U&I Label ethical vegan recycled swimwear surfwear The Fashion Advocate circular fashion


With each stitch inspired by the power of the ocean, U&I Label's mission is to create women's surf culture, promote slow fashion, and protect our planet. By helping reduce the environmental impact of wardrobes, their goal is to unite water women across the globe to protect our coastal playgrounds and start conversations both in and out of the water to create positive change. 

Established in 2016, U&I Label was dreamt up in-between sets while surfing at Bells Beach by Swedish designer and photographer Emma Bäcklund. Connected through a mutual love for the ocean and passion for designing with purpose, in 2020, fellow water woman Jen Sharpe joined U&I Label after feeling a calling to the brand, having walked a parallel path of barefoot adventure on common coastlines.

As two surfing mummas running an independent label, Emma and Jen hope to inspire and empower women by creating an inclusive community of those connected to the water. They tread lightly and consciously create products that allow sea-sters to effortlessly move from land to sea in flattering silhouettes that stem from practicality and pure functionality.

Emma and Jen seek a life filled with adventure, and their happy place is in the lineup, salty and sun-kissed. They share stories of strong feminine souls who inspire, those who are the change-makers, and the ones who represent the true coastal women's lifestyle.

More than a label, U&I Label are in business to do things better, create women's surf culture and have fun while doing it! Creating a sustainable brand holds them to be the very best version of themselves and gives them a platform to help protect the very place that brings them the most joy.

Emma and Jen are proud to help reduce the environmental impact of wardrobes by providing a better alternative for active women who respect and seek design. All U&I Label pieces are sustainably and ethically made, using 100% regenerated nylon for the swim range and deadstock fabrics for the apparel range. 

Ultimately Emma and Jen hope to create a brand that coexists with nature and contributes to a slow and circular model of business. The U&I Label goal is to design timeless collections that speak to female surfers, ocean dwellers, and the everyday woman who has a connection to the sea. 

U&I Label are proud to diverge from the seasonal model of fashion and instead focus on creating meaningful, high-quality garments that are produced on a small scale. Their goal is to design styles that are worn year after year, staying true to the U&I active woman who respects and seeks out longevity, functionality and design.

Many brands with large scale production often end up with leftover or end-of-roll fabric which is called 'deadstock'. Unfortunately, in most cases, these deadstock fabrics are eventually sent to landfill. U&I Label are committed to only using these high quality deadstock fabrics in their apparel range, which means whilst there are limitations around amounts and colourways, on the flip side it means that each garment is truly limited run. Handmade from the highest quality natural fibers, rest easy knowing every piece of U&I apparel that you own rescues material from ending up in landfill.

In 2018 U&I Label made the switch to using high-quality Advanced Recycled Vita Power Xrtra Life LYCRA for their swimwear which is made from 100% regenerated nylon fibre from post-consumer materials. Regenerated nylon is made from rescued waste that would otherwise be polluting the earth, such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic. Through a radical regeneration and purification process, the nylon waste is recycled back to its original purity! Which means it is exactly the same as fossil-based nylon. As well as being a solution to waste it also assists with climate change, reducing the global warming impact of nylon by up to 90% compared with the material from oil. 

U&I Label's Hujan + Sade swimwear bottoms and Illuvia Wrap top use Duck Dive, a 1mm thick fabric comprised of 84% polyester and 16% spandex which is similar to Neoprene with a silk-like touch. U&I Label have found the longevity of this material to be second to none, and whilst they would love to be using Yulex (a more sustainable neoprene alternative), the minimums and wait times for access to this material is unfortunately unattainable for a brand of their size at present. U&I Label have a good amount of the Duck Dive fabric role left for future styles and are committed to making sure they use this with no waste.

All U&I Label swimwear has been designed and manufactured in Australia since day one. Their current collection has been produced in the Australian high country with their seamstress Kerry and her team who are veterans in the industry of working with stretch fabrics and lycra. For their apparel, U&I Label have been lucky enough to have found a manufacturing partner in TTK Collective that has provided a wealth of guidance and support in ethical and sustainable production. They have direct lines of communication with their seamstresses in Vietnam who are experienced, passionate, and are all paid a sustainable living wage. Production facilities are set up in the women's homes, allowing them to work at their own pace and still be able to look after their families. As mum's ourselves, we understand how truly important this is.

From their buttons to their packaging, U&I Label are committed to being 100% plastic-free. Garments are protected in a unique garment bag made from deadstock fabric and shipped in home compostable mailers by Better Packaging Co. All stickers (including mailing labels) are home compostable from No Issue Co.

By helping reduce the environmental impact of wardrobes, U&I Label's goal is to unite water women across the globe to protect coastal playgrounds and start conversations both in and out of the water to create positive change. U&I Label are actively involved in beach clean-ups at our local breaks, and you'll find them on the frontline fighting for our future generations. U&I Label are proud to partner with Surfers For Climate and currently donate 5% of profits to saving our seas.

+ Australian designed
U&I Label is designed in Torquay, Victoria, Australia.

+ Australian made
U&I Label is ethically made by hand in Tawonga South, Victorian High Country, Australia. 

+ Ethical
All U&I Label pieces are ethically made in Tawonga South, Victorian High Country, Australia. 

+ Vegan
No animals have been harmed in the production of U&I Label swimwear. No animal textiles or animal by-products are used throughout any collection.

+ Recycled or circular
U&I Label uses 100% regenerated nylon fibre from pre and post-consumer waste, such as fishnet and other end-of-life nylon materials.

U&I Label's collections are designed and made in Tawonga South, Victorian High Country, Australia.

Shop the full U&I LABEL range here.