Leading the Way in Sustainable Swimwear: Interview with APRICOSS

03
Sep

As many of you know, I style many of our photo shoots for The Fashion Hub. I typically shy away from the camera when I am behind the scenes. But instead of resisting I’m saying — bring it on! In this spirit, I decided it would be spontaneous and bold to step in front of the camera to review Apricoss swimwear.

It also really helped to have my friend, Natalie, as the photographer. Shy as ever, I was cloaked in a swim cover-up for the first series of shots until Natalie cranked up the K-Pop music and brought a wind fan for kicks and giggles. The photoshoot was extraordinary and full of life and energy — much like the strength and beauty of this black one-piece swimwear (gifted by Apricoss).

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Natalie Lytvak, LYT Photography

In the past, I’ve hesitated from posting photos of myself on The Fashion Hub, either pieces that I buy on my own or items that a brand sends me. This year, in particular, I decided to step behind the scenes as a stylist to inspire perfect pairings and visual interest. What changed for this review was truly in the brand mission: sustainable fashion.

When the founder and head designer, Sofia Syu, reached out about her new startup, I was instantly captivated by their mission to design timeless pieces that are effortless yet luxurious, sustainable yet aesthetic, and simplistic yet innovative. The design and construction is in the wear itself.

Natalie Lytvak, LYT Photography

Now, let’s take a look at the brand that’s making sustainability fashionable and chic.

The Brand: APRICOSS

Review: 

This is a sophisticated swimsuit that is best described as unfussy simplicity. Usually, I get a bit weirded out with the lack of design and body — but not here. This one is light, stretchy, smooth and sits in all the right places. I could probably go running in it, or do a headstand or two.

The only part that could be improved upon is the straps. I had some trouble adjusting them in place and they slipped off from time to time. Aside from that, I am excited to sport this suit for my next yoga class! I love that it can easily transition from chic to sporty depending on how it’s styled.


I was curious what it takes to bring a sustainable swimsuit like this to life, so I asked Sofia Syu, a few questions via email.

How did the Apricoss develop as a startup?

After finishing Fashion School I worked for some small fashion startups such as Franziska Fox, Elizabeth and Clarke as well as bigger brands like Marc by Marc Jacobs. These companies were more driven by art intake or lucrative business models rather than focusing on quality and promoting ethical fashion. In the meantime, I felt my heart was taken by a new generation of brands like Everlane, Ayr and Reformation. They were inspiring and their products — a perfect combination of quality, price without harming the environment or mankind, made perfect sense of what I want to make. I knew then that I want to create something new and fresh, which led to APRICOSS coming to life on the autumn of 2015 in New York.

What does Apricoss symbolize and represent?

Apricoss is based on the trio of good quality, perfect fit and fashion forward design. Our mission is to create timeless pieces that are effortless yet luxurious. We take a thoughtful approach to design and construction: production is sustainable and each piece is made to be worn season after season.

How would you describe the Apricoss woman?

Apricoss caters to an active woman on the go, she is a “super woman” of today who manages perfectly to live an active lifestyle combining family, career and wellbeing. She is a travelista and a world citizen who constantly learning and looking for new experiences. She desire comfortable clothes that remain classy and yet has an element of surprise.

Why did you start with a swimsuit?

I was shopping for a one piece swimsuit in a specific red color with flashes of white. Fortunately, my attempts were unsuccessful because the prices were either too high, the quality of the fabric was unacceptable, the torso length was to short, and the list goes on.

So I decided that my first product would be a swimsuit. I started with a simple design, since I believe in minimalism. I looked at what is on the market and where the trends were going.

What fabrics do you use? 

After attending several sourcing events, I chose a well-respected Italian fabric supplier (Carvico) that has been in the industry for over 50 years and specialized in knits. I always considered Italian knitting artisans/manufacturers as the best in the world.

The specific fabric we chose for APRICOSS is produced using innovative yarn and knitting technologies to make it flatter than a normal swimsuit fabric. It also has UV protection, is stain resistant (to oil and sunscreen), and holds its softness and shape over time. We added Xtra Life LYCRA® to the blend which makes our swimsuits more chlorine resistant and helps to reduce fabric breakdown by more than five times, compared to an average swimsuit.

We went a step further with our Black/Elegance color. It’s is made with ECONYL® – 100% regenerated nylon and polyester fiber from post-consumer materials. With this process, nylon and polyester contained in waste, such as carpets, clothing and fishing nets, is transformed back into virgin raw material without any loss of quality. Originally, I planned to make a full collection from ECONYL, but I could not find the right shade of red in the ECONYL fabric. My hope for future collections is to develop our own colors in the fabrics that we chose.

Ethical and sustainable sourcing seems like a complex process. Are there any challenges you face with managing supply chain?

After our first season I can recall a few.

  • Vetting suppliers and manufacturers:  Finding the right fabric supplier and manufacturer that matched my values was quite challenging. I’m a strong believer that you can can avoid 70% of the problems that may occur if you select the right partners who follow ethical and international standards from the beginning.
  • Managing deadlines: Because our fabric (Italy) and production (Morocco) are done overseas we had to build a strong communication between all the chain components in order to deliver the product at the right time.
  • Cost: Many fashion startups including APRICOSS face the challenges of high manufacturer minimums, high bulk fabric costs and high transportation costs.

Do you plan to expand beyond swimwear? 

Yes, the APRICOSS mission is to create a timeless wardrobe. The Ariana swimsuit was our first product and my future collections will carry lifestyle pieces that women may want to wear during the day or at night. This will include dresses, pants, skirts, tops, coats etc. Our signature will be high quality, simple styles with unique details. Being an active young women on my own, I know how it’s important to be comfortable and look great through the day and know how important to have pieces that will last through the seasons. I’m also inspired by embroidery and thinking of adding it to future swimwear collections.

Here’s a look at how APRICOSS ladies are rocking the Ariana swimsuit:


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