Do you ever wonder where your recycled plastic bottles go to once you put them in the recycling bin? Or ponder whether your attempts to separate your empty tins of tomatoes, drained milk cartons and old newspapers into their correct bins is really worth the time and effort? Well US consumers can now rest easy, knowing that it’s all worthwhile because their recycling efforts are helping to save our planet, one bikini at a time.
Thanks to Californian based swimwear label Brkn Img, discarded plastic bottles from US households now have the opportunity to become something sexy. Headed up by a former designer for the clothing brand Free People and now consisting of five ‘free spirited souls’, this inspired young collective decided to put local recyclable rubbish to good use. In March this year, they launched an exciting new swimwear range – every item is handmade from discarded plastics, meaning that you can enjoy your ocean swim feeling a little less guilty about the garbage you just threw out at home.
We at Brkn Image are driven to reduce society’s carbon footprint while creating a quality product that will look as amazing as making a difference feels.
Let me break it down for you…
“Just because something is created in one form,” says Brkn Img CEO Ian Knightly, “it doesn’t mean the image cannot be broken. Instead of contributing to world pollution, we wanted to alter something that already existed – plastics.”
According to Knightly, coming up with the idea was the easy thing, making it happen was another matter.
“Searching all over LA for a company who could create pressed plastic fabrics wasn’t easy. We were using discarded plastic bags and water bottles at first, broken down and mixed with a type of microfibre to make a soft and stretchy material.”
Turning trash into treasure
Once the process to turn plastic bags and bottles into fabric had been perfected, the Brkn Img team had the opportunity to think more broadly about what type of plastic garbage they would most like to incorporate into their swimwear. They chose milk containers, as they could see that turning these bulky pieces of household waste into something better would create a story that many consumers could appreciate.
Brkn Img is just one of a growing number of US start-ups turning trash into treasure. US recycling centres separate recyclable plastics and allow companies like theirs to buy the waste to create something fresh, while giving consumers the feel good factor that many are now looking for.
“Our manufacturers mix the materials, melt them down and press them into thread,” says Knightly. “From there it’s sewn into yardage, which we pick up and take to our own office and cut and sew it together ourselves.”
According to Brkn Img, an average bikini uses around 4-5 large milk containers or jugs, which is around a month’s worth of milk jug waste for a small family like mine. It’s great to think that this pile of plastic can now be made into something that will provide much more than a few cereal bowl’s worth of enjoyment.
A feel good innovation
Brkn Img bikinis are not only comfortable and ethical, but they are double-sided and reversible.
“I’d personally say they feel better than any other bikini,” says Knightly. “You know the difference immediately. I think a lot of people could care less about what we did to make it, but everyone I’ve met says they really love the feel and believe that it’s the future of bikinis. It’s soft, very stretchy and form-fitting, it lasts and holds up a lot longer than your average bikini and does not fade like Lycra. It really is an amazing fabric. I could never have imagined when the idea came to me, just how fantastic the finished product would be.
You can check out the range of Brkn Img swimwear on their website or Facebook page. They offer free shipping for orders to Australia over $150.
Tracey @ What’s New Bondi xx