World Oceans Day: This Sustainable Fashion Brand Turns Ocean Waste Into Stylish Activewear

By Wild Ginger

World Oceans Day: This Sustainable Fashion Brand Turns Ocean Waste Into Stylish Activewear

June 8th, 2021 at 5:06 am

On the heels of World Environment Day, comes World Oceans Day – an annual celebration of the heart of our planet and its importance to all life on Earth. The ocean provides us with oxygen, nourishment and even employment, but now, it is in need of our support. This June 8th, the theme of United Nations’ World Oceans Day, The Ocean: Live and Livelihoods, reminds us that the ocean is our lifesource, so we must protect it from global warming, pollution and overfishing.

 

We may not be able to go out and clean up the beaches this year, but we can still help save the oceans from inside our homes. Through small actions and sustainable decisions, we can make a big difference! Don’t give up on sustainability during this time, if anything, the pandemic has shown us how dependent we are on the ocean, which is why we must work together to protect it. 

 

When it comes to conscious shopping, a brand that is making it easier for consumers is terrae – while other fabrics release microplastics into the ocean, theirs is made from repurposed ocean waste. Founded by two friends, Azalea and Suan, the sustainable fashion brand focuses on inclusivity, innovation and information. “Our goal is to create activewear and athleisure pieces for real bodies in real situations, while doing our best to minimise our impact on the planet”. 

 

With a name inspired by the word “Terra”, the Latin / Italian name for Earth, terrae aims to integrate sustainable practices into their production and supply chain processes, and at the same time, raise awareness and educate their followers on issues such as climate change and how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. “Doing well and doing good don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and our goal is to achieve both in the long term”.

 

Read on for their take on sustainable fashion and how you can help save the ocean from home!

 


Why did you start terrae?

About a year and a half ago, we were on our way to lunch after attending a workout class together and what was supposed to be our usual car ride from the gym to our favourite chicken rice shop, turned into a conversation about wanting to make a difference in areas we felt strongly about — sustainability, fitness and (cute) clothes. That’s how it all started!

 

 

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A post shared by terrae (@shopterrae)

How did you come up with the creative idea to use ECONYL®?

We spent quite a long time researching sustainable fabrics that were suitable for activewear. ECONYL® is one of the most innovative and sustainable alternatives to virgin nylon, having been made from ocean waste such as discarded fishing nets and other materials bound for landfill.

 

 

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What is the sustainable fashion industry like in Malaysia?

We believe the concept of sustainability is still in its infancy in Malaysia. In recent years, we’ve noticed a number of sustainable fashion brands sprouting up in Malaysia and around SEA, but none that really focused on activewear or athleisure in particular, which is where we aim to fill the gap. We still have ways to go as a nation when it comes to shopping more mindfully, but we’re seeing signs that we’re on the right track, which is encouraging.

 

 

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A post shared by terrae (@shopterrae)

What challenges have you faced as a sustainable fashion brand?

There’s no question that fast fashion continues to dominate the fashion industry with new design launches every week, and prices being cheaper than the cost of a meal. It can be difficult to connect fashion to the destruction of our environment as the effects and consequences are so far removed from the end consumer by the time the final garment reaches us. Compared to seeing plastic bottles floating in our oceans or litter in the streets, the environmental damage caused by the fashion industry is a lot less obvious because it doesn’t happen in our own backyard. The negative impacts occur in developing countries where the majority of our clothes are produced today.

 

As a sustainable brand, one of our biggest challenges is pricing our products in a way that is fair for our manufacturing partners, our customers, as well as ourselves to be able to continue to operate and grow as a business. Additionally, the challenge with activewear compared to everyday garments (that can be made out of natural fibres), is that there needs to be the right balance between stretchability, compression, breathability and comfort for it to be suitable for work outs. This unfortunately means that they need to be made from synthetic fibres like polyester and spandex, which release microplastics into our waterways when washed. While ECONYL® is a good starting point, our goal is to be able to improve on our product offerings with the introduction of better and more advanced technology.

 

 

 

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A post shared by terrae (@shopterrae)

Other than your fabrics and packaging, how else do you promote sustainability?

We work with a number of non-profit organizations, as well as the local community throughout the year! Here are some of our initiatives in the time since we’ve launched:

  •     City park clean up at Titiwangsa Park.
  •     Beach clean up at Pantai Aceh, Selangor in collaboration with Orale.
  •     Collaboration with Reef Check on our gift card sales for the holiday season ($1 for every gift card sold).
  •     Instagram Live Q&A with local NGO Free Tree Society to promote their initiatives, while educating our followers on how they can live a greener lifestyle.

 

We’re also organising an online activation this World Oceans Day! Due to movement restrictions and rising Covid-19 cases, we won’t be able to do organise a physical cleanup, but we’d like to encourage our community to show us how they lead a more sustainable lifestyle, be it through cultivating good habits, or even doing a cleanup of their own in their neighbourhoods.

 

 

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A post shared by terrae (@shopterrae)

How can we protect our oceans from home?
  1. Eat less seafood (watch Seaspiracy on Netflix if you haven’t already!)
  2. Take shorter showers
  3. Refuse single use plastic as much as possible
  4. Support organizations working to protect our oceans
  5. Learn about why oceans are a critical part of our ecosystem, then share your wisdom with your friends and family!

 

 

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A post shared by terrae (@shopterrae)

“With so much negative news in the world today, trying to effect meaningful change or create lasting impact as an individual can feel overwhelming, isolating, and even impossible at times. It’s important to remember a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step — we just have to start somewhere.”

 

Support terrae by shopping their pieces here and follow them on Instagram for more sustainability tips!

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