As nature lovers at heart, we are conscious of the serious impact that fashion has on our planet. We are committed to the challenge of researching new alternatives, finding innovative solutions, and making informed decisions to minimize our environmental impact.
As a small business, it’s difficult for companies like us to access all the latest technology in environmentally friendly materials, since they are regularly sold in high quantities accessible only to the bigger brand corporations. However, as we continue to grow, we have greater access to these resources, and more power to make decisions that minimize Dkoko’s ecological footprint.
Different from other swimsuit brands who self-promote as ‘eco-friendly’ when they include only one product component made from recycled material, our commitment to sustainability and love for the Earth means we go above and beyond, paying careful attention to the details of production in our supply chain.
Photos: Handmade detail from one of our surf suits, packaging made with leftover fabric & compostable mailer, 100% organic cotton for our beachwear line
Here’s what we’re doing as a small business to minimize our ecological footprint, plus some extra background information on our sustainability decisions:
It’s no secret that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter on the planet, contaminating fresh water resources and generating a whopping 10% of global carbon emissions. 16 billion pounds of textiles are thrown away each year as a result of fast fashion, which encourages consumers to buy new clothing at super low cost and quality, lasting just long enough to keep up with the trends, only to be worn out and thrown away in a few months’ time.
At Dkoko, we believe that planetary wellbeing requires us all to buy less but buy better.
That’s why our products are designed to be worn beyond just the trends of the season, made with the best available quality materials and sewn by hand, with love.
As our customers will tell you, Dkoko swimwear lasts for years - and we pride ourselves on making unique products that keep their fashion value and lifestyle function long beyond the flimsy trends of the season.
Limited Quantity, Local Manufacturing
Manufacturing out of our boutique sewing shop in Nicaragua, instead of Asia, allows us to produce in limited quantities and only manufacture the number of garments we sell, keeping waste at an absolute minimum.
As a result, Dkoko designs are unique and our supply limited. We never make more than a few dozen pieces per style, keeping our swimwear that much more exclusive for our customers.
We choose the best available materials to create beautiful products that last for years. Studying into our supply chain details, we take care to know where our materials are produced and how far they travel to reach our sewing shop, since air transportation required for shipment is one of the primary factors generating the greatest carbon emissions across the fashion industry.
Swimwear Fabric and Lining
All Dkoko swimwear uses premium quality fabrics made with Lycra Extra Life - featuring unique technology that provides optimum fabric resistance and helps maintain shape and elasticity, making it 10 times more resistant than other fabrics to the regular wear-and-tear caused by chlorinated pool water, salt water and sunscreens. UPF protection built into the fabric itself helps colors stay vibrant for years.
We purchase our fabrics directly from the manufacturer in Brazil, with a maximum of two shipments per year to prevent unnecessary air transport.
Photos from the factory and water treatment facilities of our fabric supplier in Brazil
Our fabric supplier is one of the largest textile manufacturers in Latin America – they are Oeketex certified and dutifully compliant with all regional social and environmental standards. Operating with the latest technology in state-of-the-art machinery, their textiles are manufactured using water from the Tiete River in Sao Paolo (one of the most polluted in the Americas), and their ecologically sound production process actually treats the water and returns it clean back into the river.
Why doesn’t Dkoko use recycled fabric?
While we’ve researched into the options for integrating recycled fabric into our supply chain for several years now, we decided to continue with the fabric we currently use for a number of reasons:
The recycled fabric we found is produced in Italy and pattern printed in Colombia, which would require us to send it from Italy to Colombia, have it pattern printed there, and then sent on to Nicaragua. A second obstacle is that the company doesn’t offer textured fabric or lining made from recycled fiber, which means we would need to continue buying those materials from our current provider. As a result, we would triple the number of air shipments to meet our production requirements, contributing to greater environmental harm rather than helping minimize our ecological footprint.
Similarly, it turns out that recycled fabric is not made from 100% recycled material. And it’s hard to find reliable information on the amount of water used in recycled fabric production, or whether it’s any less than conventional materials.
For our 2020's swimwear collection we will offer a new fabric produced with the world’s first biodegradable polyamide fiber. The special technology built into the fiber helps maintain the quality and durability of the fabric, thanks to a decomposition process that begins as soon as the garment makes contact with the microorganisms present in the anaerobic environment of a landfill, activating its biodegradable properties on the spot.
Different from other synthetic fabrics that take decades to decompose, this fabric requires only about three years to be eliminated from the planet, powerfully diminishing its environmental impact.
Our goal is to replace all of Dkoko’s solid-color and patterned fabrics with this biodegradable fabric by 2021.
100% Certified Organic Cotton
Cotton, known throughout history as ‘white gold’, is hypoallergenic (meaning it doesn’t react against your skin), breathes better than synthetic fabrics, and is incredibly soft. Cotton is resistant when it gets wet, and stays cool in the Summer and warm in Winter. Like all fabrics, there’s a big difference between high and low-quality cotton, which is why we’ve chosen to use 100% certified organic cotton for our premiere beachwear collection.
What is Organic Cotton?
Starting from untreated, natural seeds, organic cotton is grown without the use of any synthetic fertilizers. Organic cotton crop rotation and composting maintain the health of naturally moist soil by creating a biodiverse, balanced ecosystem. This makes organic cotton plants more resistant to pests and disease, eliminating the need for pesticides known to be both carcinogenic and neurotoxic.
Thanks to this cleaner cotton-growing process, farm workers are afforded a healthier work environment, and all uncontaminated plant waste can be used for other purposes, such as feed for livestock or cotton oil production.
We want our designs to be worn as not just simple pieces of clothing, but special creations that evoke feelings and sensations when we wear them. With that in mind, we’ve carefully selected ultra-soft fabrics made from 100% certified organic cotton and hemp, so each garment becomes an experience of tactile delight.
Cultivated since 8000 B.C., hemp was the first plant used to create textiles, and it doesn’t require the use of any toxic pesticides or herbicides. Hemp is known as the most durable of all natural fibers, and it blends well with others, like cotton.
Hemp is a perfect fabric for summer clothing, since it adapts well to the climate and becomes softer with use.
We strive to use all the leftover materials created in our manufacturing process by re-purposing them back into our products and packaging to minimize waste and prevent them from ending up in the garbage.
Instead of plastic, our bikinis and clothing are packaged in fabric bags made from pieces leftover in our production line. This helps keep our supply chain plastic use to a bare minimum.
For local and standard international shipments, all garments are shipped in biodegradable bags.