At their heart, HartiSWIM is a new generation eco-luxe label that is based on an island that is shaped by the sea. Despite its small size Jersey boasts several ambitious environmental plans including a marine conservation park and a ‘plastic free’ island. So when fashion veteran and TV personality Tessa Hartmann CBE decided to create a new swimwear label, there was no doubt that sustainability and ethical practise would have to be at the forefront of everything that this new label implemented.
Inspired by her artist husband who paints under the name of ‘Harti’, Tessa created a bold, sustainable statement print collection of swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles from our oceans - an ocean focused story. By using this new sustainable fibre called ‘Repreve’ for HartiSWIM, allows their customers to play a role in solving the ever-growing problem of ocean plastic. The fibre is made from bottles collected within 50 kilometres of coastlines in countries or areas that lack formal waste or recycling systems. This premium fabric also features built in sun and chlorine protection to +50. HartiSWIM believes in a salutary re-birth of our broken planet.
The ‘Series 1’ debut is a 12-piece capsule collection featuring Harti’s pop art graphics from his artwork which depict the ‘collective subconscious’ and consist of sleek one-pieces, statement bikini’s, eye-catching rash guards and dreamy organic silk kaftans. The label will not have dated seasonal collections. They will encourage customers to buy better but buy less to help the environment. Customers will be enticed to collect from each series of statement prints which will be reproduced in limited quantities per year, with subsequent series being added from Harti’s artworks annually.
HartiSWIM's business practises focus on a full transparent and sustainable supply chain that aims to lower their negative environmental impact of plastic ocean pollution. Having worked as a consultant in the fashion industry for over 25 years and the founder of The Scottish Fashion Awards, Hartmann recruited her old friend and UK lingerie industry veteran David Finlayson, former president for Sales and Marketing for Calvin Klein Underwear Europe. Together they have seen first-hand how the sector is one of the major polluting industries in the world.
It's well documented that fashion production makes up 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What's more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (UNECE, 2018), and washing some types of clothes sends significant amount of microplastics into the ocean. The apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. The global fashion industry is generating a lot of greenhouse gases due to the energy used during its production, manufacturing, and transportation of the million garments purchased each year. The fashion industry is currently responsible for more annual carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. If the industry maintains its course, an increase of 50% in greenhouse gas emissions is expected within a decade. A frightening statistic that demands society and consumer spending habits to make change.
As such, Tessa decided to step up and create this ethical wearable art swimwear label. Authentic, original, and audacious, the pieces can be worn from beach to street, any time of the day. The collection encourages imperfections as Harti’s paintings are filled with blotches of colour, glazing streaks, because to be perfect is boring, artificial, one-dimensional and intrinsically robotic. Tessa wanted to create a label that is inclusive in terms of its sizing, ageless and environmentally conscious. She has banned photoshop from her shoots and aims to use models who represent ‘real women’.
"This journey is as much about education as it is about sustainable swimwear. People need to be reminded constantly about what is happening to our planet. Living on a small island surrounded by ocean, we can see first hand the damage to our precious sea and marine life. As a label HartiSWIM is committed to a salutary rebirth of our broken planet and we all have a part to play in that," said founder and Creative Director Tessa Hartmann CBE.
"We also hope to bring something new and totally unique to the market place - wearable art with strong narratives, bold and thought provoking. Our journey has only just began and we are here for the long haul," stated Tessa.