Sustainable swimwear brand UBU Swimwear wants to bring you a bikini that you can look great in – and feel good about buying. Read its founder’s story here.
After moving to Singapore in early 2017, Paula Kenneally discovered a gap in the market for quality, classic swimwear created for consumers with an eye on sustainability. Launching UBU Swimwear in 2018, she has endeavoured to put that right. “I had spent years looking for great swimwear that allows you to be active, provides great coverage and support, is comfortable, looks great and is stylish – all on top of being affordable and lasting more than a few washes,” she explains. “We had a very active, outdoor lifestyle in New Zealand and not having good swimwear that you feel comfortable in really does have an impact on your confidence. So, when we moved to Singapore, I decided to take the opportunity and look into doing something about it. And UBU was born!”
From the start, sustainability and responsible manufacturing practices were at the heart of what Paula wanted to do. “Our mission is to provide high-quality, sustainable products and to do this in a socially responsible manner by giving back to our customers, our community and the environment,” she elaborates. “We also want to provide women with the best-fitting and most comfortable swimwear they can find. We focus on timeless designs and luxury materials to show that sustainable fashion can have it all.” To do that, all their swimwear is made out of Carvico Vita, a luxury Italian fabric that uses recycled nylon and yarn to turn waste problems into fashion solutions. Each piece of the process from production through to packaging has been thought through. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for UBU was sourcing eco-friendly packaging and branding material in Singapore. They’ve started using sugarcane waste paper made from bagasse, the excess, fibrous pulp remains of the sugarcanes, while also returning and reusing all packaging they receive from their suppliers. And, in addition, she is adamant that their designs are created to last, in contrast to the throwaway culture so prevalent in fashion today. “We don’t do seasonal collections nor aim to replicate short-lived fashion trends. Our pieces are manufactured to last for many, many seasons,” she clarifies.
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“Fast fashion never sat right with me,” Paula reflects on her decision to craft her brand this way. “We have a strong focus on giving back. We sell 4Ocean bracelets to support their global movement to clean up trash, donate a portion of our sales to BIG Against Breast Cancer, and have a commitment to fair and ethical manufacturing.” Aligning itself with many other slow fashion startups in the region, the brand is a member of the Green Is The New Black community as well as a supporter of global movement Fashion Revolution. “I have a personal belief that while going through life, we should do what we can to help others. I practise this belief in my personal life and wanted my business to have the same values.”