Sustainability is a buzzword that seems to have a different definition for everyone. Is it the fabric you use? Is it the method of production? Is it the packaging? Or is it all of these things and then some?
Sustainability can be broadly defined as fulfilling current needs without jeopardizing future needs. So when it comes to fashion there are countless factors to consider: fabric composition, fabric usage, working conditions, workers' wages, packaging, carbon emissions, and the list goes on. When perfecting our brand's ethos, I started to think about how to convey this broad range of sustainability factors into one concise phrase.
After a few brainstorming sessions, our tagline finally appeared: globally-conscious swimwear. Since there are so many interconnected aspects that go into creating a fashion brand, I feel that the description globally-conscious encompasses everything that Santos Swim stands for.
We are all connected in this global economy and the business world has tried for so long to stay separate from its impacts on the environment - but we can no longer allow this disconnect. To live consciously we must address these footprints head-on and work to leave a positive impact on the world.
This starts with sourcing eco-friendly materials, so I choose to use fabric made primarily with ECONYL® regenerated nylon. This fiber is created 100% from pre and post-consumer waste such as ghost fishing nets, carpet scraps, industrial plastic, and other nylon waste. Using materials created from waste results in less new fabric added to the garment cycle and reduced carbon emissions overall.
When it comes to manufacturing, I searched out for a production partner that shared the same values as we did. The factory provides a safe environment to work in and all workers are paid above minimum wage. They also each receive health insurance for themselves and their families. Every inch of fabric we order is used, even the small cutoffs are transformed into drawstring bikini bags.
This brings us to our packaging, which is 100% recycled and recyclable. We chose to go with these poly bags also because they can easily be reused thanks to their second adhesive strip. A small detail for swimwear specifically is hygienic liners, which we found compostable bioplastic versions to use for each suit.
Another aspect of living consciously is giving back. We donate 1% of each purchase to Healthy Seas, the environmental initiative that collects abandoned fishing nets to be transformed into ECONYL® regenerated nylon. On a local level, we organize local beach cleanups and record our trash hauls to provide critical data to the California Coastal Commission. This information can, in turn, lead to new laws and regulations surrounding high-appearing items such as styrofoam.
Developing Santos Swim as a globally-conscious brand from the ground up gives us a solid foundation to build upon and means that we will continually adapt + improve upon our processes. We want to thank you all for following along this journey and being a part of this global community.
If you are thinking of launching your own brand, check out this free guide by Factory45: 3 Things Every Sustainable Fashion Entrepreneur Needs to Know. It will point you in the right direction of establishing your brand sustainably from the start.
I will be mentoring a small group of sustainable fashion entrepreneurs in the Factory45 program starting next month and am looking forward to sharing my experiences with the next group of conscious entrepreneurs. Applications close tonight 5/20/20 at 11:59 EST, so don't wait - apply now!