August Society makes great looking, comfortable, sustainable swimwear for the whole family. As a mom, I design our swimwear with functionality, quality and the environment in mind.
What makes August Society better?
Fashion is one of the most polluting industries out there, with landfills quickly filling with discarded poor-quality cheap clothes that are now seen as disposable items. Swimwear poses a unique problem – because of hygiene considerations, it cannot be easily donated or sold as second hand. What we can do is use recycled fabrics to make it, and also ensure it can be worn as long as possible.
What does that mean? Swimwear is made from synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester, which are derived from petroleum products. They’re essentially plastics that won’t biodegrade for 400-500 years. The raw material for our swimwear is waste plastic, such as single-use water bottles and ECONYL® regenerated nylon fibres derived from carpeting and ghost fishing nets. These are fishing nets left behind in the oceans by fishing boats, either intentionally or accidentally. Experts have estimated that there are roughly 640k tonnes of these nets currently in our ocean, accounting for 10% of the total ocean plastic. This is dangerous as marine life can get caught in or ingest these nets.
The waste materials are collected from recycling plants, landfills, manufacturing facilities and the ocean and then purified and regenerated into raw plastic. My fabric supplier uses this to make yarns that are then woven into fabric, which is as good as new fabric (which it essentially is!) Also by using digital printing for all of my custom prints, we reduce the amount of ink and dye used in the process and reduce the amount of fabric wasted overall.
On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. There were five garment factories there all making clothes for big global brands. Over 1,000 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. When you think of fast fashion, a large proportion of of brands produce in facilities such as these, paying workers only $95 per month (or even less, as this is the legal minimum wage in Bangladesh) for long hours of work in unsafe conditions.
As an independent brand, we are committed to ensuring we use production facilities that are safe and treat their workers fairly. Our last two collections were produced at a factory in Bali, Indonesia that pays its workers well over twice the legal minimum, as well as a small independent specialized swimwear factory in Guangzhou, China.
I'm the definition of a third-culture kid: I was born in Hong Kong, raised in Canada, did my MBA in Europe, and now I have been living in Singapore for 12 years. I'm not a fashion designer by training; I come from the corporate world, but have dreamed of taking a more creative and entrepreneurial path. Having travelled to over 50 countries, I wanted to make products that can integrate seamlessly into any trip, no matter where you go in the world. As a mother of two, I also wanted to craft a brand that aligned with my values: the desire to keep learning, the impatience to discover new places and the need to be better citizen of the world. I couldn’t ignore any longer the damage done to our societies and ecosystems by fast fashion, and I want to ensure the best future for all of our children.
I create all of my own prints and select every aspect of every design. Step-by-step, I’m consciously embracing ethical and sustainable choices for production and materials. I hope you'll enjoy wearing these pieces as much as I enjoyed creating them.
My hubby is French and spent his childhood summers at his family’s vacation house in Corsica, and the last couple of summers we've been able to bring our kids there too. Most people in Southern Europe - think France, Italy, Spain, etc.- spend August on holiday and workplaces grind to a halt (good luck getting a plumber from end of July to mid-September!) The masses flock to the coast and spend that time bathing in the sun and sea and enjoying long lazy lunches surrounded by friends and family. I wanted to capture that spirit in my brand, that effortless joie de vivre where you get to become your other, holiday, self. This is the August Society, and I hope you’ll want to become a part of it.
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