The idea for our OCEAN WEAR project came to our founder rather through the process of work experience and reconsideration, where things came together suddenly to make greater sense, based on the question: What is the ideal swimwear for the ocean, how can we really design OCEAN WEAR for the maritime environment and with a positive footprint?
The birth of the project
OCEAN WEAR was born to create the dive into the ocean as a truly safe and healthy experience with what we wear – should be good for the ocean, good for health and ideally "fish food approved“.
Our aim was to find a holistic and symbolic answer to the pollution of one of our most sensitive ecosystems – the oceans – one of the current global top subjects on the political agenda in terms of climate change and one of the key indicators for the need to take action.
Up to 12.7 million tons of plastic as well as huge amounts of microplastics enter the water streams each year, where it takes 500 years to biodegrade. Swimwear is made of the same synthetic fibers to guarantee water, Chlorine & UV resistance as well as quick drying. Therefore, they contain stabilizers, softeners, additives and other chemicals like hazardous poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs), that are harmful for health and maritime life.
People do become more aware of the need to rethink their lifestyle and clothing habits. The environmentally conscious and future-focused consumer is rightfully doubtful about singular greenwashing solutions that fashion brands have to offer in quick adaption processes.
Swimwear as a clothing product that touches our body and our surroundings so profoundly, demands a safe material cycle and skin- and environmentally friendly material composition.
But how can we achieve that, if the classic approach was to make them durable instead of healthy?
We need holistic solutions for products that are really designed in harmony with nature and without generating waste in the first place, yet to please also modern consumer needs on functional and aesthetical levels.
The status quo of ‘durability equals sustainability’ is to be questioned and proven that even a shorter lifespan and changing trends can play a crucial part in sustainability.
Exploring circular speed means combining innovative material recipes, which are carefully created for the biosphere as well as for the marine environment, with circular services, that support the reuse and reincarnation of materials in a biological cycle to become nutrients for nature or for next level products. We need to focus on the right quality and speed for each purpose.
The challenge is to re-think and implement a revolutionary swimwear design product with applied after-use-scenarios and take-back-services by collaborating with partners along the whole supply, distribution and waste management chain.
The creative process
First of all, we were investing quite some time in research and analyzing the potential of available materials, the competitors and the beauty of other brands’ swimwear garments, but simultaneously had pretty quick visions of an innovative swimwear in mind – how it could look, feel, and be re-materialized. There were so many optional fibers as well as technical requirements we needed to compare and understand the machinery same as the overall complexity of our objectives. Somehow, it was a bit overwhelming and we believed it would be easier to find the right partners and suppliers to stimulate them to become part of our project and visionary idea. It is quite disappointing to see, that in the end, profit is the main driving force for most cooperation instead of opening up for experimentation in the first place, so to do better for the planet. Nevertheless, we are aiming for a product, that generates profitable revenues as well as it is beneficial to nature and health. We are getting there step-by-step and could imagine lots of vital designs, diverse outcomes and a whole new generation of swimwear available for everyone.
It was really helpful to be assured to have a partner at our side, who will stay with us and our vision till the end of the project and probably beyond that. It gave us the focus and strength to continue, no matter what, and to find solutions in exchange with them. It felt like a relationship, that can develop further and that needs good care and good communication despite or because of the mutual commitment from the beginning. In general, it helped us to plan and calculate better on point, and to reach our initial goal.
We wish for the future to be able to create a consistently comprehensive answer for OCEAN WEAR as well as to successfully clarify our overall concept of Beneficial Design with a positive footprint and to promote the positive impact approach through that.
Not all detailed questions regarding ingredients, service, use and subsequent use have yet been answered. We want to learn even more about how the materials behave in the maritime environment and continuously develop and optimize our recipe. We also see great potential for further development on the technological side of implementation. For example, in one next step, the 3D knitting models we have devised are to be transferred to special advanced knitting machines and to be produced 'seamless' - without waste from scratch. In the future, this will also open up the possibility of automated production, which can be individually adapted to the needs of the wearer, for example with body scan technologies and personalization of the product - made-to-measure and made-on-demand features could provide a comprehensive answer to ‘overproduction’.
To achieve that, we need further financial investment to make use of innovative machinery for the development of advanced prototypes provided by additional production and/or research partners. This will only be achieved with further funding or thanks to an investor shareholder of our business model. It would be great to receive additional support from target market researchers and business mentors, too.
In the long run, we wish for the Ocean Wear swimwear to be sold amongst a large variety of clothing brands segments via white label licensing.
We want to expand OCEAN WEAR into an 'Open Innovation' business collaboration together with and for industrial partners and tackle the many challenges together. We would like to research, develop and test comprehensive solutions and thus constantly test the limits of innovative and viable designs by transferring the learning as a blueprint to other textile, sports and marine items.
Our advice is to take your time to search for the right partners to fruitfully develop your idea into a real product or service. Teams are much stronger than individuals and all members empower each other to bring their expertise and best into the project. By combining knowledge and experience, you will be much faster in reaching your goals and guarantee, that you are on the right track.