One would assume whereas Natasha Tonić‘s clothes on a rack — which I first encountered whereas backstage at Paraiso Miami Beach throughout Miami Swim Week — that the Los Angeles-based designer’s line is not historically thought-about swimwear. But it surely is swimwear, really, and some different issues, too, because of Tonić’s very particular material selection and the muse of her namesake model: hemp, a sustainable materials that is anti-microbial, sturdy, breathable, biodegradable and UV-resistant. (The items are comfortable to the contact and should not solely meant for the seaside or pool, but additionally for on a regular basis put on and even the gymnasium.) It is also a extra eco-friendly possibility than swimwear’s historic use of artificial materials, in addition to these produced from recycled polyester or plastics, which might nonetheless contribute to microfiber pollution.
“It’s amazing that we’re recycling polyester to make another swimwear or activewear brand, but at the end of the day, it’s still polyester going back into the water,” says Tonić. “I was trying to find a solution.”
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Nicely earlier than she began a profession in trend, Tonić studied molecular biology in her native nation of Serbia, which she fled due to the battle, then went on to check artwork and enterprise in Prague. She lastly ended up in LA the place she studied trend advertising. In 2008, she based a sustainable ready-to-wear line, however having her first youngster prompted her to take a break from the enterprise and determine her subsequent enterprise. In 2017, Tonić began designing hemp-made swimwear, however confronted the problem of introducing such a non-traditional material to the house. “Everyone wears polyester, so how do I convince people that hemp swimwear works? It sounds very ‘hippie’,” she admits.
So Tonić took the high-end route, designing a $148 sleek one-piece swimsuit with a excessive neck, low again and cutouts on the hips. It is now one of many model’s signature types, and a low-impact tie-dyed version (for $168) can be a favourite. The gathering has expanded to bikinis and a few attire, too, together with a catsuit and jumpsuit. A portion of each sale is donated in the direction of efforts in opposition to plastic air pollution, and the model has partnered with such organizations as 5 Gyres and Basta con la Plastica.
As for convincing prospects that hemp swimwear does certainly work in addition to some other swimsuit fabrication, Tonić took it upon herself to check her personal designs in varied environments, from the ocean to a sizzling tub. For a month she stayed in Croatia (the place she’s been visiting since she was a toddler) and went swimming within the sea. “Every day I used the same bathing suit,” she remembers. “Sometimes I didn’t rinse it at all and would let it dry out in the sun, just to see what would happen. It was like brand new.” Subsequent, she tried the swimming pool, and whereas her items can face up to harsh chlorine, she suggests a fast rinse with pure water afterwards to forestall put on. In a jacuzzi, there was no downside, says Tonić, and whereas she prefers to hand-wash and hang-dry her swimwear, the fits do exactly tremendous in a machine.
Over the previous two years, Tonić’s model has been embraced and championed by the tight-knit sustainability neighborhood, in addition to picked up by eco-conscious retailer Rêve En Vert. Nevertheless, Tonić goals to have nearly all of her retail enterprise run direct-to-consumer. “I purposely didn’t want to try to sell to stores because I want a lot of people to really understand the product to purchase it,” she says.
However after the label’s Miami Swim Week debut with Paraiso, Tonić is able to take her model to the subsequent degree — throughout attain, choices and sustainability strategies. (Along with runway fashions, the designer additionally employed performers from the Miami Metropolis Ballet, which helped showcase simply how versatile and useful her items might be.) For her newest assortment, Tonić utilized a closed-loop system to dye and print a gold hemp leaf motif on swimsuits, a jumpsuit, a tank prime and a slip gown. “The water and ink that’s used is being recycled, so it doesn’t go back into the ground and it’s used for always printing,” she explains. “That’s very new [for me] and I’m very excited about that.”
One other problem that Tonić took on was making her first-ever bathing fits in white, which, for hemp, usually turns sheer as soon as it is moist. So she utilized a smocking approach, stopping the gathered material from being so see-through n the water. And whereas it is clear that Tonić’s model has made progress, she nonetheless believes there’s extra work to be completed. For instance, she’s nonetheless determining efficiently digitally print the colour black on her hemp items — “it doesn’t come out as strong as it should be,” she notes — and she or he’s experimented with textiles made from mushrooms as a doable various for padding in bathing swimsuit tops. (Sadly, it loses its form within the water, however Tonić hasn’t misplaced hope simply but.)
“I feel like the more buzz I have, the more power I have to change things because I just think it’s necessary,” she says. “This planet is too beautiful to be wasted on.”
See Natasha Tonić’s newest assortment from Paraiso at Miami Swim Week within the gallery beneath.
Disclosure: Paraiso paid for my journey and lodging to attend and canopy the occasion.