Plain Tiger Spotlight: Apnée Swimwear

Ocean at heart. Eco in mind.

By Renee Fortune

Jacques Mayol was a world-record-holding, French freediver who pit his body against the brute force of mother nature time and time again. Mayol once dived 347 feet into the deep blue with only a single breath. He was 56 at the time. 

His Italian counterpart, Enzo Maiorca held several world freediving records and inspired a new generation of aspiring freedivers to defy the limits of human physiology and throw themselves at the mercy of the ocean. 

These two athletes were the inspiration for Apnée – a fashion brand that was launched in Paris in 2017 with the vision to “turn waste into a resource.” Apnée makes ‘breathtaking swimwear’ – a reverent nod to the people who respect and cherish the beauty of the sea. 

Apnée started as a swimwear brand but quickly evolved beyond those boundaries to become a brand that is at the forefront of the war against single-use plastic. Founder, Sebastian Fredeau was deeply moved by the plight of the ocean, which the UN predicts will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050. This alarming statistic set a creative process in motion that gave birth to an innovative way to use plastic waste that ends up in the ocean. Sebastian’s vision was to use it as a material for producing swimwear; and by extension, fashion, that is durable, hard-wearing, sustainable and most importantly stylish.

You’ll find colour among the ranks of Apnée’s collection of swimshorts, trousers, hoodies and shirts. You’ll also find pattern in its most vibrant expressions as well as texture, form and a generous dose of function. Ultimately, each garment in the Apnée collection is designed for a purpose and with purpose.
What you see as the final products in the Apnée range begins as plastic waste discarded into the ocean. The brand partners with SEAQUAL™, an initiative run by a large network of fishermen in the Mediterranean who collect plastic waste found in fishing nets and on beaches. This waste is transformed by a team of craftsmen based in Portugal, into 100% ethical and recycled pieces of clothing. In 2019, Apnée launched its first eco-responsible range of swimwear called, ‘Ocean.’ And since 2021, this range has been expanded to include organic cotton t-shirts, linen shorts, jackets and trousers. 

Short circuit runs ensure that wastage is kept to an absolute minimum and each garment is produced in a factory that meets the Oeko-Tex® human-ecological standards. Each garment is resistant to the elements, difficult to crease and able to dry quickly. It’s fashion that’s made for those who surf waves, explore rock pools, wade knee-deep in freshwater oases and live life knowing that with every fashion choice comes responsibility. A responsibility to contribute towards a future in which the sea is conserved and cared for.

Every detail is considered because as the team of artisans behind the Apnée brand believe, ‘the little things change everything.’ Drawstrings match the prints on garments, metal tips and tabs are finished with a brushed effect, buttons are embossed with logos, pockets and zippers are apparent but discreet, and embroidery is stitched tone-on-tone to create garments that are cohesive works of wearable art.

As part of its mission to preserve the ocean, Apnée has joined forces with the Surfrider Association, a group of European surfers who work tirelessly to protect the coastline and its users by raising awareness around the dangers of plastic pollution. A party of Apnée’s turnover is donated to this cause every year and as part of the brand’s ongoing commitment, the team organises regular waste collections to clear beaches of pollution. 

As Apnée brand representative, Laetitia Olivieri explains:

 “We are still a small brand, but we believe that it is our duty to show bigger brands that the fashion world can do better.” 

And isn’t that so profound? The fact that behind the cogs of the circular economy are a myriad of small, independent brands, doing their part to contribute towards a bigger picture and build a fashion industry that can join forces in taking up the mantle of sustainability. 

“The little things change everything.” Reflect on that, and be inspired.

$155.00 USD
$155.00 USD