Seeking meaningful connections is what life is all about, whether that be with the people around us or our environment. This filters down to our consumer decisions. When looking to buy something, we encourage you to ask the question: ‘where does this come from? And where will it go, at the end of my time using it?’.
Our product lifecycle was developed to form a value chain that lines up with our ethos. The status quo was not enough. So we made our own model.
A Circular Approach to Swimwear
We have considered everything from mindset (slow fashion and philanthropy), to the material, make, methods, move (logistics/packaging), mend and more.
Every piece in our Clean Lines collection is made using the most cutting edge material, FSC certified Yulex Pure, a plant-based alternative to conventional, non-renewable neoprene which is derived from petroleum or limestone, therefore a product of mining or drilling (a less sustainable choice).
We have strong personal relationships with the people who make our garments, and who abide by ethical manufacturing processes, causing minimal harm to the environment. We have also sourced distribution methods that produce minimal carbon emissions.
Lastly, our ‘mend’ approach means that our customers can enjoy an extended life of their oceanwear by sending any damaged pieces back to be fixed free of charge; or simply return your garments when you’re no longer using them and we will recycle them.
Starting with the right mindset is integral to creating something exceptional that doesn’t harm the planet or people.
Our mindset is focused on slowing down and living with purpose. We began our mission with a clear picture of helping the ocean and everything that thrives in and around it: wildlife, plants, and people.
With this in mind, every decision from there came naturally. We have spent months sourcing the finest, most sustainable materials and the right factory, to ensure that every piece not only looks amazing but is made in an ecoconscious way, in a fair trade environment where workers are treated fairly.
We’re on a mission to encourage new behaviour towards a post-consumerism society where people can enjoy their choice of purchase and lifestyle. Like most things in life, it is better to choose quality over quantity. This filters down to our business model, which has given right at the heart of it.
Every SLO piece that you buy, we will donate to one of our ocean charity partners of your choice through our EARTH TO OCEAN model.
Material choices have the greatest impact, so we push for better textiles and finishing processes. Up to two-thirds of the sustainability impact of fashion happens at the raw materials stage – before the clothes have actually been made.
It is estimated that a single textile mill can produce from 5% up to 25% of pre-consumer textile waste on its total yearly production. Fibre selection also affects how you’re going to wash the garment, and potentially recycle it one day – both of which are important factors to consider when it comes to our environmental impact.
Yulex is a resource from raw natural rubber of hevea trees in which the sources are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The trees are not grown on newly cut rainforest land, like some of the world’s supply.
Yulex Pure relies on zero-waste processing where their speciality rubber is produced under environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing practices. This ensures that our material has been through ecoconscious processes from Earth to Ocean.
Finding the right factory that is in line with our slow fashion values, was critical to launching SLO active in the right way. We place a lot of value in high-quality design and craftsmanship, without compromising the environment and human rights.
It has been reported by The International Labor Organisation (ILO) that women are more often than not the target of sexual harassment in the workplace, especially within textile and clothing factories. Better Work data shows that men are three times more likely than women to be supervisors.
Women are less likely to be promoted, receive training or become a union leader. Fashion activism organisation, Labour Behind the Label, has found that mass fainting of garment workers in Cambodia is due to malnutrition.
We partner with a small independently-run textile factory in Italy that specialises in swimwear and activewear.
Our oceanwear pieces are delicately crafted with style and substance in mind and produced in limited quantities. In support of slow fashion and artisanship, each piece is built to be something to love and last – rather than throw away after one season.
We have developed and implemented a solution to reduce and responsibly recycle textile waste within our factory. All offcuts of our fabric are hair ties. The rest is collected up to send to our carefully selected partners who use our offcuts for diving accessories.
Processing raw materials and manufacturing clothing consume extreme amounts of precious water. The creation of textiles uses more water, energy, chemicals, and other resources than many of us even think about or ever see. Over 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles.
We have chosen a textile manufacturer that uses water-based glue for lamination of fabrics, rather than solvent-based. This eliminates harmful volatile organic compounds and has the same durability as conventional solvent-based wetsuit glues.
The fashion industry is one of the largest consumers of water, and more than 1 billion people on this Earth do not have access to safe water. We’re trying our best to reduce our H2O consumption throughout our processes.
The interior linings and face fabric is coloured with solution dye in order to save 50-100 litres of water per suit (depending on the size of the piece, of course); this is over 75% less water than what is used in conventional dyeing.
Petroleum free – by replacing conventional neoprene and similar synthetic materials, we are reducing CO2 emissions by up to ~75% in the manufacturing process.
Plant-based neoprene – synthetic materials are essentially plastic, and when you wash synthetics they shed small plastic pieces called microfibers. Microfibres from synthetic clothing and textiles are a key source of microplastics in our oceans. When we wash our clothes, fibres are shed into the washing water.
Due to their minute size, these fibres pass through wastewater treatment plants and end up in the ocean. Once in the ocean, they act as pollution magnets that marine animals mistake for food, and which can eventually end up in our food.
We laminate our Yulex suits with recycled synthetics to lessen our environmental impact, but these potentially shed microfibers too. That’s why we’re working hard to phase out synthetics, while Yulex Corp is working on a solution to produce 100% Yulex sheets.
We don’t have bricks and mortar stores. On average, e-commerce uses about 30% less energy than traditional retail. Customers can buy our products from SLO’s website.
We have put a lot of time into analysing the supply chain for transportation footprint, and finding ways to offset this.
We have arranged for all shipping to take place directly from the factory in Italy, rather than the traditional method of shipping stock to a warehouse or distribution center nearer to our office.
Green shipping methods have been sourced together with our factory, to ensure we are producing the least amount of carbon emissions possible. As we offer international shipping, our oceanwear is sent to all different parts of the world.
We have methods in place to offset the carbon emissions produced by this.
Our hang tags and business cards are made from recycled tee shirt off-cuts. Our suits are delivered with minimal packaging, that is recycled and compostable. We have also sourced distribution methods that produce minimal carbon emissions.
In the UK, roughly two million tonnes of clothing and textiles are thrown away every year and only 16% of that waste is ever reused. That’s roughly £140 million worth of waste.
Our garments are made to last, but we know that things don’t last forever. We are currently in the process of developing our very own repair service to prolong garment life. We’re also in talks with a partner in the US who creates amazing diving products out of recycled rubber and neoprene-type materials.
We invite you to join us in encouraging the 5 r’s model: recycle, reuse, reduce, re-design and re-imagine. Whether this be handing down to a loved one when you’re done with using your garment, or send back to us so that we can recycle it.
We are always looking for ways to do things better. We are not perfect, there are always improvements to be made, and we’re working on it.
We promise to always be proactive and dedicate in research and development, to ensure we are always at the cutting edge of new technology across the entire lifecycle and supply chain to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.
Minimalism is our mantra. This shows through our garment designs and way of working. We want to encourage people to live with purpose and intent and only buying what you need.
Why the journey to Zero Waste?
The latest statistics say 1.5-2.5 trillion gallon of water is used in fast fashion industry every year and these polluted waters used in chemical processes in garment factories end up drained back into the oceans. 150 billion pieces of unused clothes ends up in landfill. About 10% of world carbon build up is caused by the fashion industry, which is 5 times more CO2 than the aviation industry.
Oceanwear for Ocean Conservation
Ocean conservation is our cause. We operate on a 3-year plan basis with our partner charities. Our current focus is combatting plastic pollution, which is one of the most challenging forms of pollution that we are faced with today, negatively impacting terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and the organisms that live in these habitats.
Slow Fashion Pioneers
We want to endorse the pioneering work of international NGOs, unions and social enterprises like IndustriALL, Labour Behind the Label, Fairtrade International, Oxfam, Fashion for Good, Future Tech Lab Better Work, Clean Clothes Campaign, CARE, TRAID, Traidcraft, War on Want and Fair Wear Foundation. Thanks to these pioneers and many others, environmental issues to do with the fashion industry and human rights issues are more visible and better understood than ever before. These are the organisations from whom we draw inspiration from.
Eco-conscious swimwear is more than just a sustainable textile, it’s about the overall brand and how it gives back, rather than taking away. We all have a responsibility to be mindful of the choices we make, and aware of the impact they have. Purchase with purpose.
Raw natural hevea trees
Yulex rubber comes from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified by the Rainforest Alliance. This ensures that trees are not grown on newly cut rainforest land, like some of the world’s supply.