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Do you ever think about how sustainable your swimwear is? Or do you ever think about how sustainable your children’s swimwear and bathing suits are? One lady who has given this some serious consideration is Sallina Carlyle, the founder of the ethical and eco-friendly kid’s swimwear brand Ina Swim.
Sallina kindly talks to us in this interview about what makes her brand tick, why ethical manufacturing and fair wages are important, the recycled and eco-friendly materials she uses and the challenges of competing with ultra-cheap fast fashion brands.
The range at Ina Swim is full of beautifully designed pieces that your little ones and you will love. As well as being beautiful, they are accredited by certifications such as GOTS and OEKO-TEX to be safe against sensitive skins.
As with many sustainable fashion brands, the challenge of competing with large fast fashion corporations is very real. Not only the brands but the public’s expectation of cheap prices as a result.
Sallina also talks made-to-order as a way to combat over-production. And she covers the factory in Indonesia and B corporation certified suppliers she works with to ensure that her products are made in the most ethical way possible.
I hope you love this brand and its story as much as I do.
Tell us about your sustainable fashion brand, what sets you apart?
Ina Swim is more than just a sustainable swimwear brand; it’s a commitment to a way of life. What sets us apart is our unwavering dedication to a vision of a world where sustainable choices are the norm, not the exception. Our brand is grounded in values of authenticity, care, and quality, and our mission is to redefine the fashion industry.
Ina Swim offers families stylish, high-quality swimwear that isn’t just beautiful; it’s ethically crafted and environmentally conscious. We’re not just about clothing; we’re about making a statement through your choices. Our swimwear reflects our commitment to sustainability, transparency, and ethical practices.
We believe that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Our unique selling point lies in our ability to inspire and engage families in this journey. By wearing Ina Swim, our customers become part of a community dedicated to positive change. Our swimwear is a symbol of this commitment, inviting others to make choices that matter.
What sets us apart is our emphasis on values, our mission to create a ripple effect of change, and our vision for a brighter, more sustainable world. Ina Swim isn’t just about what you wear; it’s about who you become when you wear it.
What is your background and what made you decide to start up your brand?
I began my career in sales, deeply believing in the power of helping people. As a mother myself, I increasingly felt the need to prove that fast fashion was a relic of the past and that sustainability holds immense potential for our children, families, and the environment. While acts of kindness are significant, I aspired to do more – I wanted to assist families worldwide in discovering superior options, enhanced protection, and high-quality, soft swimwear.
I wholeheartedly believe that caring equates to helping, and through my brand, I’ve been able to make a positive impact on the lives of others and our environment.
Tell us a bit about how you source your fabrics and base materials?
“We only use materials that are certified by recognized sustainability standards, such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Oeko-Tex Standard 100.”
At Ina Swim, we take our fabric sourcing highly seriously, with a clear focus on quality and sustainability.
Our journey begins with the meticulous selection of suppliers who share our commitment to quality and sustainability. We partner with suppliers who adhere to our strict criteria, outlined in our comprehensive code of conduct on our website. This code of conduct encompasses various aspects of their production, employee well-being, work structure, safety and health, as well as environmental and waste management processes within their supply chains and manufacturing operations.
Most of our suppliers are also certified B Corporations. Once we find a supplier that is suitable, we look closer at their offerings of fabric and yarn.
We use recycled and sustainable materials only. Our fabric choices include recycled polyester, recycled nylon and elastane. Our fabric is made from post-consumer plastic waste, like fishing nets, old fabric scraps and plastic bottles, which helps reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
Transparency is crucial to us, and we maintain close relationships with our suppliers to ensure the integrity of our materials. We only use materials that are certified by recognized sustainability standards, such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Oeko-Tex Standard 100. Our linen is also certified European Flax Fibre.
Our packaging also comes with a carbon-free certification, AS5810 Home Compostable certification. This ensures that our fabrics are free from harmful chemicals and produced in an environmentally responsible manner. More of this can be read up on in our Materials and Supplier Directory on our website.
We continue to explore innovative, sustainable fabrics and base materials to enhance the eco-conscious aspects of our products. Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond just fashion; it’s a fundamental part of every step in the production of our swimwear.
“We prioritize the selection of materials that are not only of the highest quality but also can be 100% recycled.”
Do you take into account the recyclability of your products?
Absolutely, the recyclability of our products is a crucial consideration in our design and production processes. Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond sourcing eco-friendly materials. We aim to create swimwear that can be part of a circular economy, reducing waste and environmental impact.
To achieve this, we prioritize the selection of materials that are not only of the highest quality but also can be 100% recycled. We take great pride in the fact that our swimwear can be reshaped and reformed multiple times without compromising on the quality of its components.
We believe in the importance of extending the life of our swimwear and minimizing its environmental footprint. By thoughtfully considering recyclability at every stage, from design to manufacturing, we strive to contribute to a more sustainable future.
“One of our fundamental principles at Ina Swim is to provide fair wages and benefits, not just to our employees but throughout our entire supply chain.”
Who makes your clothes/products?
Our clothing and products are meticulously crafted by a small family-run manufacturer located in Indonesia. This manufacturer, owned by an Australian couple, is at the heart of our production process. Their direct oversight ensures that our values and ethical standards are not just met, but consistently upheld. We’ve fostered a strong partnership and friendship with them over many years, fostering a close working relationship that’s based on trust and shared values.
One of our fundamental principles at Ina Swim is to provide fair wages and benefits, not just to our employees but throughout our entire supply chain.
In our manufacturing facility in Indonesia, workers receive wages and benefits that meet and exceed the minimum national award standards outlined by Fair Work Australia, and we hold a similar expectation for all parts of our supply chain.
We are not just committed to ethical labour practices; we take a comprehensive approach to ensuring a supportive work environment. This involves regulating working hours to promote a healthy work-life balance, limiting the workweek to a maximum of 48 hours, excluding any overtime.
Overtime work is always voluntary for our workers, and we always compensate this above local labour laws. In exceptional cases where overtime is necessary, we ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the health and safety of workers.
This is of utmost importance to us at Ina Swim. We provide a safe and healthy work environment for all workers, regardless of their location. This includes easy access to clean water and sanitary toilet areas.
Every worker has their individual work desk, providing them with the opportunity to focus on their tasks with efficiency and personalize their workspace to enhance their comfort and productivity. Adequate lighting within rooms (energy efficient), ventilation, and fire prevention measures are implemented in working areas, and all employees receive regular health and safety training.
The well-being of our workers, the working environment they inhabit, and the processes we employ hold paramount importance to us. We believe that the quality of our products is intricately tied to the care and support we provide to our dedicated workforce.
Are any animals used in the production of your products and if so how do you make sure that they are treated ethically?
“We do not use any animal-derived materials in the production of our products. We are proud to be completely animal-friendly.”
We do not use any animal-derived materials in the production of our products. We are proud to be completely animal-friendly, and we ensure that no animals are harmed or exploited in any way in the making of our swimwear and accessories. Our commitment to animal welfare is an integral part of our ethical values and sustainable practices.
“All our items are made to order.”
What else makes your brand sustainable/ethical?
Besides our sustainable and ethical sourcing of materials, our brand also promotes eco-conscious manufacturing processes. We are committed to reducing waste in our production chain. All our items are made to order, helping us minimize overproduction and textile waste, which is a significant issue in the fashion industry.
In addition to this, our packaging is plastic-free, 100% biodegradable, home-compostable and recyclable. We take great care to ensure that our environmental footprint is minimal by reducing the use of harmful chemicals in our production and by implementing energy-efficient practices.
Furthermore, we are proud of our ongoing support for local artisans and small manufacturers. This commitment is not just about producing our swimwear but about contributing to local communities. We are always on the lookout for opportunities to enhance the well-being of the people we work with and the regions we work in.
In addition to these aspects, we are transparent about our practices and are always striving to improve our sustainability measures.
We also believe in giving back, which is why a portion of our profits is directed toward various eco-friendly initiatives and charities like, Greening Australia, WWF, Equality Now and Australian Marine Conservation Society.
Our brand isn’t just about swimwear; it’s about a commitment to a more sustainable and ethical future.
“One of the biggest hurdles is changing the mindset of consumers who have become accustomed to the convenience and low costs associated with fast fashion.”
What are the biggest challenges in operating as an ethical and sustainable fashion brand?
Running an ethical and sustainable fashion brand presents its unique set of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles is changing the mindset of consumers who have become accustomed to the convenience and low costs associated with fast fashion.
Educating the market about the importance of sustainable fashion, the environmental and social impacts of their choices, and the true value of quality, eco-friendly products is an ongoing challenge.
Sourcing sustainable materials can also be challenging, as it requires careful vetting of suppliers and dedication to upholding strict ethical and environmental standards.
Additionally, the production of sustainable fashion often costs more than conventional methods, which can lead to higher price points. Convincing customers to invest in these higher quality, ethically produced products is another challenge.
In the wider industry, competing with large fast-fashion brands can be difficult due to their vast resources and global presence.
However, consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact of their choices, which creates opportunities for sustainable brands to thrive. Collaborating with like-minded brands and forming strong networks in the sustainable fashion industry is key to overcoming these challenges. It’s a journey that requires constant innovation and a strong commitment to sustainability and ethics.
“We are actively researching and investing in innovative, sustainable materials … This includes exploring alternatives to traditional synthetic materials and seeking eco-friendly dyes.”
“Sustainability is not about being perfect, but a journey”, how can you further improve what you do and what plans do you have for the future?
Sustainability is indeed a journey, and we’re committed to continuous improvement in our practices. To further enhance our sustainability efforts, we plan to:
Materials Innovation: We are actively researching and investing in innovative, sustainable materials to reduce our environmental footprint. This includes exploring alternatives to traditional synthetic materials and seeking eco-friendly dyes.
Carbon Neutrality: We aim to support more environmental initiatives, like reforestation programs. Supporting reforestation programs and other environmental initiatives is a key part of our strategy to achieve carbon neutrality. By actively engaging in these programs, we aim to offset the carbon emissions associated with our operations and product lifecycle.
Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our immediate practices to contribute positively to the planet’s well-being. Through these reforestation efforts and similar initiatives, we’re dedicated to making a meaningful impact in our journey toward a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future.
Circular Fashion: We’re exploring ways to establish a circular fashion model. This means taking back old swimwear for recycling or upcycling, thus minimizing waste.
Transparency: Enhancing transparency in our supply chain, manufacturing, and sourcing processes is a priority. This helps us maintain a high level of ethical standards.
Customer Education: We are continuing to educate our customers about the impact of fast fashion on the environment and why sustainable choices are crucial.
Community Engagement: Collaborating with like-minded organizations, ethical influencers, and brands to further promote sustainability in the fashion industry is a key aspect of Ina Swim’s future plan.
Promotion of Ethical Practices: Advocating for fair labor practices and supporting artisan communities, especially women-led businesses in underprivileged areas, is a fundamental part of our future goals.
Our vision is to not only create beautiful, sustainable swimwear but also to drive positive change within the fashion industry and beyond. We’re excited about the path ahead and are committed to being at the forefront of ethical and sustainable fashion.
What one thing could fast fashion brands do to improve?
Fast fashion brands can make a significant improvement by taking a more responsible approach to their production, supply chain, and overall business model.
One essential step is to prioritize ethical manufacturing practices. This includes fair wages and safe working conditions for their labour force, as well as promoting transparency throughout the entire supply chain.
Additionally, they should focus on reducing waste, both in terms of unsold inventory and the environmental impact of their products. Adopting sustainable materials and production processes can go a long way in reducing their ecological footprint.
By making these changes, fast fashion brands can play a substantial role in lessening the negative social and environmental consequences associated with their industry.
What are your favourite products in your range right now and why?
As a mother, my personal favourites from our range are the Mara One-Piece, with its elegant charm, the sweet details, and its delicate design, its truly capable of capturing the essence of timeless beauty. It adds a special charm to every girl’s personality.
The Mesa Trunks are a hit in my book because they encourage kids to be cheeky, wild, and, most importantly, themselves. It’s wonderful to see how these trunks inspire self-expression.
And, as a mother to a young toddler, I absolutely adore the Lumi Swim Nappy. Both the Brief and Short. It’s not just super cute; it offers the support and care every little one needs for a joyful and comfortable time in the water. These products hold a special place in my heart as both a mother and the owner of Ina Swim.
Adding the Nella Rash Shirt to the list of favourites. It’s the perfect combination of protective and snug, providing kids the freedom to move as they please while feeling like they’re getting a warm hug wherever they go. This one holds a special place in my heart.
Thank you to Sallina for taking part in this interview and for spilling her heart and soul on her amazing ethical swimwear brand.
To check out her gorgeous range of children’s eco-friendly bathing suits and swimwear click on the link below:
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