Dubai-based beachwear label Ohoy Swim was founded by two Scandinavian friends who are on a mission to make the world a better and cleaner place. Hailing from Finland and Denmark, Henna and Anna moved to the Middle East and set about making their mark on the sustainable fashion industry. Bazaar meet the women who aren’t willing to compromise when it comes to production methods, materials, or aesthetics.
Harper's Bazaar Arabia: Why swimwear?
Henna + Anna: We both spend a lot of time in water as we love to surf. We were always on the hunt for swimwear that’s particular, feminine, and sustainable and would last, but there wasn’t anything on the market, so we decided to create Ohoy Swim.
HBA: What made you decide to use plastic as the material to create your pieces from?
H + A: When we first had the idea to create a line of sustainable clothes, our next task was finding the perfect material that would work as a swimwear fabric – it had to be something durable. With all our surfing, we see first-hand the condition our oceans are in; there is so much plastic in the waters and on the beach, so it made sense for us to recycle the waste and use it to create Ohoy.
HBA: What is the process for physically creating the clothes from the plastic?
H + A: We started buying our fabric from a factory in Italy who work directly with Ghost Fishing, a Dutch environmental organisation that collects abandoned fishing nets. The nets, which are littering the oceans and endangering marine life, are made out of plastic fibres that are spun into yarn and produce high quality nylon for swimwear. Last season we produced the whole collection locally in the UAE with plastic from the Persian Gulf.
HBA: Why is this such an important cause to you?
H + A: The clothing industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. We are so used to buying fast fashion and cheaply-made clothes, which have such a negative impact on the environment. We really wanted to prove that you can own sustainably sourced and created clothes that are still high in quality.
HBA: What can the Middle East do to be more environmentally friendly?
H + A: We can start simply by recycling our waste properly. Things like plastic bags from the supermarket should be disposed of properly instead of just thrown in a regular waste bin.
HBA: What is the ultimate goal for Ohoy Swim?
H + A: For now we are continuing to create sustainable, feminine swimwear for active people. We want be our products to be known for their quality and we want to have a positive impact on the environment and help people take steps to a more sustainable future.
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