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Innovation alert: Shark Rebellion produces swimwear from plastic waste in ocean

Lausanne based start-up Shark Rebellion develops a range of swimwear made from plastic waste recovered from the ocean, including fishing nets. The latter are essentially composed of nylon, which happens to have the same properties as the nylon used in traditional swimwear. 

Positioned as “a resolutely sporty brand” by founder Hoàn Nguyen-Xuan, a French-Swiss engineer, swimmer and certified PADI Rescue Diver, the collection has been developed in close collaboration with elite swimmers of the region's swimming clubs. Several Swiss champions are currently using Shark Rebellion’s swimwear including brand ambassadors like Nicolas Zoulalian, Swiss champion in 50m freestyle and Madeline Coquoz, multiple Swiss diving champion.

“During my Rescue Diver exam in open water, I found myself covered by plastic brought by currents. Angry and heartbroken, I decided I had enough, and the idea of Shark Rebellion was born”, Hoàn tells ThinkSport. Asked about the sourcing process, he explains: “Our fabrics are 100% made of material sourced from ocean waste. The journey starts by rescuing waste, like fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial plastic from oceans all over the world. The waste is then sorted and cleaned. Eventually the nylon is extracted and processed to its purest form.” He adds: “The nylon fibre extracted from fishing nets is twice as resistant to chlorine and stretching than regular swimwear, which makes our products much more durable and perfectly suited to the intensive training of swimmers.”

Shark Rebellion’s declared mission is to raise awareness about ocean pollution, decrease ocean waste and protect marine life. The young company donates parts of its profits to support initiatives like Healthy Seas, an NGO that rescues ghost nets lost in the ocean. In addition, Hoàn organises free workshops in order to educate and exchange knowledge with students and corporations on sustainability.

Curious to learn more who and what’s behind Shark Rebellion? Click here.

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