Torquay-based swimwear brand U&I Label launched in 2014, but their quest to be as sustainable and environmentally conscious as possible has changed their trajectory since.
Co-founders and designers Jodie Hayes and Emma Bäcklund are determined to influence positive change in the fashion industry, and their attitude towards sustainability and women's surf culture have garnered a strong following for their brand in recent years.
Jodie and Emma are passionate about ocean protection and all things Mother Nature, and after making the switch to only-recycled fabrics in 2018, they can both proudly say their Australian made, circular swimwear label – is now a sustainable one.
Ocean dwellers Jodie and Emma recently stepped away from their busy surfside studio to share a little more about their passion for environmental protection, and their journey in the swimwear industry...
Why are you passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry?
The fashion industry has become one of the most significant contributors to waste in today's society, as the majority of the market is leaning towards fast fashion. U&I Label offers sustainable swimwear made from recycled waste plastics, and we promote quality made products that are intended to be cherished. We are a trendless brand who creates timeless designs that remain relevant season after season, year after year.
Why are you passionate about ethical fashion?
We are passionate about ethical fashion because of our belief that it is the only way of the future if we want the industry to survive, particularly in Australia. Smaller ethical factories count on smaller brands for their support, and we hope to provide that.
What inspired you to get into the industry, and why swimwear?
We lacked a swim brand that we felt accurately represented our personalities and way of life. There was a gap between dancing on the beach and masculine athletic style. None of the big brands out there made swimwear for active women who seek well-thought design. We surf, we run, we play - so we wanted to create that, ethically.
What steps do you take to keep your eco-footprint as light as possible?
We use intelligent design practices in our manufacturing to help ensure wastages are low. We have committed to using only recycled fabrics without compromising quality. We also don't use plastics in our packaging. All purchases are sent away in handmade fabric swimmer bags that we make from fabric offcuts too.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be and why?
We would hope the mindset of the fashion industry changes from single-use fast fashion with little to no quality of production, to a place where we are more mindful of the quantity and quality being produced. However, this needs to begin with the demand of the consumer. Once a change like this occurs, it becomes a trickle effect for the sustainable integrity of our industry.
Support a circular fashion future and shop the full U&I Label range here.
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