Unless you get caught in the rain, we know you can’t wear water. But did you know that you can control how much of this precious resource you consume in more ways than just taking a shorter shower? Let us explain.
Water and the denim industry
When you visit our friends over at Triarchy, the first thing you’ll see on their website is a banner asking the exact question we started off with: How much water are you wearing?
This is because, in the fashion industry, denim is the most water consumptive garment and can take up to 2000 gallons to make one pair of jeans. All clothing, including denim, uses water to grow the crop that makes the fabric, dye the fabric, wash the garment, and treat it with whatever process is used to get the final result.
What often happens is that microplastics from stretch denim end up in our water, the water used is contaminated by chemical treatments, and water that has been stonewashed or dye treated can’t be reused.
Fashion brands and manufacturers are coming up with unique ways of conserving water, switching to less harmful chemical processes and using natural fibers as a way to reduce microplastics, dyes, and chemicals from entering our waterways.
For example, Triarchy is the first brand to use a denim with non-plastic stretch made from natural rubber. Their other sustainable processes include using rubber in the stone washing process, enzyme distressing.
Plastic and the swimwear industry
In the swimwear industry, the relationship with water is a little different. Bathing suits are typically made from synthetic fibers like nylon. Virgin nylon comes from polymers derived from oil and gas. Because it is a synthetic material, nylon releases microplastics into the waterways when washed, which are problematic in that they can be released during the wash cycle, entering our waterways and oceans.
Tropic of C co-founder Daniela Manfredi is hyper-aware of the intrinsic link between the ocean and swimwear brands. She wanted their apparel to be sustainable at its core when they first launched.
As a result, the nylon that Tropic of C uses is recycled from ocean plastics, predominantly fishing nets, reducing the carbon footprint of the materials in their swimsuits. Because microplastics still remain an issue even with recycled nylon, Tropic of C is partnering with a reusable wash bag that traps microplastics during the wash cycle.
Ocean restoration and blue carbon
It’s easy to look at all the negatives when it comes to ocean pollution, but Kevin Whilden, co-founder and chief scientist at SeaTrees likes to make sure we’re recognizing the good that’s being done as well.
SeaTrees is a blue carbon offsetting non-profit that helps with reforesting the ocean through mangroves and kelp. Ocean reforestation is 5x more effective at sequestering carbon than traditional tree planting and its returns are much faster as well.
The way forward
Collectively, brands and consumers can create positive change through the choices we make with our purchasing power. Asking manufacturers to consider sustainable materials and processes is one way. Providing transparent and accurate metrics around the carbon footprint also allows consumers to make informed decisions and pressures other brands to do the same. Lastly, continuing to ask what our impact is, where we can make changes, and offsetting what is unavoidable in our businesses and personal life is a great way to bring beauty into the world while supporting and preserving what is already here.
Russ heads up Avery & Brown, a young but rapidly growing digital marketing and creative agency which puts people and planet on par with profit. Russ is also a Founder and Director of Elodie GmbH, which is a hybrid sustainability consultancy and creative communications agency based in Berlin and London.
Adam is a published author, as well as Co-Founder, Creative Director and Sustainability lead at Triarchy Denim, a leading brand in the responsible fashion space. Triarchy has been featured in Vogue, Forbes, and National Geographic for it’s work to reduce water consumption and eliminate chemical and plastics use in the fashion industry.
Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, SeaTrees by Sustainable Surf
Kevin is a green business entrepreneur and a geologist. SeaTrees is a program of Sustainable Surf that protects and restores blue carbon ecosystems worldwide. Prior to starting Sustainable Surf, Kevin has worked in various fields developing solutions to climate change!
Co-Founder and COO, Tropic of C
Tropic of C, a sustainable swimwear brand, uses a variety of materials including Econyl, Repreve and Xtra Life Lycra, made from recycled ocean plastic, fishing net and fabric scraps in an effort to reduce our impact on the ocean. Their packaging is also completely sustainable!