This Sustainable Brand is Upcycling Ocean Plastic to Craft its Intentionally-Designed Swimwear While Connecting People to Our Oceans’ Largest Pollution Crisis That Begins On Land.
In an industry that is upgrading its designs and tech to be worn in and out of the water, newcomer Fair Harbor is leading the way with its soft, recycled materials, versatile designs, and ethical mission. The swimwear brand’s minimalist values and style are reminiscent of the founders’ childhood vacation spot on the barefoot and carless Fire Island that inspired the brand. Launched in 2015 by brother and sister Jake and Caroline Danehy, Fair Harbor is changing the way we view plastics and the men’s swimwear industry by replacing that scratchy mesh lining in traditional swim trunks with a softer fabric crafted from recycled ocean plastic.
Beach Trips Inspire Sustainable Beachwear
The young founders at Fair Harbor want you to know that plastic is a real problem. Spending their summers at the Fair Harbor shores of New York’s Fire Island, sister and brother Caroline and Jake Danehy witnessed the plastics polluting our oceans and waterways first-hand.
Going on to study geography and the damaging effects of the world’s growing plastic crisis, particularly on the oceanic ecosystem, Jake was inspired to act and enlisted his younger sister to help. With $20K investment funding from Colgate University’s mock-shark tank competition, and a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, Fair Harbor made its wildly successful launch in 2015. Since then, the company has rapidly grown into one of the most well-loved sustainable swimwear lines in the industry.
While the brand has built conservation into its manufacturing process, turning discarded plastic bottles into swimwear fabrics, Jake and Caroline understand that their no-plastics mission goes beyond reuse and into awareness and prevention.
Hoping to engage more people in their cause, and inspire a change of heart about plastic, Fair Harbor organizes beach and waterway cleanups, exposing customers to systemic plastic pollution, and connecting them to an issue that they may be aware of but not doing much about.
Turning 11 Plastic Bottles into 1 Pair of Shorts
Fair Harbor has built its brand around a sustainable mission that it also champions in its product line via innovative plastics to swim trunks technology. Their process takes plastic bottles polluting the ocean and grinds them into flakes, which are then melted into a durable and water-resistant fiber, and finally woven into the company’s signature shorts and swimwear.
The company says it takes an average of 11 plastic bottles to produce just one pair of shorts. To date, Fair Harbor has upcycled more than 3 million bottles to produce its swimwear.
However, the company’s approach to sustainable production is really two-fold. Fair Harbor has also partnered with WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) certified factories in China, and leveraged their technical know-how to develop recycled fabric blends that are built to last.
These high-performance, ultra-soft, quick-drying fabrics don’t compromise on quality or variety, and each offers unique features, giving the brand freedom and flexibility to design a wide range of suits for its beach-going customers.
Fair Harbor currently offers five different swimwear fabrics in its men’s line, each tailored to move with you as you live out your adventure by the water. From an active day of swimming in the ocean to a more leisurely day lounging by the pool, all of their styles allow you to #seastheday, and with a good conscience at that.
What Men Really Want in a Swim Trunk
For a brand that launched their swimwear out of a desire to reduce and reuse the world’s plastic, Fair Harbor has made an exceptional swimsuit, arguably one of the best on the market.
The company spent the last five years perfecting their designs, cycling through at least 15 iterations of their signature One Short, incorporating customer feedback down to the very last detail. The first thing to go? That terrible mesh lining found in possibly every men’s swim trunks.
While updating the lining, the brand also tended to deeper front pockets and back zipper pockets that provide optimal protection for your keys, wallet, and other valuables.
And the rave reviews are in – Fair Harbor’s men’s shorts are backed by over 5,000 verified 5-star reviews.
So, if you’re ready to trade in your old trunks, you literally can through the company’s Round Trip Initiative that aims to keep new plastic waste from entering landfills. Simply fill out their form, send in your shorts, any shorts (they accept all brands), using their pre-paid shipping label, and receive $5 in Fair Harbor credit for every pair.
Between these serious upgrades and an even more serious mission, Fair Harbor is creating waves, possibly the biggest wave in swimwear this decade.
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Where to Find
Fair Harbor can be found at Retail Partners such as Nordstrom, Huckberry, and JCrew. Click here to find a store near you.