Our fabric has a long and fascinating story before it even reaches our workspace in Melbourne. Healthy Seas Initiative are just some of the incredible people who collect the old fishing nets and other nylon waste from the ocean that becomes the regenerated ECONYL® yarn we use, so it seemed pretty natural for us to give a little back to them. Knowing our oceans are so important to our health and our survival, we've partnered with Healthy Seas Initiative to donate 1% of all our sales to their amazing organisation, we wanted to help support the folks who are out there on a daily basis protecting and advocating for our seas.
The ECONYL® process starts with the rescued waste, like fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans all over the world. That waste is then sorted and cleaned to recover all of the nylon possible. Through a radical regeneration and purification process, the nylon waste is recycled right back to its original quality -a process that is far less environmentally harmful that the production of “virgin” nylon.
That nylon fibre is then knit into our soft swim fabric in a mill in Italy, before it reaches our supplier in QLD. Our Aussie pinter digitally prints our fabric using water-based, non-toxic inks, no inks are discarded down drains and no washing is required after printing. They recycle all their discarded paper and they all fabric rolls despatched across the country are wrapped in recycled plastic
The fabrics we use are man made, no animals are harmed to produce them, in fact, as ECONYL® is made from plastic waste dredged from the sea, the marine-life are actually benefiting from our fabric being made!
Because Elle Evans Swimwear was built with sustainability at the foundation we take a very different approach to design and production than most companies. The norm in fashion production is to manufacture as much as you can all at once in order to reduce costs. We decided the better way for us to manufacture would be to make each swimsuit, legging or sports-bra only after someone had purchased it. That way we know each Elle Evans piece we make is going to a happy home, not to landfill! Once an order is placed, founder, designer and seamstress -Elle, heads out to our workspace where four sewing machines, a cutting table and an industrial iron await. She spends the most time laying patterns on to our fabric ‘just so’ to make sure we end up with the smallest amount of fabric wastage. Smaller scraps are saved and often become a frill or strap down the track on someone else’s swimsuit. The order is sewn up, pressed and put in a carry bag (Also sewn in our workshop, out of dead stock fabrics), then posted out through carbon neutral couriers Sendle. During busier times of the year we hired one or two extra machinists who also work out of our studio space. They're paid -by the hour not by piece sewn- above a minimum wage here in Australia, they work less than five hours at a time and stops for regular tea breaks and pats with the studio kitty cat, Louis.
We definitely didn't want to let the team (read planet) down by shipping your sustainable order in plastic bubble wrap! We package all our orders in compostable HEROPACK© mailers, which can be home composted (we tested!) and we ship all our orders within Aus using legendary carbon neutral couriers SENDLE.
It's so important to us that once an Elle Evans swimsuit is out of our workspace it isn't out of our hands. We want everything we create to be re-worn time and time again, handed down to friends, sisters, brothers and kids and then -and only then- once it's reached it's full potential, recycled back into the system it came from. That’s the beauty of the ECONYL ® Regeneration System. While we are still only a young company we hope that in the future all our customers can recycle their Elle Evans swimsuit, legging, rashie or sports bra through us, knowing that they have closed the loop rather than left a footprint on the ecosystem.
If you want to contact us about anything you’ve read, or if you’re interested in recycling your Elle Evans swimsuit, drop us a line here.
(Shot by Adrian Lander and FilmByAlf Productions for a feature on Shadows Magazine)