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Bower transforms ghost fishing nets into sustainable swimwear

The way we consume products affects the planet we live on. In light of World Oceans Day, it’s time we highlight initiatives and brands working together to create products that leave our seas better off.  

While improving the health of our oceans will require a collective effort on a variety of different fronts, figuring out how to eradicate the most visible culprit – plastic pollution – is one of the biggest fights marine activists currently face.

Each day, 8 million tons of plastic is emptied into our oceans, with 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic already finding a permanent home there. This incomprehensible figure is expected to triple by 2040 if we do nothing about it.

You’ve probably heard about microplastics – they’re floating inside your blood right now, by the way – but at least 10 percent of ocean plastic comes from ‘ghost’ fishing gear. A pretty ironic name for nets that collect other garbage, tangle sea life, and are not easily missed.

Several initiatives are working to remove harmful plastics from our oceans and transform them into fabrics that can be used for clothing that is long lasting and kind to the planet.

On World Oceans Day, it’s only right that we showcase an independent brand working with this type of initiative to start its journey with sustainability at the centre of its ethos.

Bower blends sustainability and stylish silhouettes

Since 2015, Bower Swimwear has produced swimwear and beachwear made entirely out of recycled ocean plastics.

Its beach-born, fashion-loving founders were motivated to respond to the ocean pollution and fashion industry waste crisis by creating timeless designs on sustainable fabrics that last.

They teamed up with the global initiative Healthy Seas, which works to remove plastic debris and ghost fishing nets from the ocean floor. These materials are recycled to create a 100% regenerated nylon yarn called ECONYL®.

The material is then fashioned into sustainable swimwear like Bower’s, athletic wear, carpets and other essential items.

Bower’s commitment to being environmentally friendly goes beyond the product itself. Its outer packaging is ethically produced from sustainable forests, using both recycled and renewable materials.

Each swimsuit arrives wrapped in tissue paper printed with soy-based inks which leave out harsh chemicals such as lignin & sulphur. As a result, these fibres are free to decompose without damaging the surrounding environment, including the ocean.

Giving back to the 2,900 workers who helped retrieve, process, and weave the fishing nets into something new, Bower donates a portion of every order back to its partner Healthy Seas.



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A unisolated passion for turning ocean plastic into fashion

Gen-Z is at the heart of driving sustainability and change – and it wouldn’t be a bad guess to say we’re beginning to start our own independent businesses that will help us achieve those goals.

Luckily, Healthy Seas isn’t alone in supplying ocean plastic-derived textiles to fashion entrepreneurs around the world.

SEAQUAL Initiative is another community of organisations and companies bringing value to the waste that is plaguing our oceans. It has already collaborated with PUMA to create football jerseys from a combination of old jerseys and its very own recycled marine plastics.

Oceanworks creates yarn, canvas, activewear, PET, and mesh fabrics that can all be upcycled, recycled, or converted into fuel at the end of their lifecycle. By partnering with Oceanworks, brands will ensure they are minimising their carbon footprint right from the outset.

In the coming years, we’ll likely see more organisations making fabrics from recycled marine pollution – which will only drive the costs of these materials down.

Lord knows we have enough supply of them to go around – 46,000 pieces for every square mile of ocean, according to the UN. Go fish!


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