Brit manufacturer Fourth Element successfully "closed the loop" on recycling when it unveiled its inaugural range of swimwear at DEMA 2014.
The swimwear was radical in that it was manufactured from abandoned "ghost" fishing nets reclaimed from the ocean. Now Fourth Element has unveiled its latest collection. It coincides with the growing awareness of plastic pollution and marine conservation issues. In June 2017 Paul Strike, Fourth Element’s managing director, was invited to present the company’s vision for commercialising plastic pollution at the United Nations "Ocean Conference".1
“It is possible to imagine a world where there was no way to make any new plastics. If this were to happen, human ingenuity would find a way to recycle all this waste we produce and as a result reduce our impact on the planet. We don’t want to wait for that time, we want to be a part of this solution now," said Paul Strike of Fourth Element.
The OceanPositive range is a statement of intent, to do something meaningful to benefit the environment that we love and feel compelled to protect.
This OceanPositive collection introduces subtle imagery and new designs to fit a greater variety of body shapes. Yoga pant style "Hydro Leggings" have been added. There are more long sleeved "Hydroskins", and a core range has been developed that will be available year round.
The active wear's unique design theme pays homage to the fishing net from which the recycled fabric is made. Fourth Element states that the four-way stretch premium Italian fabric (78 percent Econyl recycled nylon and 22 percent Xtra Life Lycra) "offers outstanding UV protection (UPF 50+) and is chlorine and salt resistant".
The swimwear collection has no built-in clasps or ties, making it perfect to wear under a wetsuit or base layers. There are no clips to break, fall off or dig into the skin, thus ensuring the wearer has a comfy dive.
The rash guards, swimwear, leggings and shorts are machine washable at 30°C (86°F) and is packaged in "earth friendly" cassava starch bags, which biodegrade on a compost heap, or can be recycled with paper.
- Hydro Leggings - available in Black / White and Blue / White, 7 sizes
- Long and short sleeve Hydroskin rash guards
- Bikini Tops - available in 7 designs and various colour combination, 6 sizes
- One-piece ladies swimming costumes - available in 4 designs and various colours, 6 sizes
- Male and Female swim shorts
What is ghost fishing?
Ghost fishing occurs when nets, line and trawls that have been been lost or abandoned at sea, continue to catch or ensnare wildlife. The "catch" is never recovered and eventually dies, hence "ghost" fishing. It is estimated that more than 600,000 tonnes of these nets are lost every year. Teams of divers all over the world, along with fishermen, reclaim these nets. They often working in extremely dangerous conditions. The nets are then recycled along with other post consumer nylon waste into Econyl before being knitted into lycra fabric for the OceanPositive swimwear line.