A constant challenge for many marine scientists is to effectively communicate their findings to the general public. Frustrated with the conventional methods of peer-reviewed journals to share scientific findings, a small group of ocean science graduate students at the University of Miami’s Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science started to bring the eco-advocate apparel brand, Waterlust, to life.
Waterlust started as an experimental project using film and photography to engage the public with marine science in a fun and informative way on online media. With more “likes” and “shares” the team was inspired to keep thinking outside of the box. They understood that while communicating science through media is powerful, the endless scrolling of the digital world is fleeting and they wanted to create something with a more personal and longer lasting connection.
Leading with the idea that the clothing you wear can make an impression on those around you and start a conversation, they decided to create a vibrant, environmentally responsible clothing line that visually represents various marine and freshwater science conservation topics, such as whale shark, sea turtle and spotted eagle ray research and abalone and coral reef restoration.
Essentially, by wearing Waterlust’s sun suits, boardshorts, leggings or tops, you become a walking, talking, scuba diving, swimming (or whatever your activity is) advocate for the marine environment and its turtlely-awesome inhabitants.
For each design, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to leading research and education organizations doing relevant and impactful work, along with sharing their findings. The Marine Megafauna Foundation, Marine Turtle Research, Ecology and Conservation Group and Debris Free Oceans are only some of the dedicated organizations they support and the list continues to grow.
While the team at Waterlust has a strong desire to advocate for our oceans and the science done to protect it, they also have a passion for minimizing the environmental impact of clothing and are completely transparent about the benefits and drawbacks of every product.
Their advocate apparel is made of Repreve® RPET aka recycled polyester made from post-consumer plastic bottles. Also, with 40% of the plastic manufactured worldwide being used for packaging alone (which is used once then thrown away), Waterlust reduces their impact by packaging their orders using eco-responsible materials that can be recycled or are biodegradable.
Waterlust is also well aware that the longer a piece of clothing can serve you, the less it will have to be replaced, which significantly reduces its environmental costs, so they believe in quality. Their clothing is chlorine, sun, saltwater and sunscreen resistance and have UPF ratings up to 50+, which is the maximum rating achievable.
From making everything in house and many late nights and frozen pizzas, this small-family run business has grown substantially and continues to be motivated and inspired by like minded and passionate customers, the scientists they support and undoubtedly the marine environment, animals and ecosystems they want to help protect.