Turmeric, annatto, redwood and onion peel are not what typically comes to mind when thinking of textiles — or fashion in general. But for Satya Beachwear, a sustainable luxury swimwear brand based in Brazil, these are the natural ingredients used to dye its biodegradable nylon and deepen its already powerful “environmental karma.”
WWD: What need does Satya Beachwear fill in the luxury swimwear market?
Amanda Gomes: Satya was born from a concern about the way brands are dealing with the environment. In addition to that, I also identified a market problem, which was a lack of sustainable products in the luxury market that maintain a high standard of quality, possess unique design qualities and exclusivity, and are sustainable at the same time.
Furthermore, we know the fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world and 80 percent of this pollution comes from synthetic dye. Natural dye fills the need for swimwear brands that are concerned with waste dumped into the ocean due to industrial dye, and for brands that are not just concerned with the supply chain or eco-packaging, but are focused on being 100 percent sustainable.
WWD: Would you elaborate on the idea of “environmental karma” and provide more detail about Satya’s Buddhist roots? How does its connection to Buddhism influence the brand’s aesthetics?
A.G.: Satya was born through a Buddhist philosophy and because of that we really believe in environmental karma, which is the idea that everything we leave in nature returns to us in some way. And when thinking about COVID-19, I believe the pandemic is a response from nature asking us to review the way we are dealing living in it. Besides that, all of our garments and color palette are inspired by the shapes of monks’ clothes and colors of nature.
WWD: What are some of the sustainable materials and/or processes Satya Beachwear uses for its collections?
A.G.: We are the only swimwear brand that works with natural dye and biodegradable nylon in the world. So, when our garments go to the landfill, they will decompose in three years, which is 15 times faster than the other fabrics used by other brands. The dye does not harm the environment because it’s made of plants such as turmeric, annatto, redwood, onion peel, and everything that we can find in nature.
WWD: The use of natural dye is definitely unique in swimwear. How does natural dye retain its color steadfastness in swimwear?
A.G.: After several tests of natural dye on biodegradable nylon, we identified that the secret is the fasteners, and it was incredible when we discovered that the best fastener is salt. Also, we achieved incredible results, mainly in very vibrant colors.
Our garments have the same level of durability and quality seen in products dyed synthetically, and if you properly take care of your garments, it is possible to increase the life cycle of each product.
WWD: How has sustainability changed the swimwear industry? Is there room for improvement?
A.G.: I believe the question the swimwear industry must ask is, “How can we evolve and disseminate sustainability?” The need to question the processes carried out by each brand has changed the beachwear and fashion market in general. Now that we are broadly aware of the need for sustainable processes, I ask myself: Will we continue to modify processes only when questioned, or will we become disseminators of change?
Nowadays, many companies open their industrial procedures, perform post-dye treatment or seek to use smaller production chains. I particularly love to watch these daily changes, but I think the main change is in my perspective that we need to trigger all sustainable actions, and not just one.
Sustainability is not marketing — it is a necessity! From the fabric to the packaging, from the labor to the valorizations of its internal employees, from the creation to the commercialization. Every process must be cleaned, and this must start from the market, asking daily, “What else we can change?”
What’s next for Satya?
A.G.: In a very short time — since launching the brand less than a year ago — Satya has partnered with brands such as Aquafil, showcased our collection at NYFW, and has been accepted into several stores in the U.S. During COVID-19, we have continued to stay afloat with our presence in online summits, and we were one of the brands featured at Fashinnovation’s latest 3-D Runway Show by Bigthinx.
All that aside, we want to continue to prove that it is truly possible to have high quality products and be sustainable at the same time. We also want to expand our brand to the U.S. market, introducing Brazilian color and the sustainability of our natural dye procedure for everyone in the industry.
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