If you’re thinking of making sustainable swimwear, you must first consider the durability of the material. You must also consider the style and design of your swimwear. If it is not durable and stylish, you will struggle to sell them. Sustainable fashion is a growing trend in the industry. Many companies have decided to use sustainable fabrics for their products. Sustainable swimwear can be made from plastic bottles, recycled polyester, or even from polypropylene used in clothing and home goods. Polyamide and elastine are both great to mix and match in swimsuits. Polyamide is a man-made fiber that becomes stronger the more it’s twisted or knotted. It can be used to make lightweight fabrics with stretch.
Sustainable swimwear must be durable and made to last. There are a lot of options out there for sustainable swimwear, and it can be difficult to choose the best one. The single most important factor is durability. Not only is sustainable fashion important for the environment, it’s also important for the company. Being environmentally friendly is a great way to build trust with your customers and increase brand loyalty. Polyyamide and elastine are great swimsuit materials to mix and match. Polyyamide is a synthetic fiber that is similar to spandex. It’s strong, elastic, and resistant to abrasion.
2021 is looking to be hotter than ever for the string bikini
At this point, it’s clear that the swimsuit trend won’t be going away anytime soon. This season, however, is all about the body-con look. String Bikinis are not going anywhere, so it’s best to just get used to them. They’re a unique and fun way to show off your lingerie and they’re sure to be popular at the beach this summer.
I was skeptical about the Apre’s Swim launch. I thought it would be the next fad to fade away, but it’s become a staple in my routine. String bikinis are making a comeback this year! These bikini tops are great for summer and can be worn with a variety of bottoms. One-Pieces is having a comeback, and it’s continuing to plunge. The brand has been on a downward trend since former CEO Michael Kors resigned last year.
Basking in the early afternoon sun here in Tulum, I sit down with AMARA’s Founder and Creative Director, Lisa Jackson, to sift through her cookbook of feminine magic, strategies and creative expansion in pursuing a conscious lifestyle. This interview sheds light on some of the more intimate aspects of Lisa as a business owner and human being- and with that, reminding us it takes love, dedication and self-realization to paint our world as we want it to be.
~ What inspired you to rethink AMARA’s core message in the fashion business and start to encourage a conscious lifestyle? ~
I feel like I have been playfully lead down a path and have had almost no control in arriving at the overall concept of AMARA. I have merely been a receiver and a channel to relay a message to as many minds as I can possibly reach through this brand. There have been many signs that presented themselves along the way that have encouraged me to move towards living consciously and having the brand exemplify that; reflections from my own thoughts and experiences, and conversations with like-minded individuals in the Tulum community and worldwide.
While my home base was Toronto, the people I’ve encountered since I left home, were enriching me with very different ideals than I had been exposed to previously. Although Toronto contributed so much to my creative talents and intellectual development, for the most part, it is a conservative city, and being the wild child that I am, I began to feel very unhappy and unfulfilled there. I needed to stretch my wings.
So when I finally took the leap to move my life to Brooklyn at 27 years old to start production on my ethically focused, made in the Garment District swimwear brand, I was opened up to a Universe of possibility and influence. I found myself surrounded by artists, musicians and hippies that were challenging the status quo in positive and meaningful ways. Through the struggles I faced in my new life as an immigrant entrepreneur with very few resources, I began to imagine a world where everything moved in harmony; where all these inspiring, talented people, that were enriching my life so deeply, didn’t have to put forth such unnatural effort for the very basics of life, when really, they were put here to create and expand human connection through their art.
I arrived in Tulum two years later searching for something closer to the vision that had begun to reveal itself. By this time, Hotcakes had become an Instagram sensation, I was earning an income online, hired a fashion student to keep an eye on production in NYC and a fulfillment warehouse to ship orders. At the suggestion of Timothy Ferris and
The Four Hour Work Week, my cost of living had gone down by 75% by heading to paradise. Not to mention being submerged in a world reserved for the most beautiful women and never-ending aquatic backdrops. My lifestyle elevated and I became more aligned with my mission instantly, simply by changing location and being amongst nature for the first time. I’ve always desired to help people to see we are meant to experience a much more positive and fulfilled way of living, and Tulum has been a huge catalyst in solidifying that dream from thoughts to reality. Coming here, I had fallen into this beautiful rabbit hole of an expansive sense of freedom and possibility- by experiencing spiritual ceremonies, being exposed to Mayan culture, and meeting a self-replenishing stream of like-minded humans from all over the world, daring to break all the rules. Those were formative moments for me. I came into myself truly and deeply. I allowed myself to just be. I stopped wearing a bra and shoes most of the time, I listened to psychedelic rock and roll, I danced under the moon; I swam naked for all to see and took lovers from far reaches of the globe.
But most of the transformation, within the brand, and myself, I attribute to the early days, where I lived in complete solitude in a perfectly beautiful luxury condo in the heart of the peaceful, magical jungle. This was in Aldea Zama back when there was nothing else but trees and a handful of other entrepreneur neighbors in our 6 unit building, who were developing Ahau, Gitano and Calo- now some of the most renowned brands in town. This was a massive upgrade on my railroad shoebox in Greenpoint that I shared platonically with a 40-year-old comic book nerd. That’s another story though… For the first time, I had the means to create and dream on my own terms, without limitation, in an absolutely inspiring environment. And I gave myself permission to indulge in it all.
Tulum, without the people, is a place that truly reconnects you with nature and brings you back to your center, encouraging mindfulness of how you live. One only needs to observe nature to learn how to live in harmony with it. And here I was in the jungle, all the answers there before my eyes and coming through all channels of my existence. Through this observation, connection and solitude, my vision began to rapidly expand.
~ What were some of the things you struggled with in trying to manifest your brand being based in Tulum? ~
Looking back, I realize I was quite naive in the process of transitioning production to Mexico, and that, unfortunately, is a state of being that comes easily to someone living in a place like this for the first time. Tulum comes with its own hurdles, which you have to jump over on a daily basis. Rolling blackouts, spotty internet, and nonexistent mail service are just a few things that make it difficult to run a business from here. You have to learn to go with the flow. It was a new experience for me hiring a team, and through that process also learning what my rights were as a foreign business owner. Navigating the entrepreneurial waters while also learning a new language is a whole other ball game with communication errors causing problems you can’t fathom. Although, the gift of living here is worth the challenges, as challenge breeds change.
Tulum was growing as a hub for entrepreneurs, models, hoteliers, restaurateurs and the like so I was exposed to an abundance of eager investors and creative friends, with their own ideas for AMARA and more or less, lighting stars in my eyes with ways to elevate the brand and business. At that point the business was entirely online, and having exposure to this amazing community made me realize the unique opportunity and reach I had in spreading AMARA across the globe, which is when I set my sights on opening a brick and mortar store here. I had come across some incredible people with solid ideas, coming from a place of love and encouragement. I felt incredibly fortunate that these individuals were excited about my ideas and wanted to show me the ropes. Their business concepts and ideas for the future, of Tulum and the planet, were on par with what I wanted to manifest, and I was feeling extremely lucky to have crossed paths with all of them in perfect synchronicity.
However, as obstacles have continued to persist over the last few years in seeking an aligned location for our boutique, one of the people I looked up to most for being visionary, essentially told me I should just rent any storefront available and offer what other boutiques were selling in order to satisfy business income; an extremely disheartening piece of advice for someone who so deeply values innovation. I had connected with this mentor initially for precisely those ideals I thought we shared.
And the sad truth is, this kind of entrepreneurialism seems to be happening a lot here now. People are selling out, creating carbon copies or exploiting and destroying the natural beauty that has provided us so much. All to get in on the gold rush of Tulum’s ever-growing tourist culture, decisions focused solely on profits. Right now, we are losing the jungle to it, we are losing the quality of life and moving farther and farther away from the dream that revealed itself to me when I first arrived.
While of course profitability is a core part of a sustainable business, through AMARA I really strive to consider a broader perspective and break the mold at every opportunity. Otherwise, my heart’s not in it. Innovation is what the world needs right now more than ever. Dismantle every status quo. We need to rethink society from the ground up if we are going to solve the problems humanity faces. My beliefs are strong so I want my actions to resonate that and set an example. What we hope to accomplish with any space, experience or product we create for the brand from here on out, is to highlight the beauty and luxury of nature and show how we can work with it, to enhance the quality of our lives while maintaining the Earth’s natural abundance. This past year, in addition to developing 8 new product lines to create an all-encompassing lifestyle brand, we have designed an architectural concept for our flagship boutique experience that will highlight jungle preservation. We have recently found the perfect location for our project and are beginning to bring this concept to life.
~ What have you drawn your creativity from in order to curate your own way of living that fuses with AMARA? ~
Roughly 2 years ago, I began to experience one of the hardest periods in my life personally and professionally. I had spent 3 years growing the brand with workaholic fervor and striving towards a certain level of what I perceived to be success. I finally had the insta-worthy jungle penthouse, the beach road boutique in the most sought after eco chic travel destination on the planet, the cool car and the beautiful, exotic, artistic boyfriend attached at the hip. All of a sudden I found myself more miserable and less connected than I had ever been. Surrounded by people that were, quite literally, sucking the life out of me.
I am an empath and naturally want to help people in any way I can, always more than happy to share everything I have with the people around me. But in my kindness, I forgot to enforce boundaries and left myself susceptible to being taken advantage of. Without true connection, spiritual practice or clarity, in my success I ended up drawing to me all kinds of characters that wanted to come along for the ride but didn’t intend to contribute towards keeping the success rolling. It was such a whirlwind in getting there, that I wasn’t present enough to realize I was making all the wrong choices; the wrong business partners, the wrong employees, the wrong location, the wrong lover.
The Universe, being the precise, all-knowing, calculated genius that she is, was quick to rip it all away from me. In the course of 3 months, I pretty much lost everything that I had spent 3 years building. Minimalism by force. I found myself homeless, directionless, massively depressed and alone. Naturally, I was torn about how to move forward, I had very little confidence in myself and really no desire to continue with the business but feeling a sense of obligation to my new investors to keep moving. I had to swallow my pride hard, because for a moment there, my ego was prominently in charge.
I headed back to Toronto defeated, to seek shelter in my childhood bedroom, get behind my old bar and float for a while. Thankfully, the failure I was experiencing sparked another huge transformation and lead me to this emotional quest of personal discovery, healing and growth. Through these trials of gaining and then losing everything rapidly, I finally stopped, took stock and learned to consciously curate my life to begin to transform it into the masterpiece I have always known I am destined to create.
When we look at the world as a whole, or take a glimpse at our Facebook feed, we see such massive problems and begin to feel helpless against the sheer enormity of it all. But if we begin to break things down to a manageable level, you realize we only truly have control over ourselves. To me, that is an empowering thought. I arrived at the newest evolution of the brand and the will to keep pushing forward, no longer with the intention of saving the world, but simply by asking, what do I need to be truly fulfilled and live in harmony with nature? By shifting that focus inward I realized that my only “job” is to be my best self, an ongoing, evolutionary process, and through that focus would be able to offer my best self to the world around me and naturally align with my vision.
To make sense of it all, I started to write a lot of lists. I listed my values, things that made me feel happy, lessons I’d learned from particular relationships or business experiences, down to every little physical thing I would need to live a fulfilled life, from creative tools to wardrobe to self-care essentials. The root of it stemmed from looking into philosophies within the umbrella of utopian futurism, which for me also included minimalism, sustainable architecture, refinement, radical economics and spiritual enlightenment. I am very fortunate that I was blessed with such a grand vision so early in life but now understand, through the process of dissecting fulfillment and sustainability, the baby steps it’s going to take in getting there
Up until this point I was handling everything for the brand from design to photography, customer service, marketing, accounting, even web design. In the midst of burnout, it became apparent that if I was going to grow as large as my vision, I could no longer do it on my own. Especially if I wanted to maintain my sanity or social life. Through an intense self-discovery and healing process, I began culminating people in my life who encourage what I am creating and see the vision clearly. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Walter Frías on a few creative projects outside of the brand and saw the potential of our combined work so I decided to invite him to join AMARA at the beginning of 2018.We immediately saw the alignment in our talents, ambitions, vision and work ethic and began taking steps towards building what has become a much grander and more holistic picture of our mission.
~ Can you tell us a bit about the team you’ve been curating to help you strengthen the core of AMARA?
We now have a 3 person creative team, including my partner, Walter Frías who has a background in health-focused restaurants, ecotourism and wellness practices such as Ayurveda and therapeutic massage. He is now also currently in training to perform acupuncture. Walter contributes to the overall concept and strategy as well as sustainable product development and sourcing. His outlook is the perfect complement and his work over the past year has been integral in defining and refining our mission. Dajana Radovanovic, one of my closest friends, fellow Toronto native and brand in her own right with a massive and dedicated following, is the newest addition to the creative team. Contributing to branding and product development, Dajana will release her first swimwear collaboration in the New Year, followed by curating additional lifestyle categories, AMARA skin, and AMARA care. Of course you, our BC babe, developing the voice of the brand and curating the blog, along with our customer turned travel contributor, Jennifer who lives in Montreal. Some of our long-standing teammates include our Film Director Jerome Kruin and Cinematographer Axel Villamil, also buddies from my hometown where I used to work as a professional makeup artist on music videos and commercials. The boys and I have been collaborating for over 10 years. They visit us in Tulum sometimes to escape the cold and hang out, as well as shoot my pretty girlfriends. Which leads us to Allison, the primary face of the brand, who I initially found through an Instagram contest, but who quickly turned into someone I regard dearly as a friend and plan to create with for a lifetime. Last but not least my best friend Lara, owner of Wildsea Boutique (where you can currently find our collection in Tulum) and creator of Everelse, two of the prettiest brands I have ever encountered. We bonded over fabric hunts, simplicity, folk music and girly things. I gained a lot of the softer feminine side of the aesthetic through her influence and I wear her dresses religiously. She is my rock and has been by my side in my darkest times when all I could do was cry. She never made me feel like I was a burden and was so nurturing when I needed it most. I’m helping her out with Wildsea while she’s away on maternity leave and she’s been known to jump in front of my lense on occasion too. When you know, you know. And with all of these people, I have felt an instant, divine plan sort of connection. They are my greatest inspirations and allies. Together we are creating our own world, our own family, with our own rules and we are so excited to start sharing some of the projects we have been cooking up this year behind the scenes.
~ What empowers you as a female in this industry? ~
I, fortunately, have never felt or experienced any limitations being a woman. I always felt my femininity to have many advantages actually and have acquired many male allies along the way with this outlook. I have had an inherent knowledge that we are equal, which I think is quite a rare perspective in the cultural landscape of the past nine thousand years. And where we are not equal as men and women, we are complementary; we were made differently for a divine reason. Female energy is the creative force that flows through all of life. That is power that cannot be denied, so we don’t have to fight for equality, we simply have to believe it for ourselves to take back our power. I think I was given this outlook to aid in realizing my dreams and I believe that more and more women like me are beginning to appear in this specific time in history. I think we are witnessing the beginnings of a revolution that will see women coming back into balanced power with the male figure in all aspects of society, which in turn will breed peace, abundance and correct focus for the human race to move towards the natural evolutionary process of spiritual enlightenment. We must be in balance to achieve it. It’s exciting to me that I can now confront these ideas and ideals directly through the brand I have created. The fashion industry is arguably the single most female-driven industry worldwide. I don’t think it’s a coincidence I ended up here. We are not bound by limitations in this creative field, we are given room to grow, explore and be ourselves and that feminine power we all have inside of us is a massive asset. I feel that as women being at the forefront of such a forward thinking and rapidly growing industry as sustainable fashion, we have the capability to spearhead great changes in the world. We have the influence to bring people together in community, to think differently, focusing on the small details and making life a little more kind, caring and inclusive.
Lisa and I ended this interview as the stars were coming out along with light, aural hints of Janis Joplin’s hauntingly beautiful voice. Thinking on it now, I don’t believe that was a coincidence. As we say in Spanish, “Larga vida a las mujeres.” Long live women.
It’s no secret that we are a consumer nation, especially when it comes to fashion. Rarely do we take the time to think about where our clothing is coming from and how it’s made. We joke about everything being “Made in China” and never really consider how and where our clothes are actually being manufactured. Director Andrew Morgan poses serious questions about the fashion industry and its social and ecological impact on our world today in the aptly named documentary True Cost. Through his and the producers storytelling, viewers are able to truly see just how catastrophic this impact is.
Today, the fashion industry operates under a system known as “fast fashion.” This system creates a constant need of clothing at an inexpensive rate. Stores like H&M and Forever 21 that offer ever-changing products with a shockingly low price tag have figured out how to quickly and cheaply manufacture, but at the price of those who actually make the clothing. Morgan described how, “Cutting corners and disregarding safety measures have become an accepted part of doing business in this new model.”
Morgan points out that, “As recently as the 1960’s we were still making 95% of our clothes [in America]. Today we only make about 3%. The other 97% is outsourced to developing countries around the world.” As John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, explained, “All of the making of goods is being outsourced to low cost economies particularly where wages are very low and kept low.” The “fast fashion” model demands for cheap labor to manufacture large amounts of clothing so they can make a huge profit. This causes major issues with the wages and conditions of those garment workers that produce clothing for big companies. As the demand for cheap clothing increases, wages drop, conditions worsen, and labor becomes more intensive. As journalist/author Lucy Siegle states, “Risk is being carried by those who are most vulnerable and the worst paid.”
All of these devastating effects caused by a “fast fashion” industry can be seen in Bangladesh, where there are close to 4 million of the 40 million garment workers in the world. The Bangladeshi garment workers are among the lowest paid globally and over 85% are women. Working conditions in Bangladesh can be extremely dangerous and many garment workers have lost their lives due to negligence of safety regulations. The tragedy at Rana Plaza, where a clothing factory collapsed, killing more than 1,000 workers, shed light on just how poor conditions are in these factories. “Low wages, unsafe conditions, and factory disasters are all excused because of the needed jobs they create for people with no alternatives,” Morgan explains.
The documentary focused on one Bangladeshi worker in particular, Shima Akhter. She spoke for so many like her that are forced to work in these clothing factories with unacceptable safety conditions for an extremely low wage. Her story gave face to this issue that is running rampant all over the world, especially in undeveloped countries. Choking through tears she made a statement that really demonstrates the heartbreak that many garment workers endure.
There is no limit to the struggle of Bangladeshi workers. Every day we wake up in the morning, we go to the factory and work really hard all day. And with all the hard labor we make the clothing. And that’s what people wear. People have no idea how difficult it is for us to make the clothing. They only buy it and wear it. A lot of garment workers die in different accidents. Like a year ago, there was a collapse in Rana Plaza. A lot of workers died there. I don’t want anyone wearing anything, which is produced by our blood. We want better working conditions so that everyone becomes aware. I don’t want another owner like the owner of Rana Plaza to take such a risk and force the workers to work in such conditions. So that no more workers die like that. So that no more mothers lose their child like this. I never want this, I want the owners to be a little more aware and look after us.
While we’re considering the way clothes are manufactured, it’s also important to think about the very source of those threads. Monsanto is the largest seed and chemical corporation in history and they have created a monopoly on their genetically modified seeds. Farmers are forced to buy the seeds, which need pesticides to grow properly. So not only do farmers have to buy Monsanto’s seeds, they must buy pesticides to keep the crops growing. This becomes very expensive and in turn, most farmers go into debt with Monsanto. Eventually the very corporation that sold them the seeds takes their land from them. Farmers are left with nothing after the company claims their means of living and supporting their families. Many farmers have been pushed to the point of suicide. According to True Cost, “In the last 16 years there have been over 250,000 recorded farmer suicides in India; the largest recorded wave of suicides in history.”
Not only are there major social effects due to this system of “fast fashion”, there are extremely damaging ecological effects as well. According to the documentary, “The average American throws away 82 pounds of textile waste each year; more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone. Most of this waste is non-biodegradable, sitting in landfills for over 200 years or more, releasing harmful gases into the air.”
Today the cost of producing clothing doesn’t properly account for the ecological impact this manufacturing causes. “Fashion today is the No. 2 most polluting industry on earth,” as mentioned in the film. It is second only to the oil industry. Places like Kanpur, India, the biggest leather export in the world, have seen over 50 million liters of toxic wastewater wash into their local farming and drinking water. The wastewater is due to a chemical used to treat the leather. Since the usage of this chemical has increased, the area has become inundated with mental illness, cancers, and other life-threatening diseases. The same holds true for Punjab, India, the largest user of pesticides in India. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of birth defects, cancers, and mental illness in the region since the major use of pesticides.
Fortunately, there are people working against the way this devastating industry operates. Safia Minney, Founder and CEO of People Tree, a Fair Trade fashion brand, actively seeks out clean, efficient, and proper ways to manufacture clothing. Minney explained the roots of People Tree in the film recalling, “Bit by bit we put together an amazing network of like-minded fair trade organizations that put women’s development, workers/social development, and the environment absolutely essential to everything they do.” Minney is active in the factories where the clothing is being produced, playing an essential role in making sure things are done right.
An organic cotton farmer, Larhea Pepper, stands strong against companies like Monsanto, farming cotton the old-fashioned way, organically without harmful pesticides. After she lost her husband due to a brain tumor that was quite possibly caused by the use of pesticides in their area, her mission became imperative. She created the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative to bring awareness to these issues of toxic pesticides and how it affects everything in the area; water, soil, air, and the food they ingest. She mentioned that today many focus on eating organic, but people need to start thinking about wearing organic as well.
Others such as Lucy Siegle and John Hilary spread the message about “fast fashion” and how the industry is destroying lives around the world. Livia Firth, Creative Director of Eco-Age and Founder of The Green Carpet Challenge said, “We’re actually profiting from their need to work, to use them as slaves. We need to give them work but they have to be treated with the same respect that we treat our children, our friends. They’re not different from us.”
Thanks to those activists joining the fight against the current fashion industry and the way it operates, people are becoming more aware of the issues behind fashion. We all need to look at ourselves as consumers and change the way we think about buying clothing and goods. It’s important to act now before it’s too late. As Safia Minney mentions, “This is the beginning of a turning point, not just for, you know, a responsible way of doing fashion, but for a new way of doing capitalism, for a new way of doing economics. I’m sure that we will see a significant change over the next ten years. Whether it’s in time or not is another question.”
The documentary True Cost makes all of this information accessible to viewers while also giving alternatives to this destructive model of fashion. The images and issues presented in the film are alarming and it’s hard not to want to take a stand after watching. Please take the time to watch the documentary and think about the origin and source of your clothing next time you shop. The only way we can stop this ever-growing industry is if we choose not to support it. It’s important to act NOW and play a crucial role in a shift away from “fast fashion” and all of its negative effects on our world.
The film is now available to watch on Netflix or for purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray. For more information visit www.truecostmovie.com
It’s been an incredible year of growth so far for AMARA, as well as for me personally. Last year I decided to take a chance on life and move to Tulum, Mexico and haven’t looked back since! While the tropical vibes have been exponentially inspirational for me on a creative level, what’s been most rewarding is that I have come to know myself better. Through the people, the culture, the new friends I’ve made, and especially through the solitude and self-reflection, I’ve become a little deeper and a lot more aware. As a result of this growth process, I’ve come to have strong opinions about this world we live in—the connections we have with each other, with ourselves, and with our planet—and about our potential as human beings in all aspects of life.
I have always been passionate about my craft but it’s beginning to have a much greater purpose than I could have ever imagined, even just a year ago. I have been very active on my personal social media channels about my hopes, my inspirations, and my beliefs, but I had always felt it necessary to keep that away from the brand. I didn’t know how the two related or fit together. However, through my ethical and sustainable initiatives within the brand, I have begun to see that the two aspects of my life go perfectly hand in hand. After all, what is fashion if not making a statement? What is making a statement, if not doing it in style? My beliefs and passions have essentially shaped AMARA into what you see today; something I have worked extremely hard for, and about which I am infinitely impassioned. I’ve come to realize that through the brand, I have an opportunity—a voice, along with an ability to reach many young women and to start a conversation about things that really matter to us all.
Which is why I am thrilled to announce that in 2017 we will be launching our blog, The Minimalist. We will be sharing a vast array of inspiration with you; from our latest photo shoots and collaborations, to the art we are into, music (of course), useful information on conscious and sustainable living, minimalist philosophies, health and beauty inspiration, feminism, and exploration of this beautiful planet – pretty much anything that gets our hearts pumping with excitement. This won’t be your typical brand-blog. We have deep thoughts, big aspirations and our greatest hope for this magazine is to inspire some of that to be channeled through you, into your own passionate expressions.
I hope The Minimalist will be a place where women all over the world can connect, create, and inspire one another to reach our greatest potential. Be revolutionary. Let’s see what we’re capable of!
Calling all AMARA babes! At Amara Swimwear, operating environmentally consciously and ethically is paramount, and we love when other companies hold these same standards. So, we are very eager to announce that we will now be carrying Kapuluan’s 100% Natural Hand Pressed Coconut Oil for purchase!
Kapuluan is a remarkable brand, with an impressive product.
Out of the Philippines, Kapuluan manufactures a locally produced Organic Coconut Oil by utilizing sustainable practices: they operate without harming the earth, they produce no waste, and they also partner with local farmers (the majority of whom are impoverished); Kapuluan works with the Filipino coconut farmers to revitalize the coconut industry, and aids the rural population in recovery, after the destruction of a typhoon that hit the country in 2013.
Could they get anymore awesome? The answer is yes: anytime that you purchase their Coconut Oil, they vow to plant a new coconut tree in the Philippines!
And who doesn’t love Coconut Oil? Its benefits are plentiful: full of Vitamin E and antioxidants, it can be used for skin care, cooking, and hair care, as a moisturizer, a toothpaste, and even as a sunscreen -and that just scratches the surface! Check out a full list of the benefits over at www.kapaluancoconut.com
We adore Kapuluan’s initiative, and we are overjoyed to share their product with you!
Follow @kapaluancoconut and #GrowingChange to support, and pick up some coconut oil while your at it!
While most of us picture escaping to idyllic sun destinations of pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters, the rate at which we’re going shows a harsher and uglier reality of beaches littered with plastic, struggling marine life, and discarded junk from ocean liners. With tourists already having reported finding massive patches of floating plastic and garbage in popular tropical destinations, this idea that we have of our planet going to shit in the distant future, isn’t so distant at all.
Sustainable fashion is all the rage these days, with brands likeEverlaneandReformationquickly becoming household names. In an effort to combat the alarming rate of ocean destruction, growing alongside the apparel industry’s move towards a more environmental process, is swimwear. With a global, shared love for the sun and sea, swimwear is reinventing the bikini, with the hottest trend being recovered ocean plastic.
We had the opportunity to connect with Lisa Jackson, founder and owner ofAmara, a Tulum-based sustainable swimwear brand, and a leader in the ethical swimwear market. With a “from the sea, for the sea” approach, Lisa found a way to blend her love for fashion, with her love for the planet, realizing what many of us haven’t yet – sustainability and fashion can go hand in hand. A Toronto native who found her place in Tulum, Lisa not only understands the grave importance of ocean preservation but realizes that providing a solution has been the best way to open the conversation.
1. Why did you start Amara?
Amara actually didn’t start as an ethical label. I had already been working in fashion and entertainment, and this was my second attempt at launching a brand. I already had strong political and spiritual beliefs. As a bookworm with an extremely curious mind, I began to see the world for what it really is and form strong thoughts and opinions on the subject. I was very vocal about my beliefs and the things I was learning in my personal life but felt that I had to keep that voice separate from the brand for a long time. I began to feel conflicted about my involvement in fashion after seeing the destruction it was causing. Then one day, I came across the Patagonia story and dove deep into their brand philosophy. A light went on. I realized it didn’t have to be fashion or ethics, that the two could actually go hand in hand.
2. Why did you decide to move to Mexico and engage local artisans as your designers? What significance does Tulum hold for you?
Mexico wasn’t really a decision. I feel like it chose me actually. I initially went down for a 4 week inspo trip and at the end of that 4 weeks, I knew Tulum was home. I signed a year lease and didn’t look back. 3.5 years later, I’m still here and still just as enamored by the town. Tulum is the place I truly found myself, my style and my voice. I found likeminded artists and entrepreneurs proving that we didn’t have to compromise on quality or experience to be sustainable. I was immersed in a tropical lifestyle and the brand just took on a life of its own through my experiences here. Two years into living in Mexico, I was still manufacturing in NYC’s Garment District. By chance, I was introduced to a small, female owned, local sewing house, and was finally able to move production closer to home. I love having production close by, where I can be more involved in the creation process. Being able to give back to the local economy that has provided me so much and work with women that truly love what they are doing, has been the greatest reward in the move.
3. Tell us about your manufacturing process?
Our sustainability initiatives begin in the design process. That’s why all our designs are reversible, mix & match and sometimes even convertible. We’re minimalists at heart and want to teach the world to do more with less. Our Italian fabric is manufactured in a green energy facility that works to reduce pollution, protect green spaces, preserve water, and monitor gas emissions. Made up of two game-changing fibres. ECONYL® is created with regenerated nylon recovered from our oceans through theHealthy Seasproject, helping to remove tons of plastic waste and save marine life. Add in LYCRA® XTRA LIFE™ for quality that’s built to last. Our swimwear is cut and sewn in a small local sewing studio in small batches to avoid excess waste.
4. What do you find the most challenging about creating eco-friendly swimwear?
The process of creating the swimwear is not challenging at all, that’s the fun part. The challenging part is getting the word out about what we’re doing and keeping up with the rapidly changing industry. We’re the little guy with big dreams.
5. What impact hasAmarahad on the swimwear industry, the environment, and on the lives of the locals you hire?
I’m following in the footsteps of the greats, such as Patagonia and Reformation, and I hope to make a massive impact on the fashion industry by encouraging all brands to adopt a sustainable model and aspire to constant innovation. We can truly have it all if we put our minds to solving the problems we face. We’re still a tiny operation but as we grow, we hope to create a positive impact in the local economy and quality of life by creating livable wage jobs and flexible work arrangements for locals. Our environmental initiatives include regularly organizing beach cleanups in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, just South of Tulum, to protect the wildlife from plastic washing ashore. We plan to hold these events quarterly and encourage locals and tourists alike to get involved. We post these events on ourFacebook groupif you are interested in joining us.
6. What are some of the projects you’re currently working on?
We’re in the final days of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to build a sustainable boutique in Tulum. To my shock, I found out most of the businesses on the beach road in Tulum are run on diesel generators. When looking for a place to open up shop, we were offered a really great location that would require us to build a structure. Rather than contribute to the problem, I devised a plan to build a boutique that would echo our brand values inside and out. Our boutique will be built from an upcycled shipping container, run on solar power, complete with vintage decor. We turn to the Kickstartercommunity to help us bring our wildest dreams to life. To reward our backers, we have launched our newest collection, some exclusive Hotcakes and our new Men’s trunks, all at 30% off the in-store price. We’re also planning to launch our ready to wear collection in the near future which will include a range of effortless dresses and resort wear, made with deadstock fabrics and upcycled vintage.
7. Do you have any tips or industry insights on what consumers should look out for when buying sustainable swimwear?
Aside from just sustainable swimwear, conscious consumers looking to create a lifestyle with minimal impact, should follow these simple tips:
UPCYCLE – utilizing what you have to create something new, from cutting, sewing, dying, to repairing.
SWAP – or gift any items you no longer use and trade for things that will serve a purpose in your life.
MINIMALISM – Reducing consumption by ensuring the things you own either serve a function or bring you joy. This is not about deprivation, it’s about intention, elevation and curation.
VINTAGE – The easiest way to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, is to repurpose items that already exists as opposed to paying for something new to be made.
AWARENESS – We vote for the things that exist in this world every time we spend a dollar. Whenever shopping new products, make sure to research the company you are spending your money on. Ensure you are buying quality, long lasting pieces from companies that work to reduce waste, use renewable energy, adopt fair trade practices, use organic and recycled materials, and contribute to solving sustainable problems wherever possible.
8. What’s your personal philosophy when it comes to ocean preservation?
We have the technology and know-how to completely eliminate single-use plastic at this point. It is devastating our oceans and marine life. The alternatives exist and it’s up to the consumer to educate themselves and avoid single-use plastic products. The fact that we can now convert used plastic waste into brand new quality products such as swimwear and carpet, changes the game and allows us to imagine how innovation moves us closer to a green future for all. We need to focus on the reduction of consumption and implement easy access recycling programs to ensure this useful plastic doesn’t find its way into the ocean in the first place.
Amara’s designs are made with minimalism, versatility, sustainability and comfort in mind. All designs are reversible, and mix & match, and sometimes also convertible. With the modern woman (and now man) in mind, Amara has found a way to mix utility, sustainability and style. With this brand’s improvement of the local economy, beach clean-up initiative, and dedication in providing sustainable swimwear, Lisa Jackson’sAMARAgets our stamp of approval.
If you’re in Tulum and want to join in on helping clean up the biosphere, joinAmara’s Facebook groupfor more information on meet dates.
Check outAmara’s Kickstarter campaign. Raising funds to build an eco-sustainable boutique made from an upcycled shipping container, this boutique will be solar powered and built with no ecological footprint. With Lisa’s core principles in mind – minimalism, sustainability, nostalgia, versatility and comfort – this eco boutique will be a sustainable solution to traditional retail.
In a fashion world that’s making eco-friendly trendy and cool, many brands have jumped aboard, but a unique few execute from core values to align with this messaging every step of the way. That’s why game changers likeLisa Jackson, creator ofAmara— a sustainable swimwear line that leads in eco-luxe — isn’t afraid to get transparent with us below. Her shifts and plans gear up for a brighter fashion future — and it’s not easy. Here’s how she’s doing it.
To shop Amara pieces or for more info, drop us a linehere.
BIKINI: Why was it important for you to start an eco-conscious brand? Lisa Jackson:I’ve always had a strong belief about how we should be as humans on this planet, but I see the way this world is going. I feel like I’m a conscious being, and for me, it’s important to leave a positive impact. I had my fashion brand that had nothing to do with sustainability, yet I had my same mindful beliefs. If you were to go through my personal Facebook posts and see the person that I truly am and what I believe in, you’d see that I was totally contradicting what my brand was actually portraying. I love aesthetics and being involved in the fashion industry, but for a long time, I questioned how that aligned with my core beliefs. It wasn’t aligning for me. I thought that my creative side and my activist side had to be separate to be a part of the fashion world. I finally realized that I could merge those two sides together when I discovered Patagonia and their brand ethos. A brand that is beautiful, engaging, and that people want to get involved with, that still has a positive message. Maybe those people attracted to the brand for it’s aesthetic aren’t necessarily eco-conscious, or specifically looking for eco-friendly brands, but what better way than to teach them something new and help them to think differently.
BIKINI: Was there a specific idea that triggered this merging of sustainability and fashion? LJ:I was already using an Italian fabric mill that introduced the recycled fabric options. That’s really what made the change in the direction of the brand. Finding out there is no difference in the cost, I question why we don’t stop producing fabrics made from new fibers and only produce these recycled options if the technology already exists. The brand message had a lot of that engraved, but it was really my time in Tulum that pushed everything even further. I started living in this tropical environment and seeing the environmental devastation firsthand — also, seeing all these businesses that are claiming to be eco-friendly but not really following through on their mission. It was submerging myself in this environment that really started to make me feel strong about what I was trying to accomplish. Slowly over the past two to three years, I’ve been building towards the most eco-friendly brand that could exist. I really ask myself every step of the way [and in] every aspect how can we do the best for everyone involved.
BIKINI: What other parts of the business are sustainable and eco-friendly? LJ:We’re in the final days of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to build a sustainable boutique in Tulum. Our boutique will be built from an upcycled shipping container, run on solar power, complete with vintage decor to reflect our sustainable values. I also moved my production down here to Tulum to help local women by creating livable wage jobs for the people that are the core of the community — the Mayan people that have provided so much richness in my life. It’s about giving back to them as well. Even in small details like our packaging; the hangtag is made with seed paper, so instead of wasting paper and throwing it out when you get your bikini, you can have a flower pot and have beauty spring from that. The shopping bags from the store are fashion-forward and not plastered with branding. They’re actually something that people want to use; it’s not something you’ll just toss out and send to a landfill. I want to eliminate as much waste as possible. Also, getting rid of plastic packaging and instead, using a reusable bag that you can use to put your wet bikini in after the beach. Making sure every byproduct of our business has a purpose or use.
BIKINI: Can you talk about your previous retail space and how you’ve decided to run on green energy instead? LJ:People don’t realize that there’s no electrical grid on the beach of Tulum. It gives businesses two options: you can go the sustainable route and use solar and wind power, or opt for a generator. In the short-term, generators are less expensive, but long-term, it’s just not worth the devastation; I don’t understand why more people aren’t opting for solar, especially with so much money coming through Tulum. It’s very disappointing. I found out that my retail space was running on diesel generators when the shop suddenly had no power running one day. I called the landlord, and he said the gas must be out of the generator. He later showed me the generators which are these massive things the size of a car running in a back shed, burning constantly. I was embarrassed to know that my boutique was running on generators; I knew it wasn’t going to be a long-term solution for me. It didn’t resonate with the brand’s core values, so I had to make a change.
BIKINI: Is that what inspires yourKickstarter campaign? LJ: Yes, I found the perfect location for the store, surrounded by jungle, but it would require us to build a structure. I thought to myself, if I’m going to build something, then I’m going to do it the right way. The whole roof will be covered with 16 solar panels, enough to run AC to create a comfortable environment and [to accomodate] all other electrical needs. I’m not giving up; it’s happening — going green and not cutting corners. It’s a promise I’ve made to keep: becoming eco-friendly every step of the way.
BIKINI: Nowadays we see many brands claiming to be eco-friendly, even though they are not. How can you be transparent enough to your customers so that they can trust your brand? LJ: I’m happy to be honest and transparent throughout the whole process; there’s nothing to hide here. The next phase of the plan, we’ll have a showroom and a workspace in the back and offer full transparent walk-throughs where people can see the creation process and talk to the women who are making the pieces. We also have to go through a process to even be able to claim that we actually use our recycled fabric. The mill is fully transparent about everything. There’s a wealth of information on how they’re collecting trash from the ocean and turning it into swimwear fibers. We provide links to all of this for people to learn about it.
In the spirit of freedom and rebellious creativity, AMARA proudly raises its fist to the sky in honour of Louis Reard and the 71st anniversary of his design – the modern bikini. Circa July 5th, 1946 Michelin Bernardini donned the prototype of the modern bikini crafted by this French engineer. This was also the year in which the United States and the Soviet Union began their nuclear dance that resulted in the start of the Cold War. 4 days earlier, the US had nestled on the peaceful cluster of islands of Bikini Atoll to test their atomic bombs. Subsequently, Louis had borrowed the name for his new inspiring design hoping the bikini would create an “explosive commercial and cultural reaction”. What would be more controversial than testing nuclear weaponry? Women in scandalous swimwear, without a doubt.
Bikini Atoll, July 1st, 1946
The test areas for the atomic bombs included the sea, parts of the local reef, in the air above the islands and underwater. Unsurprisingly, this was a huge devastation to its local populous, on land and in water. At the time, however, this catastrophe was nothing to some, compared to seeing awoman in a two piece bathing suit. The Catholic Church had much to say; which at the time, didn’t have the best track record of honouring femininity and female empowerment. Some facets of the media and general public thought the bikini–that every women in the world now owns– was outrageous. But of course, even the most outrageous things build traction, and the vixens, rebels and women of freedom had no plan on stepping down.
Bridgette Bardot in Capri during the production of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 movie Contempt
Fast forward to 1951, where many contestants of the World Beauty Pageant squeezed into the provocative and curve adoring bikinis. With every silver lining in life, there is a darker cloud that looms ahead to block the sun, as it did back then when the bikini was banned from the competition. Yet still, women and fashion persisted in the game of activism and freedom. Iconic women of their time like Brigitte Bardot, Rita Hayworth and Eva Gardner wore the daring new bikini and flaunted their own unique shapes across beaches. The dames who wore it were mostly upper middle-class Europeans linked with the vanguard and celebrities. Despite the support and praise he had received, the bikini was banned from the beaches in Italy and Spain and continuously shunned by a greater societal resistance. Pope Pius XII claimed it sinful. With the design still largely shunned throughout the 50’s, the beachwear crusade was far from over. No promised land would be reached until we had the right to bear our bods. His design eventually spread around the world from France; bearing the female form in all its glory to scrutinizing onlookers, who were stuck in the archaic undertow of sexism.
Ursula Andress in Dr. No, 1964
This went beyond our exposed feminine curves, in an age where it was mind-boggling to see a woman’s bare stomach in public.This was about equality and breaking the boundaries on conformity. The outdated points of view on the definition of being a woman was held on trial and failing. We had reached an impasse where the once delicate, quiet female creature was blooming into a beautiful force to be reckoned with. We were coming into our own, at the time when the worldhad manipulated and abused our power and capabilities for far too long. The innate female sexuality had begun to reveal itself in the most empowering way possible. This was one of the final frontiers of equilibrium between men and women. For centuries we’d beenthe praise and muse for artists, yet still snuffed out and dubbed powerless aside from two chauvinistic traits: childbearing and arm candy. But the irony is how many powerful and affluent women dominated our world history before and after, despite these notions. Women who didn’t have children, or husbands either. Women had played essential roles in the first and second world wars. From immersing ourselves in respective government roles, acting as nurses and doctors in battlefields and working long hours in factories making guns and ammunition. Queen Elizabeth the 1st never married or bore children, yet she’s considered one of the most accomplished, peaceful and intelligent sovereigns in England to this day. Cleopatraruled her time at the ripe age of 18, spoke 7 different languages and united Egypt with the Roman Empire. Marie Curie was the first women to win a Nobel Prize- twice.Frida Kahlo, from AMARA’s backyard of Mexico, is still admired as a feminist icon. Harriet Tubman. Hellen Keller. Perhaps these women hadn’t owned bikinis, but they sure as hell would have looked beautiful in one. Countless times we’d proven ourselves as formidable and capable of any feat in the face of threats and subtleties of daily life.All of uswere decorated in finesse, refinement, and femininity. Yet with all that we had proven to ourselves and the world, we were continuously silenced.
Bridgette Bardot, A Very Private Affair 1962
Following the release of the bikini, Reard received over 50,000 fan letters in support of the design. The feminine limit that had been set in place was beginning to crumble, and it was a shining example that we were far from giving up. The modern bikini was another lighthouse on the stormy shores of sexual equality. It was a new way of looking at ourselves and our bodies- and being proud. He had created a tool for us to transform ourselves into something more free and stunning, another way in which we could celebrate ourselves. He’d given us a mirror in which our beauty was reflected. Bikinis are all different, as are the women who wear them. Whether a gal back in the day was curvy, thin or any of the beautiful variants in between, Reard’s design had helped pull back the curtain and showed us just how beautiful our bodies were. Our days of hiding away in the shade were dwindling, and soon we would be basking in the sun.
Bridgette Bardot in Cannes, 1953
Yet despite the sliver of support the modern bikini had received compared to the unceasing resistance on religious and societal fronts, freedom had prevailed and thus began the bikini revolution. The arts had been a great help in the movement. Most prominently, it was the Cannes Festival and style icon Bridget Bardot that had greatly helped this scandalous swimsuits popularity gain traction. Although not showing a film that year, Bardot stole the headlines when she wore a strapless floral bikini at the festival in ’53. However, it wasn’t until the early 1960’s that the bikini became socially acceptable and sought after from the every day. The bombshell design had even begun to integrate into the creative arts: from television to songs to movies. How can we forget Brian Hyland’s song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”? A fashion cult classic. Strangely enough, the modern bikini made its true splash in the sea of activism right around the time of the sexual revolution in the United States. Can you think of a better way to rebel against sexism than in a bikini?
Rachel Welsh in Fathom, 1967
Louis had continued to push the boundaries of the modern bikini with daring designs throughout the 70’s and 80’s, along side women pushing the boundaries of female fashion. Sadly, in ’84 he had passed away, with his company eventually closing 4 years later. In the aftermath, this was the period in which public awareness on skin cancer grew exponentially. With this new global focus came a decline in the skimpy and scandalous modern bikini, and the rebirth of the one piece and simpler swimwear designs created to cover. This shift in society and design however opened up a whole new world of variants of modern swimwear. Which in turn, gave women more room to play around and strut their stuff in equally cute and sexy designs; ultimately continuing to empower them in different ways. From the tankini to the monokini we could use fashion to explore ourselves and what we loved best about our bodies. We’d had ruffles, suspenders, straps and daring cut outs. In the end, it wasn’t about how many designs we could play with, but the ways in which we could express ourselves.
Marilyn Monroe wearing a high-waisted bikini
It’s upsetting to think how women were relentlessly oppressed and ridiculed for wanting freedom. Freedom of expression and creativity.Freedom to vote, to make our own important decisions.It’s strange that our bodies once held such power over the opinions people and society had of us. That a little extra skin on the beach could cause such an uproar; that those who wore a bikini were indecent and undeserving of basic respect is an almost non-existent thought in our modern society. But that was the reality of being a woman of that time wanting freedom. And though our views have matured and expanded over the last 70 years, it’s strange to think that to this day, women still face body shaming and belittlement when it comes to bearing their charms. Either your bathing suit is too skimpy or too conservative. You’re too chubby for that bikini or your hips are too wide for that one piece. You aren’t curvy enough to wear a high waisted bathing suit, or your breasts are too big for that top. Yes, us women have still continued to rise together, to empower each other and the world in accepting our individual and beautiful quirks. But we are far from the goal of truly accepting each other, and ultimately ourselves.
Evelyn Eugene Turner wearing one of Renard’s designs, 1955
The modern bikini was a call to action for all women, those in the past and us of the future to cut down the barriers that we and an oppressive society had built around ourselves. Reard helped us to break our chains by showing us we were much more than our curves, and yet could still honour our female form with confidence and liberty. Our voices never wavered in the quest to fearlessly bear our beauty and Reard’s was among the loudest of us to sing in the rebellion. Keep singing. Dive fearlessly, eyes open, into the sea of femininity. In your favourite bikini, of course.
Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and Beverly Peele. Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Vogue, May 1992
Sri Lanka is one of the most pinnacle countries that comes to mind when we dream of our next trip to a place where we can immerse ourselves in exotic wonder. This country is enriched with a culture that spans thousands of years and embedded within that is a deep connection to spirituality and the environment; from natural wildlife, tea and cinnamon plantations, and lush palm trees taller than the eye can see. Nestled in this paradise is a sustainable hotel with a core message and way of operating that jives with AMARA’s own modus operandi in living a clean lifestyle on both a spiritual and physical level- Tri Lanka.
Robert Drummond is the designer and owner of Tri Lanka, who worked closely with architects to build this dream into a reality over two and half years ago. By chance, I met with Robert and he spoke so authentically about his desire to commit to a sustainable design. He also creatively built his vision from living on the land in a mud hut for years before committing to manifesting his dreamy design. Tri Lanka is owned by a beautiful humble human who brings minimalist design, sensory experiences in nature and travel moments that are eco-chic in the most spectacular way possible. In Robert’s own words, his manifesto behind Tri Lanka is as follows:
“Create more, consume less; embrace every opportunity to learn and improve; be innovative and committed; inspire others to positive change; always look to nature – that is our philosophy”
Tri- Lanka’s eco-philosophy is where sustainability meets luxury. By offering us new ideas and ways to be conscious of how we travel and integrating those aspects into our daily lives back home in order to continue a pattern of mindfulness and care for the environment. For travelers interested in visiting destinations where a focus on being eco and spiritually friendly is present and a common practice, Tri Lanka is one of loveliest eco boutique properties to explore.
Sustainability is not only part of the building process. Since the beginning, avoiding plastic consumption in every possible way to reduce the use of plastic and single-use materials in the daily runnings of the hotel is the mandate. Two of the largest world polluters are completely absent and replaced with long-term eco solutions. Plastic straws and plastic bottles have never been used and creative solutions are consumed continually. Bamboo trees on the property are the clever solution for straws in drinks and a delight to enjoy any cool beverage. Drinkable water is produced on the property by a water filtration system, as well as reusable glass bottles. The result- fresh tasty elixirs in cute, eco-friendly glasses and straws.
Building Tri Lanka practices principles of sustainability in real terms. All building materials are Sri Lankan and every possible measure was taken to source local materials to build with and avoid importing from other countries in order to minimize impact. Recycled jack wood from jackfruit trees is sourced for all windows, door frames, wooden cupboards, and all structural wood. The gorgeous blue wall panels in the poolside lounge area is all recycled wood with tints of various aqua blues that one would think have been painted, yet these pastels are from found wood that has been stripped down.
Tri Lanka is a full sensory experience; harmony in nature, minimalist geometry and symmetry culminate together throughout the property. Here, one truly feels transported into surroundings of calm and peacefulness. At Tri Lanka, you are among the presence of a myriad of plants, trees, animals, and over 51 species of birds that live in harmony and freely on this land. Peppered along the property are natural herbs; you can pluck a piece of lemongrass or rub down a piece of cinnamon wood which is some of the freshest cinnamon you will ever encounter. Walking around the property in the presence of cashew, mango and jackfruit trees, coconut and tea all inhabit this lush green ecosystem – a tasty paradise.
The golden ratio was the code in which all decisions and planning were based on. No trees were disturbed in the building of any of the 11 spaces where guests can stay. On top of every villa is a green roof to invite the species that may have been slightly disrupted in the building of the properties back into the landscape. Living walls, green roofs, 100 percent recycled wood and entirely local materials unify accommodations with the extraordinary landscape.
Although staying on Tea Plantations is a familiar landscape on one’s journey through Sri Lanka, Tri Lanka is a unique location in that it offers guests the experience of staying on an old cinnamon plantation. Considering Sri Lanka exports 90 percent of the world’s cinnamon, staying on a repurposed cinnamon plantation offers guests a different perspective of the local history. The cinnamon trees are ever present while the older cinnamon wood is repurposed into the design on the external surface of all the buildings.
During my stay, I was able to enjoy the water towers in which the entire surface is cinnamon sticks and I loved the symmetry and circular designs of the external building and within the room itself. Outside the round tower building, fractions of light stream through the 360-degree panoramic view from your room. Cinnamon sticks frame the outside structure, green leafy vines peak through and this creates the most playful light coming through the windows in the room with views of both sunrise and sunset. The rooftop patio offers windy breezes, dreamy sunsets and gorgeous landscapes to savour.
The famous IG pool may draw you into Tri Lanka initially, certainly, these travel photos inspired my journey to visit. Yet as you immerse yourself further into this landscape, the quiet secluded inland spot with the largest lake in Sri Lanka whisks you away to an unforgettable space of ease and tranquility.
The beautiful pool of symmetry and grace is by far one of the best pools I have ever swam in. The soft reflection of the single palm tree is a famous photo that is spread all over Instagram accounts of influencers and travelers of leisure. Yet diving into this pool is where the real magic and sensory experience can be found. Divided into four gradual levels of depth mirroring the landscape beside the pool, you can swim into the deep eight-foot depth. Every detail is complimentary, the tile gives this natural feeling, unlike any other pool. Plus the deep end in night gradually fades into darkness with varying degrees of light. The palm trees strong presence perfectly reflects into the pool waters. This pool has one of the only imported materials, a special tile made in Bali called Sukumbi, a Balinese cement tile, which was selected for the natural feeling it gives in texture, light, and sensation when swimming.
For vagabonds and worldly travelers looking saturate their mind, body, and spirit in natural beauty, I highly recommend visiting. You’ll have the best experience there during offseason on the Southern Coast, during June or July as this is when the property is the least crowded and room prices are lowest. This is the monsoon season in Sri Lanka however aside from some showers and winds, it’s a lovely and peaceful time to visit. Take a chance, see the world and the beauty it is covered with.