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Sustainable Swimwear: Akua Oceanwear

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Akua Oceanwear was founded in mid-2016 when owner Zoe Strapp, felt that her Environmental Science degree wasn’t being put to good use. She left her 9-5 job and set out on her own to design a sustainably minded swimwear company.

Photo: Jonathan Kemnitz

“My goal was to generate awareness and contribute to saving our marine world, while encouraging women to be proud, take risks, and explore,” Strapp says. “Mixed with my love for surfing and travel, I decided there was no better way than to produce a product that brings women together, encouraging them to get out there and surf for the sea or SUP for the sea.”

Akua is committed to protecting the environment through every step of production and adheres to a “plastic free” policy. Plastic serves as a huge threat to marine life, so Strapp implemented the policy in an effort to reduce Akua’s environmental impact as well as raise awareness on the detrimental effects plastics can have. To protect the suits during shipping, Akua uses 100% biodegradable organic bags, packs the suits in re-usable swimwear bags, mails them in fully recyclable paper postage bags, and prints all labels on recycled paper.

Sustainable swimwear goals for the future

At the moment, the suits themselves aren’t made from sustainable fabrics, but instead are made from regular, high quality fabrics. Strapp has provided the funding for Akua Oceanwear entirely on her own, so she was unable to purchase costly recycled fabrics for her initial launch. However, thanks to the support from women worldwide, she has committed to making the 2017/18 summer collection from fully sustainable fabrics and couldn’t be more excited.

In a further effort to support sustainability worldwide, $2 of every purchase is donated to marine conservation. First up is the New Heaven Marine Conservation, where Strapp once volunteered as a scientific diver alongside Akua ambassador, Elle Haskin.

“They focus on protecting and enriching local coral reefs, providing education and research, monitoring marine species, and spreading the marine passion with the local community and travelers,” Strapp says of the organization. “$2 from every purchase will go towards New Heaven and girls can keep up to date on how their purchase is making a difference through our blog and social media pages.”

All of Akua’s suits are reversible and designed with active ocean-goers in mind. I had the opportunity to test out the Hawaiian Turtle Tie Up Top and the Hawaiian Turtle Platted Bottoms. Both pieces fit perfectly, are flattering, and most importantly, stay in place. Whether putting in miles on my raceboard or navigating my local beach break, I can rest easy knowing my Akua Oceanwear will look good and stay in place—while simultaneously reducing my carbon footprint.

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