For our Meet the Designer Summer special edition, we interviewed Fiorella Castro, founder of Seapia, a Sydney-based swimwear brand which uses recycled material. Seapia uniquely combines Latin America's tropical spirit wit high quality sustainable fabric using the latest technology. Find out more about the fascinating origins of Seapia and what makes Fiorella tick!
Can you tell us about Seapia’s history? Why did you start Seapia?
I wanted to create an environmentally responsible label that gives customers a choice of more thoughtful products to counter the rise of fast-fashion clothing which contributes to waste. Seapia reflects my core values of sustainability through fashion design with swimwear of high quality.
How did you come up the brand name?
I love Sea and Pia is my middle name. Seapia is a combination of these two, which reflects me very well.
Where do you get your inspiration or philosophy from?
The philosophy comes from my personal values that transfer to the swimwear I design. I care about the environment, especially ocean protection. Also, I believe that we have to trust ourselves, pursuing the healthy mind and body. Based on these thoughts, my values are;
- Tread lightly: My focus is all about reducing the carbon foot print and caring for the environment
- Be brave: Embrace life and stand for what I believe
- Respect your body: Be active and eat well
- Make a statement: Be the best I can and express it in my clothes
You use sustainable materials for your line which is made of recycled fabric. I had a chance to touch the fabric and it feels very soft - if no one told me, I wouldn't be able to tell that it was made from recycled material. It was amazing!
Can you tell us about it? We would love to learn more.
The fabric is called recycled polyamide and Xtra life Lycra. These are reclaimed plastics from fishing nets, carpets, pre and post-consumer waste which is depolymerised and regenerated into Nylon 6 polymers and then processed into the yarn. This yarn is then used to create the fabrics we use. The great thing is that it can be regenerated over and over without any loss in quality.
Sounds like a science class, but the main thing this new technology does is to help us transform the waste which causes huge environmental issues into the beautiful fabric to live a second life.
Let's talk about your design a bit.
What is the most important thing to consider when you develop new products?
Within swimwear, I look at functionality and longevity in terms of design. Good quality and a good fit is a must. Going beyond swim for the development of other products, the base materials must be sustainable.
Your tropical prints are stunning. How do you work with the print designer? Do you plan a concept or colour palette together?
I usually work the colour palette first then I create a storyboard for inspiration but the end result is the artists’ work. All prints are done locally and are printed with colour fast water-soluble inks that do not harm the environment.
What do you see as the next big trend(s)?
I think everyone seems to be embracing the early 90’s, lots of glitz and glamour. Minimalism seems to be a thing of the past. At the moment I’m working on the next collection, I’m always inspired by the trends of fashion but translate them into a less short-lived aesthetic.
Why should more high-end designer labels look into being more sustainable and ethical from a business point-of-view?
High-end designers have an audience that understand the importance of sustainability and design and are prepared to pay a little extra.
What is next for Seapia?
I want to create everything, clothing accessories, skin products but I have to contain myself and be disciplined. One thing at a time, so it’s more swimwear for now and toying with a few men's pieces.
Let us know a little bit more about you, Fiorella!
+ Favourite Activities
Relaxing at the beach, have a dip in the waves and watch people go by...
+ How do you start your day?
I usually get up at 6:45, have a coffee, get the kids off to school, go to the gym for about 1 hour, have a protein shake and breakfast when I get back and start the day.
+ Favourite quotes...?
I don’t have a favourite quote. I like hearing/reading a witty quote though. Quotes can be quite annoying when people overuse them to define themselves.
+ What does happiness look like to you?
Happiness is a state of mind very hard to achieve continuously. I guess happiness is being satisfied with your achievements in life.
+ Favourite place in Sydney?
Anywhere near the sea but I do tend to like Gordon’s Bay a lot. We are so lucky that we have the sea at our doorstep.
Thinking to get new swimwear this summer season? Seapia would have to be on the top of the list! Shop Seapia here on Ethi.
Seapia embodies the Environmental, Material Sustainability, Animal free and Your Local values.