The Rip Curl Triangle Bikini Top is priced at £28/$38 US dollars with a tropical flora print. It also includes removable padding as well as adjustable traps.
Rip Curl is a surfing company founded by Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer in 1969. Rip Curl is now in partnership with Kathmandu (an online store), where they sell many surfing and outdoor adventure lifestyle products.
Rip Curl has many environmental policies and commitments, as stated on their website. They have been involved with many environmental projects such as working with groups to protect and revegetate beach and mountain areas (the Rip Curl crew are responsible for successfully putting in more than 50,000 plants indigenous to their home town in Torquay, Australia). Rip Curl is also known for annually hosting the longest running event, The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach (a surfing event), which is an entirely plastic free environment.
Although it seems Rip Curl is a sustainable brand, this is not the case. My review of the Rip Curl Bikini Top has made me come to the conclusion that the company is not honest to its customers and uses a lot of greenwashing (providing misleading information about how a company’s product is more environmentally sound than it actually is) to conceal their unsustainable practises.
The Rip Curl website briefly lists all the materials the bikini top is made out of. These include: 78% polyamide, 22% elastane and Econyl regenerated fabrics. Although Rip Curl clearly states they ‘have a strong determination to be environmentally responsible,’ the material used in this bikini top contradicts that statement. Polyamide, one of the main materials used, has significant negative environmental impacts. Polyamide fabric releases plastic microfibers into the environment which leads to pollution, harming marine wildlife as well as endangering human health. In addition to this, elastane is also associated with harmful environmental impacts. Elastane comes from a non-renewable resource (fossil fuels); this uninhibited extraction of a finite resource is not sustainable. Furthermore, elastane is non-biodegradable.
The website also mentions that the bikini top is made from Econyl regenerated fabrics which can be recycled, recreated, and reused multiple times. Usually, Econyl can be made from a range of post-consumer waste including fishing nets and rigid textiles. However, Econyl is a form of nylon and therefore is made from fossil fuels, a non-renewable resource. So, although the bikini top is made from Econyl regenerated fabrics which is a recycled material, the source of this material is not entirely sustainable.
The production of elastane, one of the materials used in the bikini top, is unsustainable. It is a chemical-heavy process that causes devastating health problems. The precursor (an intrinsic part of a product material) of elastane is polyurethane and is a known carcinogenic (has the potential to cause cancer). Also, synthetic dye is used throughout the production process and is one of the most polluting factors in the textile industry.
One of the materials used is polyamide, which is made from a non-renewable resource: petrochemicals. These synthetics are non-biodegradable and so the process of producing this material is unsustainable. The manufacturing process creates nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than CO2.
Their final stage of production is usually sourced from countries with extreme risk of labour abuse. Rip Curl is not transparent regarding their manufacturing process since there is no information about their stages of production.
Rip Curl is not taking adequate steps to manage its greenhouse gas emissions which shows how little the company cares about the environmental impacts they are causing. This goes against their environmental policies and commitments which are ‘demonstrate honest and ethical behaviour’ and ‘considering the impact of each stage of the production cycle of the environment.’
Rip Curl’s main manufacturing factory is located in Thailand, where 650 workers are employed. They state on their website that the company does regular factory visits and product development trips, but fail to provide evidence regarding this. They include a list of countries they source from on their website: China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, USA, Cambodia, Portugal, Italy, France, Morocco, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Japan, and South Africa. The wide range of supply chains indicates the large amount of CO2 emissions required in order for Rip Curl products to be transported and sold in various countries.
Also, there is no evidence Rip Curl has worker empowerment initiatives such as collective bargaining or rights to make a complaint. This shows how unjust the company is towards their workers.
In 2016, it was revealed that Rip Curl manufactured some of its stock in North Korea under slave-like conditions when it was claimed this stock was made in China. Rip Curl responded to this issue by taking immediate action to discipline the supplier for the breach and by increasing inspections. However, there are no details whatsoever about how they disciplined the supplier, which shows how little the company cares on treating and respecting their workers fairly.
The workers in North Korea were routinely exploited which goes against Rip Curl’s policy on ‘ensuring our factories are upholding our Workplace Code of Conduct and adhering to local laws protecting factory workers.’ When it comes to their principles and value of ‘honesty and integrity,’ Rip Curl has failed to be transparent with their customers, showing just how dishonest they are regarding who makes their products and where they come from.