Julie Stine and Rosie Mueller of Koru Swimwear introduce Koru Swimwear’s new UP Collection to help educate consumers and lessen the environmental impact the fashion industry has on our planet.
In 2011, Julie Stine started Koru Swimwear to bring fashionable surfwear and apparel to market using the most sustainable materials possible. She found a ‘Green Vision’ textile manufacturer in Italy, Carvico, that introduced a new fabric using ECONYL® regenerated nylon. What’s so special about this regenerated nylon is that it is mainly derived from discarded commercial fishing nets that entangle countless amounts of aquatic life worldwide. Healthy Seas is the initiative that pulls the discarded commercial fishing nets from our oceans and sends them to ECONYL® to process into yarn that makes up 78% of our fabric. “It was important to me to find like-minded companies that cared for the environment and used the best practices possible to lighten the footprint that manufacturing has on our environment. I also loved the fact that Carvico offered a quality fabric that was helping to reduce the global problem these fishing nets are imposing on our ocean’s aquatic life. As much as I love the fashion industry, it is the number two polluter in the world behind the oil industry. I wanted to help reduce the harm fashion has on our environment through educating consumers and being a part of the solution, not the problem.” Julie stated.
Rosie Mueller came on board in 2013 with the same passion and mindset regarding environmental issues as Julie. Their goal for Koru was to not only produce a quality, eco-friendly and ethically produced product, but also to run their entire operation in the most environmentally responsible and sustainable manner possible. “In every aspect of our business we strive to set a good example in sustainable fashion. We don’t just ‘talk the talk’ we ‘walk the walk’! We scrutinize every detail. For instance, we use compostable bags or reused packaging when shipping our product. Our hang tags are affixed to our garments using hemp twine…never plastic. We want our brand to tell a story, educate our consumers, and make them feel good about their purchases.” Rosie commented.
2019 sees the launch of Koru’s ‘UP Collection’, a line of multipurpose accessories using the scrap remnants from their swimsuit production. “We realized that waste is one of the main polluting culprits that fashion produces, and it is contributing to our already overflowing landfills, not to mention how ‘fast fashion’ has created this disposable mentality. The first time we went to a factory to see our swimwear being produced, we were shocked at how much scrap fabric was being wasted or thrown away. We felt compelled to find a solution to this waste. As we worked on this, I made sure all our scraps were saved and safely warehoused for later use. Finally, Rosie and I came up with our solution… a beautiful line of multipurpose accessories at an affordable price point! The UP collection tells our story and helps to further educate the consumer.” Julie said.
The UP collection is about to be released online and in retail stores. The collection includes the Katoa, an accessory that can be worn five different ways, as a choker or pendant necklace, bracelet, anklet, and two different styles of barefoot sandal. The Takai, is a scarf with UV 50+ protection (as all our fabric provides) and can be used as a neck scarf, headband, sweatband and sun protector for face and neck. Lastly, we created hair ties that can also be worn as a decorative wristband. Not only are the products made from upcycled materials, but the display stands have been cleverly produced using reclaimed wood from the 2017 hurricanes and cardboard boxes kindly donated by local supermarkets and big box stores. “We’re really looking forward to seeing people’s reaction. This collection has such great energy and a feel-good factor that we wanted the name to reflect. The ‘UP’ not only stands for ‘upcycle’, but also ‘upbeat’. We want people to feel optimistic, not helpless. We want consumers to feel as though they are a part of the solution by purchasing upcycled products such as these in reducing fashion waste,” Rosie added.