This summer, a common theme in the swimwear industry has been “sustainably-based” swim lines. These products usually come with a word of warning. Most “sustainable” apparel products are unfortunately no better than the rest. Upon investigating surf giant, Ripcurl, Voiz was excited to find a corporation that is paving the way toward a more sustainable surf and swim industry. Their Classic Surf Eco swim series keeps the environment just as important as fit and function. Finally, an eco-friendly bikini series that lives up to its name! Ripcurl is the last company that one would expect to create a truly eco-friendly swimsuit, but their efforts toward a sustainable future are clearly demonstrated through this product.
This stylish swimsuit is made of 100% recycled nylon. Ripcurl has managed to charge ahead of competing brands by avoiding any new material when making this swimsuit. Other “eco-friendly” swim products often include a certain percentage of recycled nylon, but seeing a product that is made completely from recycled material is rare. This particular swimsuit has been made of old swimsuit or rashguard fabric that has been recycled. The company mentions that they hope to one day recycle the swimsuits they sell to create a more circular product system. While Ripcurl clearly has done a great job of developing a fully recycled product, the company has avoided one important detail. Customers should know exactly where in the world this recycled nylon comes from. Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping this recycled nylon need to be accounted for. It is important to acknowledge the brand’s success in developing a recycled product, but a little more information is always welcome. After all, sustainability is all about transparency!
While Ripcurl has developed a wonderfully sustainable product concept, it should be noted that there is a lack of transparency about its manufacturing. The material is derived from old swimsuits and rashguards and is recycled to make the swimsuit, but not much else is revealed about where and how the swimsuit is made. The brand earns 0.25 planets for its recycling initiatives and the details associated with the recycling part of the product’s creation. Unfortunately, a severe lack of manufacturing transparency leaves a gray area. Worker’s rights, labor conditions, factory locations, and shipping concerns all cannot be addressed without more information. As this brand moves toward sustainable initiatives, we at Voiz hope to see more manufacturing information in the future.
Ripcurl is the only large surf brand that practices what they preach in terms of sustainability. Their large surf competitions are plastic free events that see almost 80% of their waste recycled at the end of the competition. Employees are required to volunteer their time to clean up their local environment and the company donates millions to environmentally conscious organizations each year. While their sustainability goals are not extremely specific when announced to consumers, the company’s published progress shows that they are clearly making an effort to go green. Ripcurl has begun the process of getting their B corporation certification, which would make them the first large surf brand to certify. The brand has also done away with plastic bags entirely and reduced their shipping and packaging waste. Ripcurl’s future seems bright as they continue to move toward becoming a completely circular clothing and equipment retailer. Thanks for being awesome, Ripcurl. Your future looks pretty bright.