Okewa’s new 100% recycled capsule collection launches this week. Images supplied.
We keep hearing about over consumption and how important it is to recycle and minimise waste which is something Wellington-based rainwear brand Okewa have taken to heart with their new capsule collection. Founders Nevada and Nick Leckie have been busy researching how to make pieces that are sustainable and made from recycled materials.
“We’re excited to release a six-piece capsule collection, with three styles for men and three for women. I’ve centred this around a new punchy blue colour and a playful, relaxed direction for Okewa,” says Founder and Creative Director Nevada Leckie. “We’re also proud to be manufacturing this capsule from 100% recycled post-consumer waste. This fabric we’ve developed is woven from recycled plastic bottles intercepted from the waste stream.”
Most rainwear is made from synthetic fibres which are created with chemicals that are toxic for the environment. It has made sourcing materials challenging for Okewa and the duo take their commitment to manufacturing ethically and sustainably seriously. Through their research they have come up with this clever solution for their new rainwear.
“The world’s plastic problem can not be ignored. We were struck by a talk at BoF’s Voices event last year by sustainability expert Ellen MacArthur,” adds Nevada. “Her foundation revealed that on our current trajectory, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight. Intercepting and repurposing some of that waste has got to part of the solution. There aren’t silver bullets, but for us this is about our brand taking a step in the right direction. It’s also critical to me this new fabric didn’t compromise other values of the brand like total waterproofing, durability and a luxurious handfeel, and we’re thrilled this new fabric stands up to those requirements too.”
The development of their new fabrics has meant the brand have formed new partnerships which weren’t easy to find. “It turns out manufacturing our specialised technical rainwear product merging fashion with function is very niche,” says Nick who led the efforts to find a new production partner. Their quest began when their former NZ manufacturer of their seam-sealed coats wasn’t able to accept new orders. As no-one else in the country does that production it forced Okewa to look overseas.
“In the end, we scoured the world from Portugal to France, UK, China, Vietnam, even Australia, for the best manufacturers who value environmental sustainability, ethical making, and could work with us in a true partnership,” says Nick. “We’re excited to have confirmed a partnership with a very high quality manufacturer in Thailand who produces for Patagonia and Burberry. This team have literally advised Burberry on their factory-building – they’re one of the world’s best, and have an excellent track record in sustainability. We’re extremely proud to be launching our 100% Recycled capsule in partnership with them.”
Okewa have launched pre-orders for their 100% Recycled capsule collection on Kickstarter.