Who made my clothes? Words by Birralee Hassen
Solsoya is trying to make changes where changes are possible. Promoting an ethical way of thinking, asking the questions "Where does my fabric come from? Who made my clothes?"
Inviting people to start thinking about their clothing options, owner and creator Birralee is trying to be as transparent as possible about the whole process.
Solsoya works with two different types of fabric. The first, used for the leggings, crops and shorties, is called Sublisport. This fabric is designed to draw heat and sweat away from the body, offers UP50+ sun protection, and fits snuggly to the skin. This fabric is not recycled.
The second fabric used in the One Pieces and the Rash Guards is called Vita. This fabric is made from 78% Recycled Nylon, and 22% Xtra Life LYCRA. It is milled in Italy by Carvico. The recycled Nylon is called Econyl and is made by a company called Aquafill http://www.aquafil.com.
The process that Aquafill uses has six steps, and are as follows:
1. Waste Rescue. In Greece, Italy, and Croatia, there is an organization called Healthy Seas, consisting of volunteer divers who recover abandoned or ghost fishing nets from the bottom of the oceans. In the Philippines there is a group, Net-works, a social initiative, encouraging communities to collect and sell discarded fishing nets. Discarded plastic waste, yarn discards and fabric scraps are collected from the USA (Working with Speedo USA), Egypt, Pakistan, Thailand, Norway and Turkey. There is a top layer of spent Nylon carpets, called “Fluff”. This layer is also used in the regenerating process. All these components are gathered by the Econyl Reclaiming program, and are sent by the reclaiming managers to the waste treatment center, situated in Ajdovscina, Slovenia.
2. Waste Preparation. Where waste begins the journey back to its origins. The waste is cleaned, shredded, compacted, and transported to the Econyl regeneration plant in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Materials that are not Nylon 6 are separated and sent on to other supply chains.
3. Depolymerisation. 100% Regeneration. Four years and twenty five million dollars of research later, Aquafill have developed a unique regeneration purification process that uses a scientific chemical as opposed to mechanical process. The process has a high ration of nylon output compared to waste input, and allows the material to return to its natural virgin state, considered a ‘raw material’.
4. Polymerisation. This stage transforms the regenerated raw materials in to Nylon 6 Polymers. A polymer is a substance that has a molecule structure built up chiefly by similar units bonding together.
5. Transformation. This stage takes the polymers and transports them to production facilities. The facility where Econyl is produced is located in Italy. The polymers are then processed into carpet and textile yarns.
6. Re-commercialisation. Econyl has a goal, to manufacture products that are not only entirely made of regenerated material, but are fully and endlessly re-generable. Breaking the cycle, and thinking ahead.
Once purchased in Brisbane the fabric is sent to Sydney, where it is Sublimation printed in Marrackville, at Sublitech. Driven around the corner from Sublitech, the fabric is cut by Sean from Competent Cutters, and then sewn by Laan and her team of wonderfully talented ladies. From here it goes into the stock pile (usually somewhere in the back of owner Birralee’s van) and then sent to you, the consumer. #whomademyclothes