In the current era of climate change and global warming it is proving ever more vital to protect the environment we live in. This includes not only the greenery we see day to day, but our oceans too. Due to this drive for sustainability, many clothing brands are making conscious efforts to adopt the most renewable ways of producing their products. Let’s take a look into some of the most ocean-friendly and sustainable fashion brands currently innovating in the market, as well as briefly delving into the production process itself.
The impact on our oceans
As of 2019, over a third of microplastics released into our oceans come from synthetic textiles, most of which are used to make up the clothes we wear. These microplastics are incredibly damaging to our ocean environments due to the fact that they take up to thousands of years to fully break down. Whilst the decomposing occurs, marine life often consume such plastics causing major harm, including stunting growth and the ability to reproduce. Ingested microplastics can also be transferred all the way up the food chain reaching human consumption, and although there is no concrete evidence as to the effects of microplastics on humans, it is unlikely to be a good thing. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more microplastics in the ocean than fish.
So, how can we fight this? Is there a way to solely produce sustainably?
The sustainable brands leading the way
The climate change initiative has led to a change in the way we think about production in the clothing market. Innovation is soaring with many new and commendable ideas for a sustainable way forward. Here are the clothing brands leading the way.
- Bakoto – Bakoto are an independent swimwear brand based on the North West coast of England. What’s special about Bakoto is that their swimwear incorporates recycled plastic waste into its production. Driven and inspired by their beach cleaning efforts, it was only then they realised the grave reality of global plastic pollution. Bakoto also heavily invests in green energy in order to produce their beachwear, including wind and solar powered energy sources. And if this wasn’t already enough, they also strive to use recyclable and recycled materials in their packaging, further aiding the fight for climate change.
- Naeco – Naeco (ocean spelt backwards) is a luxury clothing brand with sustainability at its core. This company manufactures clothing items by re-using recycled polyester collected from beach and oceans clean-ups. The plastic waste collected is passed through a series of cleaning and crushing processes in order to obtain small plastic flakes, which through a mechanical process are converted into rough polyester spun fibre. This fibre is then manipulated to obtain the finest quality of yarn, which they then use to develop their fabrics. Like Bakoto, Naeco’s founder, Zak Johnson, was was motivated to start his business due to the devastating pollution effects he had witnessed first hand in the ocean.
“As an avid kite surfer and scuba diver, I have spent a massive amount of my time in the ocean. Over the years, I saw more and more plastic floating on the surface and the enormous impact that it has on wildlife and the environment. I knew I had to do something to fix this.”Zak Johnson – Founder of Naeco
- Patagonia – It is not only small and independently owned business leading the way for sustainable production. The popular American outdoor clothing company Patagonia has recently commissioned Ocean Wise’s Plastic Lab to investigate microfibers, the tiny textile particles that shed from garments over their lifetime. By investing resources into the causes of such ocean pollution, companies such as Patagonia are providing vital research, leading us closer the overall solution. Larger organisations have access to resources which are proving vital in terms of garnering information surrounding this growing problem.
Time to engage
With our oceans becoming increasingly polluted, it is vital we get involved as much as we can. Not all of us can attend beach clean-ups, however we can all make changes in the way we shop. The topic of Fashion + Our Oceans has never been more pressing and now is the time to engage. It’s not an ask of you to completely boycott your favourite brands, but to simply take part in conscious consumerism.
Step by step and little by little we can aid the fight against ocean pollution and environmental change!