Exposed, ethical and sustainable swimwear
Designer Kelley Chapman EXPOSED under the water and on the surface.
Image by Chloe Underwater
"What does it take to be a true ethical brand? How do I know from start to finish that the company I am buying from is truly ethical? I want to be a part of the transformation in the fashion realm and reshape the industry towards more sustainable and ethical practices but I am not sure how to do that?"
Do any of these questions resonate with you? If so we have a series of questions and answers that expose Manakai Swimwear's practices from start to finish. Read below and discover what ethical and sustainable swimwear is all about.
Co-Owner and Designer Kelley Chapman works side by side with Manakai's pattern maker.
Questions and Answers you should ask.
- What year was your brand founded? August 2015
- How long are your products designed to last? Manakai Swimwear is created from an innovative techno-fabric made from regenerated nylon. Numerous tests have found that our fabric lasts 2x as long as virgin stretch fabric. As long as proper swimwear care techniques are followed, Manakai Swimwear products are meant to last for many years.
- Please tell me about your supply chains in as much detail as possible from farm/raw materials to finished products. Ghost nets are lost at sea and rescued to be repurposed. Industrial plastics are waiting in factories to be rescued and repurposed. This is only the beginning of the story and the next part of the story is simply amazing. ECONYL® makes the yarn we use for our swimwear. Waste is collected through different initiatives and projects: The ECONYL® Reclaiming Program, The Healthy Seas and Net-Work™. The Nylon 6 waste is sent to ECONYL® waste treatment center in Ajovscina, Slovenia. Aquafil Group and ECONYL® then weaves it into the fabric we use, Carvico’s VITA fabric. Manakai Swimwear purchases the best Eco-Fabric on the market and works side by side with our manufacturing team in Los Angels, California.
- How do you ensure the people working in your supply chains are treated fairly? Please include as much detail as possible. Manakai Swimwear spent over a year researching the supply chains we work with. ECONYL® participates in social campaigns with “Fashion Revolution”, using the question, “Who made my clothes?” This campaign helps bring awareness about the individuals who help to make products (fashion based) from start to finish. If supply chains are transparent in regards to their business practices and who works for them we feel good knowing workers are treated fairly. We ask questions always!!
- How do you monitor the social impact of your supply chains? Please include as much detail as possible. Manakai Swimwear works with companies that are transparent in their operating procedures and spent over a year to decide who would best fit our vision of sustainable and ethical fashion. We ask the hard questions in regards to ethical practices within the business. When we are invited to spend time in all facilities and get to know the hands involved in making the thread, sewing the fabrics or making the swimwear, we can see first hand who and what type of organization we are working with. "In accordance to its principles of sustainable growth, respect for territory, fair-play and transparency, the Aquafil Group has adopted a code of conduct and drawn up an Organizational, Management and Control Model." -AQUAFIL Global
These documents establish the main principles and guidelines regarding:
-Respect for laws
-Relations with others
-Environment, health and safety
-Human resources and human capital
The objective of the Code of Conduct, applied in all Group activities, is to foster an ethical and social commitment in carrying out business and company activities by employees, consultants, collaborators, sales agents and social organizations working with the Group at any level.
The Organizational, Management and Control Model frames the rules and principles to encourage correct behavior in internal and external relationships that each company of the Group has and are based on criteria of lawfulness, fair-play and transparency.
In addition Manakai Swimwear owners have been invited to and have personally worked side by side with all of the companies that they work with in California, USA.
- How do you monitor the environmental impact of your supply chains? Please include as much detail as possible. Manakai Swimwear monitors the environmental impact with proper research and again asking questions. Aquafil developed ECONYL® Regeneration System because of the companies genuine concern for the environment. In fact during the engineering and design phase of Aquafil’s ECONYL®, the company created another business which they call Energy & Recycling. The Energy and Recycling unit is dedicated to environmental issues. All companies have regulations and certifications they are suppose to acquire. We ask for a list of proper certifications or even awards and read through them thoroughly. Since 2014 Aquafil created “The Sustainability Report” which is a transparent tool for evaluating their actions and is available to the general public each year. We read that report!!!
- What policies and practices do you have in place to manage the impact of hazardous chemicals in your supply chains? Manakai Swimwear does not have any written policies set in place. We do a lot of question asking, reviewing companies, researching environmental and social policies, and making sure each supply chain is transparent and certified. We only work with legit companies.
- What policies and strategies do you have in place to manage waste and recycling during production? During production we evaluate the plotting of our patterns before they are cut. This insures minimum waste is created. We also started collecting some of the excess fabric and will be making matching hair ties to give to our customers after each purchase. This will launch next season. On top of that we are looking to take all extra waste and return it to ECONYL® to once again be repurposed and assured it stays in the “closed loop”. Many swim companies pack their individual units in small plastic bags to ship to wholesale accounts. Not Manakai Swimwear. Our individual units will only be shipped in Eco Clear Bags made from plant base materials and certified compostable.
- What action are you taking to reduce the environmental impact of your supply chains? Please include as much detail as possible. Thankfully our supply chains are extremely motivated to be as sustainable, ethical and transparent as possible. I can focus on creating the best Eco-Swimwear on Earth and rest assured knowing that from start to finish Manakai Swimwear can serve as an inspiration and driving force for our community to pursue a more eco-friendly and socially conscious lifestyle.
- Tell us about how your brand is innovative. Manakai Swimwear is the only brand in all of Hawaii to truly be Eco Conscious using top of the line eco fabrics, working with top notch certified supply chains, and sewn in the USA.
- Please tell us about any goals you have to improve the social and/or environmental impact of your supply chain and how you plan to track and achieve them. We do have a vision of visiting Aqualfil and ECONYL’s headquarters in the future. Right now we are two young women focused on launching our amazing swimwear brand and keeping our head above water while doing so. Our efforts to truly be a eco-conscious brand takes from the bottom line so we are currently doing all aspects of running the business between two women. Give us a few more years to answer this question…we do love a good challenge.
- What is the long term vision for your brand? We live in Hawaii. Outsiders only see it as paradise. They see the brochure. Living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is wonderful, however the convergence of currents wrap around our island chain and with it brings loads of plastic, drift nets and other pollution from various places around the world. We have a dream of creating a collection facility here and working with other innovated individuals to figure out a ways to collect and send these items to be repurposed. Having a small Non-Profit under Manakai Swimwear is one vision. I also visualize Manakai Swimwear to be a leading company in the sustainable swimwear industry. We want to show the world that sustainable can be exotic, sexy and comfortable. To walk down the ‘green carpet” and win an award for the The Green Carpet Challenge in Italy would be a dream. Manakai Swimwear will become a leading brand in the fashion industry and not only known for our sustainable and ethical practices but also for honoring the female body and empowering women worldwide. We will never subject women in suggestive photos for financial gain.
- What email can we contact you if we have further questions? Kelley@manakaiswimwear.com