Designer Natalia Bertolo from AURAI SWIMWEAR. Image supplied.
Natalia Bertolo launched AURAI SWIMWEAR in 2016, with the Brazilian designer creating her designs here in New Zealand and manufacturing in her hometown in Southern Brazil. Her fourth collection launches at New Zealand Fashion Week this month as part of the swimwear and activewear show.
AURAI SWIMWEAR was founded on the value of sustainability and created to be environmentally friendly. Natalia’s hometown is one of the Brazil’s main leather and footwear production hubs, and growing up the designer saw the environmental impact of the local industry over the years. It inspired her to write her University thesis on eco-design and sustainability in fashion. Her label came out of that study and AURAI SWIMWEAR became a platform to put the theory into practice. “I wanted to challenge myself and to hopefully inspire other businesses to view fashion (especially the design process) in a more cohesive and conscious way, from design to discard,” says Natalia.
Part of that commitment to being sustainable means using new fabric technologies and for her SS18 collection, the designer utilised ECONYL®, a revolutionary polyamide fibre made from 100% regenerated material, pre and post-consumer nylon waste such as nylon plastic scraps, old carpets and fish nets recovered from the ocean.
For her upcoming SS19 collection, Natalia is introducing AMNI SOUL ECO® to her collection. It’s made from a polyamide with an improved formulation that accelerates biodegradation in the anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, common in most landfills. The fabric is made in Brazil, and as the pieces are manufactured locally it it reduces the environmental impact of transport.
This collection is also a special one for Natalia as she has collaborated with breast cancer survivor Karin Horen to make mastectomy-friendly designs. As Karin has gone through cancer treatment twice and had a double mastectomy she was able to give the designer insights throughout the process. “Functionality is one of the key elements for eco-friendly fashion, so offering innovative and inclusive products is part of AURAI’s ethos and it’s a beautiful cause!” says Natalia.
AURAI SWIMWEAR’s current SS18 collection is available online now.