Meet Jess from Hakuna Wear – Swimwear with a pocket full of empowerment
Jessica Boynton is a surfer, a designer, and a PhD chemist with a small, sustainably swimwear brand called Hakuna Wear. Ethically sourced and sustainably made in San Diego, California. Jess wanted to tell us a bit more about the process of staring Hakuna and her hopes for a more collaborative, sustainable industry. She also gave all Still Stoked readers 10% off any Hakuna Wear with code STILLSTOKED10.
As an artist and a scientist, I am always thinking of new ways to innovate. When I go shopping I usually have something in mind that I am looking for and if I don’t find it, whether it be the style, the fabric, or the price, I find myself sitting down designing what I wish was offered and making it myself. Hakuna Wear started in a similar fashion.
On my first tropical surf trip, I packed all my bikinis from the top surf brands. The waves were perfect, overheard, not too punchy but not mushy either. When we would go surf, my boyfriend had to pack some money and sunscreen in his board shorts to pay for the boat ride and our hotel key because I didn’t have any pockets. During our sesh, my bottoms would come down on every duck dive. I couldn’t help but think to myself, what would I do as a solo female traveler? Pretty unempowering.
Get 10% off any Hakuna Wear with code STILLSTOKED10
To say the least, I was pretty disappointed, when I got back, I searched online and found some awesome independent surf brands for inspiration but didn’t feel any of them met all of my needs. Seea came the closest and their success made me realize that there was definitely a market and a need for this type of active innovative swimwear.
The truth is, there is no truly sustainable fashion, we can only attempt to try not to create new materials by recycling and up-cycling, buy high quality, and take care of the things we have so we don’t buy new.
When I design I focus on a couple of things: flattering and comfortable for the wearer, staying on even in overhead surf, and somewhere to put your car key, hotel key, snack, some money or sunscreen. Then we try to source recycled materials or materials that are less impactful to the environment. The truth is, there is no truly sustainable fashion, we can only attempt to try not to create new materials by recycling and up-cycling, buy high quality, and take care of the things we have so we don’t buy new. At Hakuna Wear, we have a “ding repair policy” so we can keep your suit in your closet and out of the trash as long as possible.
Every time someone tells me that they feel more comfortable in their skin because of their swimsuit it makes all the long hours worth it.
It’s definitely not an easy industry to be in. Manufacturing costs are high and there is risk of investing in inventory that you can’t sell. There are new brands popping up all the time, often manufacturing overseas so their prices can be a lot cheaper. We love the idea of moving production overseas and contributing to a global economy but don’t want to do so until we can guarantee fair trade practices.
What I really envision for Hakuna Wear is bringing all of these amazing women who want to make a difference in women’s swimwear together to form a community. There are so many ideas out there and so many amazing business owners and innovations. I wish it didn’t feel like we were competing with each other because we would make a better team. That is also the reason we are always searching to do collaborations.
We just started the brand in 2018, we are based out of our garage right now and I am still working at my day job, but our vision is big and exciting! It’s a marathon, not a sprint and we are excited to watch the growth and adapt to the market as we go. The most important thing is that personally I have never been happy while working, it feels amazing to know that I am working for my dream. Every time someone tells me that they feel more comfortable in their skin because of their swimsuit it makes all the long hours worth it.
Check out Hakuna Wear and their range of Yulex and Limestone Neoprene surf suits and surf bikinis made from recycled plastics. Their suits are shipped out of San Diego, Califonia. Available worldwide. Remember use code STILLSTOKED10 and get 10% off.