At Sports Illustrated Swimsuit we rely on collaboration through and through. With that comes recognizing that adopting sustainable practices is our responsibility as well as that of those partners with whom we work. As the fashion industry sees new possibilities and crucial shifts in sustainable practices, we will continue to showcase them. In the spirit of collaboration, we asked SI Swimsuit model Robin Holzken to interview sustainable swimwear designer Bianca Bennetts of FAE, Robin having taken part in FAE’s most recent campaign.
RH: Shooting with FAE was a really special experience. One, because we shot in Greece and it was my first time there and two, because I loved being part of a brand that has such a strong and important message. Your efforts to create sustainable swimwear are forward-thinking and huge for the fashion industry. What made you want to work with sustainable fabrics?
FAE: I remember looking at the garments in my wardrobe one day and the tags on them and researching where they came from and the process of how they are made. It was a big shock for me to see the negative impact that I was having on the environment just from the clothing on my back. It was then I realized that I wanted to do my best to be as sustainable as possible with FAE. From there it was just discovering that being sustainable was a possibility for us. There are many incredible teams out there creating sustainable fabrics, It just a matter of finding the best one. We teamed up with the Aquafil group which produces sustainable techno fabric made with ECONYL, 100% regenerated polyamide fiber made from post-consumer materials such as fishing nets. Being sustainable is so much more than just the fabric used. There are so many ways that brands can minimize their carbon footprint like running a paperless office. Swapping out plastic mailers to compostable ones is also another good start!
RH: It’s so nice to see more and more brands be conscious and take the sustainable route, but there’s still people who don’t understand the need for it. How do you communicate the importance of buying sustainable fashion and why it makes a difference if more people were to go that direction?
FAE: It comes down to education. Using our platform to educate our customers on the importance of buying eco is a great start. The Econyl sustainable hang tags on our garments provide some information on this, too. Articles like this are huge and a great way to influence people into shopping sustainably. It is also incredible to see how many models are promoting sustainable fashion right now.
RH: Having worn FAE swimsuits myself, I can say they are very comfortable and super flattering, plus the designs are amazing. What is the design process like for FAE and how do you keep finding inspiration for new collections? Is this a bigger challenge with it being sustainable?
FAE: Thank you so much! You made them look incredible Robin. We loved this campaign, it was such a dream. What a team!
Our design process always starts with how to accentuate a woman’s body. Ensuring every collection has a style for everyone and every body type. We are all different and we all deserve a bikini that makes us look and feel incredible. I get feedback from real women, we do fittings on real women of all different shapes and sizes. This is how we find the perfect shape. Minimal cuts with detailed panelling is our trademark and always cheeky coverage.
It can be a little more of a challenge to produce sustainable swimwear. The design process is the same but finding fabric is more difficult. All of our swimsuits are handmade with love by our beautiful team in Bali. The only downside to producing in Bali is that it does prove to be a little more difficult to get fabric on the fly where we need it. We import fabric directly from Italy so we really need to plan ahead and be a lot more organized.
RH: FAE is currently producing face masks in custom FAE fabrics and will be donating 100% of the profits to COVID-19 charities. This is such an amazing gesture and it’s so nice to see people and brands trying to help in all ways possible. Why is this so important for FAE and do you hope to inspire more brands to do the same?
FAE: This was an easy one for us. What is happening in the world right now is so devastating. Having a platform that allows you to help in situations like this is such a blessing and a no brainer. I hope that this encourages more brands to get involved and help. We can all do our bit. These masks are still in production and will be available in two-to-three weeks.