Born from a passion for the ocean and protecting our planet, Styelle is dedicated to creating high quality, real Brazilian swimwear designed to move with your body, rather than against it. In 2020, Styelle achieved their carbon neutral badge and are now taking sustainability a step further, by partnering with Upparel to be able to offer full circularity. On top of their focus on sustainability, Styelle is a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum and creates ethical and fair swimwear pieces.
We sat down with Charys, the founder and designer of Styelle Swim, to chat a bit more about how her pieces are ethically designed and produced with the environment in mind. We absolutely loved hearing more about Charys’ journey, and why she created Styelle as a true slow fashion brand. Keep on reading to learn more about Charys and the incredible work she is doing with Styelle!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Styelle?
A bit about me will sound like verbal diarrhoea as I have to fill a lot in only a few sentences! I am the proud mum of 6 beautiful children, 2 of them are special needs. I married my best friend back in 2013 and he has been my rock and driving force throughout my journey, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here today without him. How I started was actually very odd. I was focused on starting an evening wear line, when I was speaking with a family friend at a bbq, he asked me “why don’t you go into swimwear?” Continuing with “I can get reversible bikinis made in Thailand for only $25, you’d make a killing!”. So I had my little light bulb moment and naively thought how hard could it be? Upon researching into the manufacturing at the time there, I quickly discovered the child labour and was horrified. I knew it could be done better so began my ethical sourcing journey from there. That was in 2014, we launched in November 2016.
Can you tell us a bit more about how your pieces are designed and ethically produced?
We only source from one production house, unlike many companies that will have at least 2-3. It is a small, family owned and operated business in Sao Paulo made up of equal men and women in senior roles. They pay fair wages, have maternity and sick leave as well as job security and clean/safe working environments. We design with minimal waste in mind as we do not do print placement (insanely wasteful exercise), and all of our larger offcuts are donated to local schools in Brazil for their art and craft. The remaining shards are collected and sent to Votuporanga Recycling Plant to be processed effectively there. Our fabrication house using responsible dying processes for our 30% biodegradable fabric, ensuring the water is recycled and reused, not being discarded into the ocean. Our dyes are also Oeko-Tex 100 certified. We are genuinely a slow fashion brand, only producing 2 collections a year and minimal quantities.
We love that your swimwear is made with the environment in mind by using biodegradable materials. Why was creating sustainable, eco-friendly swimwear important to you?
Very simply put, I wish to leave this planet knowing I had a positive impact, rather than a negative. After all, we are only borrowing the earth from our children. We have just achieved carbon neutrality late last year and have set the goal to be carbon positive this year. Having partnered with Upparel, we are now taking back swimwear from any labels as well as our own and providing Styelle store credit to get more waste out of landfill and truly be for the planet, not just for profit.
What do you believe has been Styelle’s biggest success so far?
The biggest success for me, is knowing our ethical sourcing initiatives see children put back in school with the tools they need in Sao Paulo - I know it sounds corny, but children are everything to me, even if they aren’t mine. The biggest success for me personally, that is too hard, I have so many that come to mind and make me really smile. I am so proud of our all-female team, sitting with my children and having their input on my designs, seeing Melody Thornton in the Daily Mail wearing Styelle was a huge win too - I remember squealing like a little girl when I saw it. In a nutshell, even though I have had all the regular stresses of owning my own business, I wouldn’t change it for the world know the impact I have on so many others and all the amazing memories I have created with it.
What does the future hold for Styelle?
We are currently working towards our B Corp certification and that is coming along quite well. We have set the goal to have it completed by June 2022. This year we are on track to achieve our carbon positive badge and have launched into wholesale locally, taking it world-wide this August. We are always striving to be better and looking for new ways to make us more sustainable so keep an eye out for bigger things to come!