Sustainable Futures

Turning Waste Into Wearables

Three pioneering women from Aotearoa New Zealand are leading the way in innovation in the swimwear industry.

Using discarded plastics like fishing nets and bottles, they’re transforming trash into stylish and sustainable pieces. 

Gemma Lee – Working with Net Waste

Witnessing the staggering amount of fishing nets abandoned in our oceans, Gemma Lee developed a solution: transforming these nets into nylon fabric for their swimwear line. 

Crafted from 100% recycled materials, including ECONYL® Nylon LYCRA® which is derived from fishing nets recovered from the seabed, each piece embodies the spirit of the Healthy Seas Initiative. But the sustainability journey doesn’t end there – with compostable liners and eco-conscious practices, Gemma Lee is making waves in the fashion industry, one swimsuit at a time. 

Hākinakina – Sustainable Swimwear 

After recovering from cancer, Sara Cohen was looking for swimwear that suited her active lifestyle and offered a high level of sun protection. With few options available, Sara took matters into her own hands.  

Sara founded Hākinakina in 2020, crafting UPF 50+ swimwear that blocks 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.  

But the brand is more than just sun-safe; it’s planet-friendly. Crafted from 100% recycled plastic bottles and garbage from the sea, each piece embodies sustainability.

The swimwear’s manufacture also emits fewer greenhouse gases than traditional fabric – it uses waterless printing and is powered purely by green solar energy. 

Nisa Swimwear – Empowering Women 

Nisa swimwear isn’t just comfortable; it’s conscious. Their reversible swimsuits are made from recycled nylon using post-industrial and post-consumer waste, as well as deadstock – which is fabric leftover from another producer that would otherwise go to landfill. 

The company also creates opportunities, as well as garments. Nisa was founded to create employment opportunities for women from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and has supported dozens of women since its establishment in 2017.