Interview with SEAY: It’s more than just beachwear

Take a look at our interview with SEAY, a brand specialising in swimwear, that is also dedicated to keeping sustainable values at its heart.

Tell us a bit about yourself please.

I’m Simone Scodellaro, Co-Founder of SEAY.

SEAY: una seconda vita al mare

Describe your brand in a few sentences. 

We design, produce and distribute sustainable clothing and low environmental impact beachwear collections using certified materials, a short supply chain and a marketing plan that raises the consumer’s environmental awareness by aiming to a close circular economic system through a so called Re3 Model. 

Can you tell us more about the manufacturing process of your products? 

First of all, we chose our partners by their values, transparency, and geographical closeness, because sustainability is also in shipping and the importance of cutting down CO2 emissions in order to protect the environment from increasing pollution. That’s why everything is made in Veneto, meaning that all our suppliers are at the most 60km from our headquarters. Essentially, we use three main fabrics;

  1. The first one is polyester, 100% recycled made from post-consumer waste, and plastic debris recovered from the seabed. With this fabric, we are making men’s swimwear and all windbreakers.  In fact, we use SEAQUAL™ polyester. SEAQUAL™ is an initiative to challenge plastic pollution and clean the oceans from marine litter. The SEAQUAL™ collaborative model involves NGO’s, fishermen, researchers, scientists, authorities, and private stakeholders. SEAQUAL™ revalues post-consumer waste lost in the environment promoting and supporting cleaning initiatives, engaging industries and consumers.  SEAQUAL™ is one of the most certified, earth-friendly fibers in the world. It is a high-quality recycled polyester yarn made from recycled materials including post consumer plastic bottles and plastic captured from the sea, that’s why it contributes to preserving natural resources and reducing the waste in the planet’s water. 

2. The women’s line of swimwear is produced using 65% ECONYL® regenerated thread that comes from nylon waste such as fishing nets and 35% Lycra. 

ECONYL® regenerated nylon is a product that is made from waste and it is infinitely recyclable. It’s all part of the ECONYL® brand vision to make the world a better place by pioneering closed loop regeneration processes and delivering sustainable products. 

For every 10,000 tons of ECONYL® raw material, it is possible to: 

  • Save 70,000 barrels of crude oil 
  • Avoid 57,100 tonnes of CO2 eq. emissions 

Using ECONYL® nylon, it is possible to reduce the global warming impact of nylon by up to 80% compared with the material from oil.  

3. The third material we use for our cotton products, is organic cotton. It’s a type of cotton grown from non-genetically modified plants and without the use of synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides. Its production helps to promote and improve biodiversity and biological cycles. 

Part of the collection is produced with recycled organic cotton which guarantees compliance with the rules of a closed circuit production. 

Whenever it is not possible to use recycled organic cotton, we use GOTS certified organic cotton. The GOTS certification (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a guarantee of excellence as regards the world of fabrics made with organic fibers. This certification defines compliance with top-level environmental criteria for the entire supply chain of textile fibers and at the same time requires compliance with important social criteria. 

Personally, what does sustainability mean to you? 

Sustainability for me is a mission. We’ve worked for many years in the fashion industry for different brands, and we love it so much. However, this industry needs to change, it needs to improve. There are so many things done incorrectly, but there are so many things that we can do to fix this. We believed that change is possible but it’s only in our hands. We are also truly convinced that the small things we do can change our world for the better.

As a sustainable brand, what are your biggest challenges? 

Sustainability, step by step, is becoming important, and this is good; but very often it’s taken as a “trend”, not as a “goal”. A product can’t be more expensive just because it’s “sustainable”. As with all new technologies, at the beginning there are higher costs, but we don’t want to put those costs on to our customers, they should be able to easily make a choice among all the products. We are working hard to keep our prices lower than our competitors in order to make this choice easier for them. So, the biggest challenge is for sure convincing people that their single action has consequences, and they can contribute without compromising quality and price. 

Where do you gain inspiration? 

There are two books that I loved and both inspire me, but also Alberto, the other Co-Founder. The first one is “Let my people go surfing”, the story of the founder of Patagonia, which is very important for our mission. The second one is “start something that matters”, wrote by the founder of Tom’s, which inspired the circular economy business model we invented, called RE3.

What is your favorite item from your collection and why? 

I love all of them. Hours of work has been put into every single item and we are so proud of all of them. It’s part of what you have done, it’s part of your dream that is coming true. 

But the most important thing for me is not only the product, but also our circular business model RE3. 

RE3 was engineered by SEAY to reduce the environmental impact of the used garments, extending the life cycle of the clothes. 

If a customer has an old garment that he/she will no longer wear, but he/she doesn’t want to throw away, he/she can send it to SEAY to get a 20% discount on his/her purchase. 

Based on the aesthetic and functional conditions of the garments received they will be either:

-Re-sold as vintage after being sanitized and reconditioned through the cooperative in charge of the RE3 operations. The turnover generated from the sale remains to the cooperative to cover the costs of operations.

-Re-used after being sanitized. The cooperative in charge of the RE3 operations will donate the garments still wearable to people in need.

-Re-generated if the quality of the piece is poor and the garment can’t be worn any longer. They will be sent to a plant to turn the old fabric into regenerated yarn which is then used to produce new fabrics SEAY will use for the production of new collections. 

What’s the story behind your brand’s name? 

In the beginning, the first name was “Soseaty Collective” that comes from: S.O.S. + SEA + SOCIETY = SOSEATY 

The pronunciation is the same as the word society in English. It is a set of individuals with different levels of autonomy, relationship and organization that, in various ways, interact in order to pursue one or more common objectives. It is with this idea in mind that the SOSEATY project was born.  

From Soseaty, we created our first sustainable fashion brand SEAY, which of course still has “SEA” in its name, as it’s still very important to us. In our mind, we want to create other brands under “Soseaty” in different industries, but all with the same goal. 

What made you choose Eco Fashion Labels to sell your products? 

Eco Fashion Labels is exactly what we are looking for, is the right place with the right community. We like the project and mission of Eco Fashion Labels, so we’re very happy to stay here with other ethical brands because it means that we fit the criteria of sustainable fashion!

What are the biggest challenges sustainable fashion is facing right now? 

As already mentioned, the main problem is the price. Small brands that are doing everything in a sustainable way are facing some cost problems, and they don’t have a strong marketing power to share their true and real story. Big brands are just riding the trend of sustainability, taking advantage of their strong presence in the market, sometimes making just one sustainable product and that’s it. Every product can have a “green” alternative and it has to be achievable for everyone. Sustainability is not a luxury available to just a few, it has to be an option for all. With our circular economy business model (RE3), we give a reward (20% discount) for those who buys our products and gives us their old garments, because everyone can easily join our mission, choosing the “right” product.

What can be improved in this sector? 

People are not aware of the impact of the fashion industry at a global level. They don’t know that globally, 18% of all pesticides used are attributable to cotton plantations and that a cotton t-shirt requires approximately 2,700 liters of water, the same amount of drinking water we use in 3 years! They don’t know that a fast fashion garment is worn on average only seven times before being thrown away, and they probably don’t know that wearing the clothes you already own in the closet for another 9 months reduces the environmental footprint in terms of co2 emissions, waste and water consumption by 30%. 

For these reasons, we are making everything only with recycled and certified materials, and thanks to RE3 model, we are going to extend the life cycle of your old garments by giving them a second life.  

At this early stage, I think everybody needs more information about this topic and more initiatives to encourage people to make the right choice, that’s why we truly believe in our circular business model RE3.  

A big thanks to Simone for taking part in this interview! 🙂

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Written by: Chantal

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