Anowi is a sophisticated-fun active swimwear brand for salt water loving ladies. Stylish and functional, designed by a woman surfer for women surfers.Go to brand website
|Made of Recycled Materials Sustainably Made||2|
People & Animals
|Woman Owned Business Made in USA||2|
|Saves Energy & Water||1|
Iwona Kapcia fell in love with surfing while visiting her sister in New Zealand and when she came back to NY, she knew it was something she wanted to pursue. It wasn’t long before she took lessons with Locals Surf School in Rockaway. “It completely changed my life and I did not expect it,” she said. However, it would change her life in more ways than one. Through surfing, Kapcia met her partner, David Sierra, who owns Sierra School on Beach 65th. It would also play a big role in her career as a fashion designer.
Kapcia, now an avid surfer, just had one issue with the sport—the outerwear. The sport that was once male-dominated, now has many more females riding the waves. Kapcia soon realized that she had a calling to make swimwear functional, comfortable and fashionable for female surfers. “I first wanted something that truly stays on since I’ve had a few bathing suit malfunctions,” Kapcia explained. So she started designing surf wear that would make woman feel comfortable in and out of the water—Anowi Surfwear. “Wearing the wrong swimwear or clothing can actually limit your flexibility and range of motion,” says Kim Perry, a North Carolina native, a surf instructor and ambassador for Anowi. “Surfing is like doing yoga and dancing all at once.
When it came to design, Kapcia wanted to make sure her clothing was comfortable, flattering, functional and eco-friendly. Anowi Surfwear can be used for surfing, yoga or just your daily activities. The collection includes four pieces—rash guards, leggings, bikini bottoms and tops—that you can mix and match with the different styles and designs. “I think the patterns and designs are also flattering for many body types, and this is awesome because us surfer gals come in all shapes and sizes,” Perry said. The Second Skin Surf Leggings give coverage from sunburn and are a nice alternative to a bikini bottom. They even have a back pocket where you can store a small sunscreen, plus a band inside to tie your key for safe keeping. Another option is the High Leg Surf Bikini Bottoms that won’t fall off or ride up into places you don’t want. The Beach 67 Surf Bikini Top, designed like a sports bra, and Second Skin Rash Guard also compliment the female figure. “The bikini top being a halter neck is great as you can't pop out of it. The long sleeve is good as well as it has thumb slits to keep the sleeves from rolling up,” surfer and Anowi client, Charlotte Ralphs said.
Being environmentally friendly also plays a big role in Kapcia’s company. The fabric used is spandex and polyester that is made from the yarn of recycled post-consumer products like plastic bottles. The manufacturer of this material is called REPREVE® which is made right here in the U.S. This high quality material helps reduce water consumption, energy consumption and greenhouse gases. Also, as an extra benefit, the material is certified to give UPF 50+ sun protection. “I feel so much better, personally and ethically, knowing I’m using sustainable materials,” Kapcia said.
“I wish that everything that was being produced today was produced as responsibly and sustainably as possible,” Linn Edfelt, a surfer and Anowi supporter from Sweden, said. “The fact that Anowi is produced from recycled materials and that the producer knows exactly who is making them (and that they are not people from poor countries, far away, who are being exploited) makes me respect and prefer Anowi even more.”
Living in NY and being so close to the Garment District, Kapcia wanted the clothes to be produced right here. The apparel is assembled with a four-person operation in Manhattan. As much clothing is outsourced from other countries, Kapcia wanted to give fellow New Yorkers the opportunity to produce the Anowi brand instead.
When it came down to the name, Kapcia went through some ideas. She soon decided on Anowi, which is Iwona, her first name spelled backwards. “My name backwards sounded Hawaiian,” she said with a laugh. It’s like my Hawaiian alter-ego.”
Anowi officially launched in March and has already caught the attention of female surfers and Kapcia hopes that others will give to sport a try. “You can learn at any age, and you never know, it might change your life,” she said with a smile.
Anowi Surfwear is an independent, woman-owned brand that was founded for active ladies that want swimwear that fits like a second skin, moves with you, covers but flatters a grown woman’s body and does it all with deep respect for the planet
Sustainability starts with creating a supply chain of local vendors to limit the environmental footprint related to shipping. All our materials and trims come from domestic suppliers, few of them get their product from China-bra cups and zippers, and Japan- elastics. Currently, we were not able to find suppliers that make these trims in location closer to us. However, everything else, from our fabric to packaging and marketing materials is made domestically.
We use upcycled fabric that we make from REPREVE® polyester fibres combined with spandex. This recycled fiber is made in North Carolina out of post consumer plastic bottles. The quality is the same as that of virgin polyester and it has the same chemical structure. Production of REPREVE® reduces energy consumption by 45%, water consumption by 20% and emission of green house gas by over 30% in comparison to that of virgin polyester. The fibres are sent to a mill in Los Angeles where the fabric is made.
Anowi Surfwear uses digital printing house located in Virginia- a water-less method- for solid colors as well as our prints. It is significantly more expensive to print fabric digitally, especially when it is done domestically. However, traditional methods of printing and dying fabric require polluting significant amounts of water. Considering the fact that fashion industry is one of the biggest water polluter in the world, it is good to choose a different route. Our fabric is tested for washability and fading so quality is always ensured. Our swimwear is produced in the heart of historic Garment District, NYC. A place that once used to be the biggest apparel production center in the country.Many factories went out of business after most of the retailers moved their production overseas in the early nineties. We work with Colorado based packaging company that makes high-quality packaging out of recycled materials. We chose their 100% recycled packaging materials and all of them, from the poly mailer to the sticker are also fully recyclable.
Despite the odds, there is still a good number of highly skilled manufacturers that survived this exodus by working with high-end labels that have smaller production runs and prefer to keep their production local.
We are working close with a manufacturer that specializes in swim and active wear. Thanks to keeping production local, we know every person involved in our production and we can ensure high quality workmanship that customers compliment us on.