Sustainable clothing is barreling closer to the mainstream, with an Aussie surf shop carving up the eco-friendly apparel groundswell in Queensland.
Using fabric generated from ocean waste including plastic bottles and fishing nets as well as carpet from landfill, Gold Coast-based surf and apparel brand Maksha is among the latest companies tapping into the emerging no-waste circular economy.
Maksha founder and owner, Rosie Centeno, said she started the sustainable surfwear company 12 months ago and had grown a strong Gold Coast following, with plans to expand.
“I think we are going through a process of consciousness where we aren’t choosing to shop in the same way we used to,” Centeno said. “People are wanting to learn more about the process, where the materials are coming from. If it is cheap, why is it so cheap, and does the company have a policy on modern slavery? It’s not easy at the beginning to explain all this, but when people get it they really love it. And when they try the product they love it, how it feels and how it is doing something good for the planet.”
Centeno, who grew up in Argentina, said she felt lucky to have started the online business on the Gold Coast.
“We still need to do a lot of work, but I know people on the Gold Coast are very conscious of taking care of the planet, buying locally and having the Gold Coast lifestyle helps. We are very aware of fitness, being healthy and looking after our oceans and where we live. But we are all learning, and we are trying to do things better. We can always do more.”
Centeno produces sportswear for in and out of the water using ECONYL regenerated nylon, a product made from waste fabrics such as carpet dumped in landfills and fishing nets removed from oceans.
Once it’s recycled, the regenerated yarn is used in the fashion and sports apparel industries by global brands from Stella McCartney, Gucci and Prada to Adidas and Speedo. It’s also used for interiors by BMW and Mercedes Benz.
Centeno said as well as the eco-yarn gym gear, that she says, “feels like silk,” she also produces Maksha eco-wood balance boards with cork rollers for training surfing skills on dry land.
“I always wanted to do something related to what I really like, and what I really like is empowering women through surfing,” Centeno said. “When I started surfing there weren’t that many women in surfing, but that’s growing, and I created the balance board to train in lockdown and support stability. “Now we have sustainable gear for training for your surfing inside and outside the water.”