Meet the eco swimwear brand turning plastic bottles into bikinis

“For us, every day is World Oceans Day,” explain mega fitness and lifestyle influencers Zanna van Dijk and Natalie Glaze, co-founders of Stay Wild Swim – a sustainable swimwear brand with a love of the ocean at its heart. In celebration of World Oceans Day on 8 June, we catch up with the trailblazing duo about turning plastic bottles into bikinis and saving our seas. 

Hit the bottle

A truckload of plastic enters our oceans every minute, killing up to a million seabirds a year and leading to sea turtles from every species having plastic in their guts. As Natalie explained, “We’re dedicated to fighting this issue through regenerating this marine plastic into beautiful and functional swimwear, turning threat to thread [or, more specifically, the game-changing fabric ECONYL®].” ECONYL® is a brand new nylon yarn made entirely from landfill and ocean waste that can be recycled, recreated and remoulded again and again.  

“It’s important to us that the pieces will be ones that women will love and want to wear again and again.”    

Sustainable equals stylish

Stay Wild Swim’s bikinis and swimsuits are not just a force for good; they’re super stylish, too. “Our focus has always been to create flattering swimwear that makes you feel incredible,” Zanna says. “It’s important to us that the pieces will be ones that women will love and want to wear again and again.”

 

Save the seas in these

It takes two…

“People are often surprised that there are literally only two people behind this brand!” Zanna tells us. “They assume that there is a big team behind Stay Wild Swim when, in reality, it is just us.” 
 

…Plus 23,000 others

If there was a third team member, though, it would be Zanna and Natalie’s Instagram followers, who “help name the collections, vote on the colours, even model them! We put out an open casting call on our social media and had over 750 applications. Every woman who has ever modelled for us is someone who applied through Instagram,” says Natalie. Selfie sticks at the ready.

 

All the small things

Natalie and Zanna quickly realised that a brand intent on turning ocean plastic into swimwear needed to be sustainable in all aspects of its production, which entailed a lot more research. The pair had to find a UK factory with the right equipment for stretch materials and were keen to have smaller production runs to minimise wastage. But the trickiest part of swimwear to make eco? The hygiene liner. “It took months of researching and tearing our hair out,” Natalie tells us, “then we found our brilliant biodegradable ones made from tree pulp.” 

“For our small start-up brand to be recognised by such an established and forward-thinking company reassures us that Stay Wild really is a force for good”

Tomorrow’s tourists

Travel is great, but it’s no secret that an aeroplane’s carbon footprint is bad for the environment. Zanna and Natalie are seasoned travellers and, along with packing reusable water bottles, straws and totes, their eco-holiday tips include: wearing reef-friendly sun cream; going to local markets and independent restaurants (where produce tends to be wrapped in less plastic), and exploring your home. “It’s easy to overlook what your own country has to offer, but sometimes the most beautiful weekend away is on your doorstep.” Race you to the Kent coast.  

Listen to The SELF-Sustainable Podcast Series, Episode 3: Travel to discover more about the ways we can be travelling smarter and fairer.

 

The future’s bright

We’re proud to stock Stay Wild Swim as part of our Bright New Things initiative, which champions designers taking sustainability to the next level. For Natalie and Zanna, “it’s such an honour and gives us so much hope. For our small start-up brand to be recognised by such an established and forward-thinking company reassures us that Stay Wild really is a force for good and puts a fire under our butts to keep working towards our goals.”

Find out more about Buying Better / Inspiring change at Selfridges here

 

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