Dubai-based Chasing the Sun Collective is the newest swimwear brand to launch in the UAE dedicated to sustainability. Owner and creator, Sue Salleh-Kobeleva has designed the business to ensure that environment is embedded at its heart, passionately advocating body positivity, inclusivity, diversity and sustainability. We find out more.
Chasing the Sun Collective approaches things with an honest and improvement-oriented mindset. The swimsuits are manufactured only upon purchase using fabric made from ECONYL® nylon fibres, which has been regenerated from waste, such as discarded fishing nets. Each piece is handmade to order in limited edition batches, with orders being shipped within 6-8 weeks. This approach enables the brand to minimise waste and creates an equilibrium between supply and demand without compromising on comfort and value.
Designed with real bodies in mind the brand has transformed conventional standard sizing with a new approach where size-focused labels are replaced with inspiring attributes. With CSR at the heart of the brand’s ethos, it is one of the first UAE businesses to join 1% of the Planet, a global network of businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations tackling the planet’s most pressing environmental issues.
How did the brand come about?
You know how they say, “If you don’t feel like you fit in this world, you’re here to help create a new one?” I first landed on this idea, simply as a result of my own frustrating swimwear shopping experiences. I noticed that most of what was on the market did not fit me as well as I wish they would. I often asked myself “isn’t ironic that it’s called a swimsuit, but I never could find one that ‘suited’ me?”
When I spoke to other women about this issue, that was when I realized that I was not the only one in this unfortunate predicament.
It was clear that the swimwear narrative needed a shift and I pushed myself to incorporate pieces that would fit and flatter women of all body types, where they would feel comfortable, and feel good about themselves.
At Chasing the Sun Collective, beyond being just a clothing brand, we wanted to build a community that is empowered to speak up about the things we care about collectively, to listen consciously to the people we interact with and celebrate the multifaceted spirit of the modern woman.
What does saving the environment mean to you?
As a brand, sustainability has been at our core from day 1. Our philosophy is “we make it when you want it” instead of “we make it, and then make you want it”. Even as a brand at its infancy, we wanted to put an end to the notion that clothes are disposable and to encourage more thoughtful consumption. While it’s great that a lot of brands are putting in the work by using recycled plastic, sustainable packaging, and upcycling, but if they are still creating huge volumes of products or sitting on excess stock, it’s not going to solve the issue – that’s just replacing.
The second part of true sustainability is about cultivating well-being in the way that we do things in terms of going slower, taking care of our mental health, and taking care of ourselves.
And the third part, I believe is adding an element of giving back to the business model. That I believe is very important.
Do you feel the fashion industry needs a serious clean up? If so, any tips?
Let’s look at the dark side of the fashion industry. Fast fashion retailers are making a lot of profit by the constant lure of trends sparking mindless consumption over more things we don’t need.
Sustainability is a journey, and a difficult one at that. There always seems to be more we can do, more that needs to be done. But all change starts with small acts, such as asking questions and being more critical with the brands we encounter.
If you truly need brand new clothes, as a consumer, your job is to be discerning when it comes to who you support. Sustainable brands uphold a balance between the three Ps: profit, planet, and people.
Why are eco-friendly products not affordable?
Factors that influence the price include the type of raw materials, where these materials came from, how and where the product is made as well as who makes the product and under what conditions.
Ethical companies pay not just a minimum wage, but a living wage, which means the craftsmen and women who makes their products are able to afford a life of dignity and safety.
If eco-friendly products or sustainable fashion is considered expensive, it is only against the context of an industry that has conditioned a generation of shoppers to expect throwaway prices. An eco-friendly or sustainably made and priced garment reflects a brand’s dedication to reducing their impact on the environment and on the makers as well.
What should we look forward to from the brand in future?
Since the launch of our first collection, we’ve continued to strengthen our mission to change the way the things we love are created and consumed: better for the people, and better for the planet. We will continue to focus on doing things well; grounded by the principles of considered design, relentless quality, honest value, positive impact, and most importantly, conveying the beauty of our consumers and helping them feel their best.
To shop the newest collection and learn more about the brand, visit Chasing the Sun Collective’s website: https://chasingthesuncollective.com/