Yet, I do think every little step is one step in the right direction! I often have lots of crazy ideas and I have to remind myself to stay focussed and deal with one thing at the time. So, my first goal is to raise more awareness for the polluted ocean. I hope we can inspire people to drink out of sustainable bottles and to make sure that the plastic they can’t avoid to use ends up in the right place.
Furthermore, we try to make our whole supply chain as sustainable as possible. For example, we use little bags made from recycled plastic to deliver our swimwear in, which are also easy to reuse by the customer. On top of that we use envelopes from biodegradable material to send them in.
What are those crazy ideas?
I would love to get involved with projects which contribute to making the ocean cleaner. Such as local projects to pick up plastic waste, preventing it from ending up in our ocean, and then recycling it. Another idea would be to work together with an engineer who develops a system to make new swimwear directly out of our old swimwear, to reduce material waste. For now this stays a crazy idea, but you never know what kind of technology will be available in the future.