Swish Suits

Eco. Technical. Apparel for women in the water

eco wetsuits

Sharkwater Creator and Evironmental Champion Rob Stewart Sports his Swish!

General, Eco Tips and Environmentswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

Creator of the revoluionary must see documentary, Sharkwater, Rob Stewart is more than a cute documentarian, he is in essence a revolution starter. His brilliant videography takes us on a global crusade to end shark finning. We at Swish LOVED this Sharkwater. We loved it so much that Victoria flew down to Mexico to give him a custom made Swish free diving suit in 2010 while he was filming whale sharks off the coast of Cozumel.

Swish Suits                       Swish Suits

Fabulous, all fabulous! Rob's film helped spark world wide pressure and movements to ban shark finning all over the globe. Rob traveled so much speaking about ocean conservation that until this last year he had not been diving in over four years! But he recently got back into his Swish Suit long enough to film his newest documentary Revolution co directed by Gus Van Sant.

 

Swish Suits

Rob is an ecological warrior and also a family friend for years of ours, but what excites us most here at Swish is the growing popularity of being eco we see in the Revolution movement. We often get asked why our suits are so expensive. Besides being the only women's wetsuits that are eco and made in North America, our suits are so expensive because we choose to invest in the future. And because we refuse to make crap. Because we choose mother nature over profit. Because, ultimately, we choose you. Swish Suits

I spent about 5 years traveling the world teaching scuba diving and documenting reef ecology after university from 2008-2013. It literally hurt my soul to watch ecologists get on the news talking about the devastation of giant oil spills wearing wetsuits made from petrol. We are so uninformed about what we put on or in our bodies. So I searched around Asia for two years until I found Yamamoto neoprene which produces neoprene from limestone instead of petrol. I then designed suits in over three different continents before I brought it to the USA. We are currently the only wetsuits made exclusively for women in the USA using this revolutionary material. Our suits are also the sexiest out there on the market and Yamamoto neoprene is known to be the best performance neoprene globally. We pride ourselves as being Eco, Sexy, and High Performance. Despite pressure we will not yield and make anything else lower cost/less eco despite a possibly larger market share. We will never.

We need more revolution, more caring, more responsibility to pay to clean up our environment. And this must happen now or we might not have an environment to save. The UN is predicting by 2048 there will not be anymore coral reefs left. Watch Rob Stewart's documentary, buy an eco wetsuit, stop eating meat, donate to Sea Shepard . Be willing to pay for eco products and stand for our Mother Earth!

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Dolphin Wakeboarding?

Active Lifestyleswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

A new sport? We all wish! We met the lovely and free-spirited Rachel Callhan and her Pro-Leezure crew in the Bahmas in 2012. The Pro-Leezure Crew, which consisted of Rachel and her boyfriend Grom Gormley also a pro kiter and their friend and captain Gary Rhodes . The crew was sailing where the wind may lead them for however long they felt like it trading kite lessons for food or any supplies they might need. We were fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of one of those lessons.  We soon knew we needed to sponsor her wish Swish!

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Rachel is now also a National Team rider for Best Kiteboarding.

Swish Suits
Swish Suits

We keep up with all her competition winnings but perhaps the most amazing thing we have ever seen from Rachel is her magical YouTube video gone viral with 8 million views of her wake boarding with dolphins! What a cool chick, Rachel.

Want more Swish: @SwishSuits, Swish Suits FB, and @Swish_Suits

Death Swim, Swish Chicago Headquarters, and Wild Man Jesse Levin!

Active Lifestyleswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

It is officially 7:30 am, cloudy as always in the great north city that is Chicago, and I am awake. Not only awake but already working. Why? Gasp! Would a Swish girl be awake working at such an hour? Ok, maybe awake to surf or yoga but work? What is happening to me here at home? "Chelsea Berg" "Swish Suits"

Never fear friends! I am not afraid of turning into an overachiever. I think I will always be more partial to a laid back vibe than trying too hard at anything. Typical Swish beach bummage dies hard and all that. I am awake now (but will be taking a siesta shortly despite best efforts in an hour or so for sure) as I want to record my morning. What could you call it....experience? More like minor cardiac arrest, a state that I never thought about experiencing rocking through my body. The descriptive words are due to escape me, hence the 7:30 accounting.

So, I swam in Chicago's great Lake Michigan this morning at 5:30 am with the wild man, Jesse Levin. I know Jesse as he is the Senior Cultural Chameleon for Brooklyn Boulders. A rock climbing gym from obviously Brooklyn, NY that is opening in Chicago's West Loop that promises to "offer progressive climbing and fitness experiences while providing an unconventional platform to bring the arts, music, and entrepreneurial communities together." Anyone else excited? So BKB Chicago is still being built and Jesse has been sent here as a Chicago neophyte to break the trail for BKB Chicago. I am still not sure despite spending a tortuous and lovely (perhaps a Jesse specialty?) morning with this community master if his 5:30 am habit of swimming in Lake Michigan in temperatures that only this weekend he claims have gotten warm at a breezy tropical like temp of 17 degrees Celsius (or 63 degrees F for you true Americans), can be called normality for him or spawn from new city boredom. He mentioned over much needed coffee at pretty much the only place open at 6 am after our "swim" that he is pro-gun due to all his time spent running disaster relief programs in Haiti, so I think we can all come to the conclusion that swimming in a freezing lake is perhaps more on the normalcy scale than not for my new friend.

"Jesse Levin" "Swish Suits" "Brooklyn Boulders Chicago"

I got back to Chicago from Miami last week and had texted Jesse to see if he wanted to grab lunch to which he responded, "sure but how about a swim?" I had seen Jesse's "swims" on FB posts and dubbed them in my mind more as "polar soul sucking vortex half drownings." Crazy bastard I would laugh. Oh god, did he mean to ask me to join in one of those? Uff, my hands immediately started to sweat and I loudly announced to my father and sister in the throws of morning coffee Jesse's crazy idea for tropical me. My father told me to "not die" which I thought was ludicrous until I googled findings and indeed two swimmers had just died a couple Wednesdays earlier of hypothermia that takes only minutes to set in in water of this temperature. Now I was not just dreading this, I was actually a little afraid. To put this in perspective though, for those of you that know me, I have accumulated an easy 3,000 submerged hours in the water teaching and otherwise. But all in tropical waters. The coldest water I have experienced was during my brief stint in Egypt working on liveaboards with water about 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 F) and the Cenotes in Mexico get about 24 degrees (75.2 F). 17 C (62 F) was going to be a whole other journey...But I own a wetsuit company so how can one say no? So I said yes and then let it plague me my weekend forward.

The night before our jaunt I had not heard from Jesse and maybe saw glimmers of hope I might be freed of this death swim when I broke down and texted him at 10 pm. Shoot, we were on. I got a text within a few minutes telling me an insulated swimming cap is a good idea. Apparently Jesse swims in nothing else but a cap and swim trucks. Are you starting to get a picture of this man? Needless to say, I had some splotchy sleep and even my dog was not excited to wake up at 5 am. At 5 am this morning Chicago was already a nice balmy grey 54 degrees F so I was already cold coming from Miami and all. I hop into Jesse's car and the vibe is great, I am feeling better. We arrive after a winding trip as I am not sure where we are trying to get to and Jesse is unsure where we are going period. I put on my Swish Wetsuit (www.swishsuits.com) and I see the gorgeous downtown Chicago skyline, the cloudy morning rising over the Drake Hotel. I start feeling jazz music and cognac curse through my veins (I mean I am deep down from here after all). I start to actually get a little excited about this and then......

"wetsuit" "womens-wetsuit" "swish suits" "chelsea berg"

"I refuse to put my face in, I refuse to put my face in, I refuse to put my face in." I just could not feel my arms, like I know they were supposed to be moving but I couldn't see them move and believe me my face was above water water so I could see them. Then they pretty much stopped moving all on their own. Pinching, what is pinching me? I am getting pinched, put your face in the water Chelsea dammit, move your arms, pinching ouch pinching, I cannot breath, like wow I cannot breath. Is this the beginnings of hypothermia, it is, I know it is. The breathing, why is air not going into my lungs, because at this point I could actually feel my lungs. Every breath entering my lungs felt like getting your tongue frozen to ice. And brain freeze, I had the worst brain freeze of my life, but not in my brain (as I could not bring myself to put my head in the water) but in my heart. I had heart freeze. My heart so far from my Swish tropical waters had just given up. I felt it shrink up to a hard little ball and start moving up to my throat in efforts to escape the cold I can only imagine. And then I was doggie paddling....oh how the mighty have fallen. I actually pride myself on my aquatic abilities and though never have I been much of a swimmer, I can and have knocked out a mile of swimming a few times in my life with moderate effort. But this, this was the beginning of death I am sure. Poor Jesse, I am sorry my friend. After probably 2 minutes maximum I had made it from one lake ladder to the next and I was toast. I shame faced paddled over and got out of the death water. I could tell Jesse was a little disappointed the great Swish CEO and mermaid extraordinare had made it maybe 3 feet as he had a lot more death swimming in him but he was oh so very nice about my failure.

And you know what the truly astonishing and slightly sick part of this all is? I will be back. Maybe it is the mermaid in me that never fails in the water, but something in my death swim struck a cord and I want more. How? I do not know and I am already dreading it. But I will be back Lake Michigan my friend.....I will be back. So you said Saturday Jesse? Any takers?

Going Green Swish Style is a Form of LOVE: How and why in the face of the trillion dollar fashion industry's wastefulness, we at Swish cultivate and express our personal eco-consciousness

Eco Tips and Environmentswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

In an article by Beth Greer in July for the Huffington Post, it is stated that “poor working conditions, minimal environmental regulations, and child and slave labor are commonplace in the $1 trillion garment industry.” One of the largest problems, perhaps arguably the industry's problem period, is us consumers and our attitudes toward fashion and our apparel. We buy and buy to stay “in fashion” and on top of recent trends. In this way, here at Swish, we have sought to first change our own behaviour on a personal level.

 

Swish Ladies Take “Less is More” Pretty Seriously

Obviously being an apparel company, us Swish ladies are and have always been pretty into fashion. But being into fashion for us does not always translate to buying the newest Chanel (in fact I have only bought one designer bag in my life, an Louis Vuitton last year), it may be as simple as cutting up an old H&M shirt. One of our most basic concepts is to buy only items that we LOVE in effort to cut down on the amount we own and our closet turnover (using the bag example further, I have literally three bags: my large everyday amazing LV bag, a small dinner or night out over the shoulder Juicy Couture purse, and a super large oversized beach/all around adventure over the should bag recycled from old kiteboarding kites, this one is my favourite actually).

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(This bag was a gift from the Pro Kiter, Swish Team Member, and all around cool chica, Jessika Winkler, check her out!)

This “less is more” attitude was one of the founding concepts behind our ONE Line. The ONE Line is aptly named as such as you only need one article of the ONE Line to use in the gym, to grab coffee with your friend, or paddle board in the ocean! By making our ONE Line items multipurpose and high performance, you need fewer items in your closet, and we manufacturers need not make three items where one will suffice. A little more about why we love being eco.

We Love Water

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Sadly, it was reported in 2012 that “an estimated 17 to 20% of industrial water pollutioncomes from textile dyeing and treatment and an estimated 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used throughout the world to turn raw materials into textiles, many of which will be released into freshwater source,” The Guardian Sustainable Business. It is an interesting question for us here at Swish though, we are an aquatic company and we are using water to produce products for the water. To combat this, we have taken the following steps within our Swish machine:

 

1) All ONE Line and Swish Design Studio's (SDS) materials are located produced and sourced, we do not import anything we use in our Playa del Carmen factory.

 

2) All ONE Line and the SDS's products are locally made by Mexicans, our two factories here are family owned and operated and employ fair trade Mayan and Mexican labour.

 

3) All hangtags and any printing are made from recycled paper.

 

4) All wash care/size labels are made from fabric leftovers from other products.

 

5) The ONE Line principal of you need only ONE means less buying, fewer garments made, less waste produced.

 

6) Our wetsuits are Yamamoto neoprene which is made to order in Japan, meaning the all orders are custom and there is less waste in neoprene made that may sit there and need to be thrown out.

 

7) All our YKK zippers on our products are recycled YKKs.

8) Swish does not distribute printed materials of any kind and ALL business is done electronically.

9) Our internal business structure is global without our physical office presence, meaning less waste and overhead. We communicate via Skype and everything is electronic. We have our office headquarters and our business Swish investor Carolyn in Chicago, a fulfillment centre in Rockford, IL, our wetsuit factory is in Vancouver, CA, our SDS's two factories and offices are in Playa del Carmen, MX, our IT and web designer is based in Germany, and my other Swish Business parter, our South Pacific director and Swish Life Blogger Victoria lives in Thailand

Yamamoto Neoprene: Does being made from Limestone make our wetsuits eco?

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There is some debate out there about companies calling themselves eco and green, when perhaps they are not fully. We here at Swish think this is deprecating and that all companies making any efforts at all to be more gentle in their environmental impact should be celebrated and rewarded! This leads me to the current debate around Yamamoto neoprene and its being a more Eco-consious choice of neoprene. Most of you out there reading this probably already know that we here at Swish use only Yamamoto neoprene, neoprene that is famous for being made from limestone instead of typical neoprene which is made from petrol. Aside from the irrefutable fact that any product not contributing to the oil industry is inherently more eco, limestone mining still uses oil dependent machines and limestone is still a non-renewable source. As Patagonia and Seventh Wave wetsuits put it, ultimately perhaps just using Yamamoto neoprene does not guarantee you are making a fully green wetsuit, but, we here at Swish sure as h$*$% see it as the only green alternative! A little more about Yamamoto neoprene revels that it is a more conscious choice of wetsuit material than its petrol brother:

  1. The limestone in Yamamoto neoprene is mined and heated at high temps, however, Yamamoto states that its production process uses one-tenth of the heat used in refining petroleum. Furthermore, this heat used is created by burning old used tires as well as hydroelectrically sourced from several locals dams. All heat waste is reused at a local eel nursery. Cool eh?
  2. Yamamoto neoprene is also warmer, for example our 3mm is warmer than any 4mm and is often still warmer than many 5mm suits out there. Because of the higher micro cell structure of limestone based neoprene, it means that less limestone and material is used to make the neoprene itself. Now what is not eco about that!
  3. Seventh Wave Wetsuits, make a great point in that since limestone based neoprene lasts 2-3 times longer than typical neoprene, it lowers wetsuit turnover rates and how many suits end up in landfills.
  4. Here is a little more about the material we use and love.

Eco is a Form of Love

To us Swish ladies, the whole concept of green and eco lies in our hearts. When you live the lifestyle that will demand the least you can from our earth, being eco is a mode of self expression! I am sitting here at a small family run cafe, I have with me one of my only three purses, my doggie, this macbook that I have had for 5 years, a glass used Voss water container I carry water around in, and my mode of transport which are my sandal-clad feet jeje! There are soooo many wonderful ways in which we can all do more with less, embrace it and get creative. Express your love and concern for our beautiful earth in your own unique way :).

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I bought a car this year, but since 2010 I used bike as my only means of transport, I used to bike from fabric market to our factory, to our silk screener a few times a day transporting all our ONE Line Items with me!

 

 

 

 

 

Janzu Water Massage: because us Mermaids like everything in the water the best!

Generalswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

It is no secret that we Swish mermaids love anything and everything water, so when I was offered an intro Janzu Water Massage as a birthday gift from the beautiful and earthy America Vega Pascual, owner and operator of Relaha, a Holistic Center here in Playa del Carmen, MX, I said “H*%!& Yes!” RelaHa specializes in Water Therapy Janzu Massage, Holistic Massage, Reflexology, and Reiki: Relaha

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(America Wearing her Swish Janzu Jacket in the Ocean of the Riviera Maya)

America had approached me weeks ago, asking if we at Swish could create special jackets for Janzu massage. I didn't know anything about Janzu massage expect that it was in the water. After researching for the making of America's Janzu jacket, I found that water is an amazing place for body therapy. The water not only slows down movement and makes one feel weightless, but the water acts as an isolation therapy, blocking all sound and allowing the patient to fully let go. Many go into a sort of meditative state. Janzu is often seen as a rebirthing therapy, with the water representing the amniotic fluid of the womb, America told me that the Janzu massage will penetrate and release layers of your being and to expect vivid dreams and more sensitivity the following days.

Janzu can be done in a pool or the ocean, the most important aspect is warm water as you will  be immobile.

(Janzu can be done in a pool or the ocean, the most important aspect is warm water as you will be immobile.)

I am personally OBSESSED with massages, I trade teaching a massage therapist's yoga classes in exchange for massage every couple of weeks, but no previous massage prepared me for what I experienced in my Janzu. I felt like I was in a cocoon, and felt a more lasting sleepiness than I ever had. Normally from massage, I will recover within 20 in or so and feel normal, but my Janzu wiped me out for the rest of the day and I slept better than I ever have. I had vivid dreams, perhaps of old things in my consciousness needing to be let go.

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(Beautiful America in her Swish ONE Line Jacket in Purple on the beaches of Playa del Carmen)

America describes Janzu as “the art of letting go and learning to flow, to trust, and to connect with the source and know that everything is going to be ok and life has your back.” I certainly felt like America had my back during my massage with her amazing energy :)! I would recommend Janzu to anyone, and especially to you water lovers out there!

For more info on Janzu and/or holistic centers and therapies in Playa del Carmen please contact America here: vpa1012@gmail.com.

For info on ordering your own Janzu Massage Swish Jacket made exclusively for Janzu, please contact: chelsea@swishsuits.com.

 

 

Swish Eco Tip of the Month: Being Green at the Office

Eco Tips and Environmentswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

Hello all, I used to be lucky enough to have my office be the ocean; however, at the moment I am in our headquarters in Chicago.  Now, I have written several articles on ocean conservation and what not, so I thought that this month's eco tip could be on how to keep it green in corporate land if like me you are stuck inside dreaming about the ocean ;)

View from my office at the moment. . .

1) Go Paperless

Who wants the clutter anyways? Many people are now using electronic signatures or digitally encrypted signatures.  If you do a bit of research or ask the IT department, you can start doing this too. I am also a huge fan of scanning instead of faxing, and keeping everything organized in dropbox for easy sharing! Poof! Papers be gone!

2) Bring Food From Home

Eating out can mean plastic containers and food from unsustainable sources.  Making an effort to bring your food from home can not only cut down on waste, but eliminate unsustainable food sources from your diet!  I am a big fan of glass containers as they microwave easily and are very durable.

3) Ditch the Car

Walking or biking to work is a great way to get exercise.  Bring a book with you on the metro and enrich your mind.  Carpool and get to know someone better.  Ditching the car is good for you and the environment!

View from our ocean office!

I hope to see you all in our ocean office someday soon!

We're back! Same Swish but easier on your wallet!

Sexy and Fashionswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

Always wanted a Swish Suit but worried about the strain on your poor wallet? Well rejoice my swish ladies! Chelsea and I love you all so much that we have lowered out prices. That right, the same great swish suit, but lower prices! Order yours here at http://swishsuits.com/collections/womens-wetsuits But hurry, hurry, hurry, because we have just come back in stock and quantities are limited. So get your swish on today!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hefbp-S8P8[/youtube]

Women's full suit:

Was: $450

Now: $400

Women's shorty suit:

Was $350

Now: $325

Women's Jacket

Was: $250

Now: $225

 

Cave Diving in Song Hong with Ban's Tec

Generalswishreboot@solomongiles.com2 Comments

In September of 2011, I journeyed to Thung Yi, Thailand with a team of three other technical divers form Ban's Technical Diving (www.banstec.com).  Thung Yi is home to the big sinkhole of Song Hong which has become a prime cave diving location in Thailand due to it's depth and penetration distances. The site consists of two ponds, one big and one small. These ponds are can be traversed by survey lines at 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 meters. Complex circuits can also be completed at these depths, depending on the divers certifications.

 

I teamed up with my old friend, Craig Werger who now runs Ban's Tec, in order to do some fun diving in this big dark hole! We took it easy on the first day completing the 30 m circuit. As the days progressed, so did our dives until we hit the 40m traverse. Song Hong is very deep and very dark as it is freshwater. It also has no discernible floor. This can cause many divers to feel the effects of nitrogen narcosis and disorientation, therefore it is important to complete your cave training and to dive within your limits. That being said Song Hong is a fantastic dive in an overhead environment. It is mythically spooky, but in a good way. I felt a little bit like India Jones, or maybe a Ghostbuster.   For more information on the dives please watch "The Hydronauts of Song Hong" attached below.

The dives were excellent as Ban's Tec really knows their way around this cave system and takes extra time planning the dives with their clients so that they are comfortable with the cave layout and plan as well. Ban's Tec applies the latest tested techniques to cave diving, moving away from the old boy's school mentality that has been in place in certain areas of South East Asia, creating an enjoyable safe environment for cave diving in Thailand.

The town of Thung Yi (meaning big bag, or big field) is an interesting backdrop to cave diving. Locals will happily educate you on the creatures that live within the caves (dragons, a pale women, other creatures) and tell you ways to avoid being taken captive. The town is friendly and people will often drop by to check out what is going on.

I loved my time spent at Song Hong. The diving is very different from that of the Mexican Cenotes, and it was a great challenge. I hope return in the near future.

Now for Ban's Tec's latest video. . . "The Hydronauts of Song Hong"

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZhiOmjkd_M[/youtube]

 

 

Swish Suits Eco Tip of the Month: Detoxify your cosmetics!

Generalswishreboot@solomongiles.com3 Comments

We love looking nice here at Swish Suits, and I know most women do too. I think you would be hard pressed to find any women that would part ways with all of her cosmetics. That being said, do you know how many toxic chemicals are in your shower kit? Your makeup bag? Your perfume? And what about all these products do you use them all? This month's eco tip revolves around greening up your cosmetics, making beauty healthier for you and better for the environment.

Tip One: Simplfy!

Start by heading to your bathroom. Now throw out anything that you do not use or that is expired. As you are throwing things out think about why you do not use them and be sure not to buy them again.

Tip Two: Go Au Natural

Give yourself a break. You do not have to be made up all the time. Do you really need the a;; makeup, or the fragerence everyday? I am guessing you are pretty beautiful as is.

Tip Three: Choose natural

Many cosmetics are made from chemicals that are harmful to ourselves and the environment, yet we slather them on everyday! (ie deoderant) Choose products that are all natural. They will probably smell better than your perfume anyways. One product that I love is coconut oil. I use it as a deep conditioner and a moisturizer. The lovely nutty smell always lingers too!

Now breath in deep. Ahhhh! Don't you feel better with less clutter and less chemicals? Your body will thank you in the long run. So will the environment!

Xoxo.

 

Swish Suits Escape to Tulum

Generalswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

There are certain places in the world that are magical and that can make you feel whole and reborn after spending some time there. My spot is Tulum. Whenever things get to be a bit much in Playa del Carmen, I hop on the collectivo and speed down the highway to my bourgeois hippie beach getaway.

The last time I went I was lucky enough to be able to share the moment with two people I love which made it even more special.

Tulum is known as one of the most pristine beaches in the world. This is due to the community in Tulum which has prevented the build up of the coastline.

Be sure to check out our latest video of my holiday trip in Tulum below!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twaLJJ2W1-k[/youtube]