Pala is delighted to introduce Riz – a sustainable swimwear brand that is as spirited and unique as the people for whom their shorts are designed. Riz are addressing the environmental impact of the fashion industry by producing their own uniquely styled, sustainable swimming shorts. Each pair is crafted from Eco-Friendly 100% recycled and recyclable fabric.
Sustainability, Substance and Style are the three core principles that underlie their philosophy. We speak to Founder and Creative Director, Riz Smith about the inspiration behind his brand and what’s next on the horizon for Riz.
I used to work for large swimwear and surf brands, designing watershorts, swimwear and all that stuff. So I was used to researching the market. It was generally either young, adrenaline-fueled boardshorts in crazy prints, elasticated ‘dad’ style shorts, or short, shiny, camp swimshorts. The idea for Riz came from a need. I was disillusioned by the creativity of big brands, how they did business and saw a gap for something better.
That’s a good question. I think one key difference is that we only make swim shorts, so we can pour all our attention into getting every element right. Another is experience- I have been designing swimwear for 15 years and am obsessive about detail. So hopefully our level of design is different from other brands. Another important factor is we try to source as sustainably as possible and are very aware of our impact on the environment.
I think currently, we are the only swim short brand to make every pair from 100% recycled and recyclable fabric as well as offer a recycling scheme, where you can return you old shorts at the end of their life for a discount on a new pair. I think we are also the only brand to digitally print every pair – allowing way more colour and beauty, and it’s also more eco. In general, it’s our passion for combining style and sustainability that sets apart I hope. But of course, it’s a journey.
It’s very important to us that everything we do is circular. Part of that is giving back to the environment. Our main business partner is the Marine Conservation Society, with £1 from the sale of very pair of shorts going directly to their amazing work. We also work with them on doing beach cleans. We are currently running a mission to create swimshorts made from plastic bottles collected off UK beaches and waterways which they are helping with. But we are also partnering with other small organisations such as Thames 21 and a whole list of individuals helping with this plastic journey. This is when the clichés come out, but it really is all about collaboration. Together we are stronger.
We’ve just started wholesaling the brand properly for the first time and so part of our plan is to grow a strong distribution globally. This is a super exciting, as the shorts will give to be sold in the environments they were designed to be worn in.
With the regards to this summer’s shorts, expect to see more prints with endangered species, ocean florals and some of our classics too. We’re also launching a new short, a fourth member to the family. This will be our shortest short yet. A tailored retro swim short. So its’s legs out.
If anyone is in London, we’re going to be starting monthly beach cleans along the Thames which will be great to build a community around this. We’re also looking to get a Pop-up shop in London this summer fingers crossed. The best way to find out where we’ll be though is by subscribing to the Riz Newsletter (link) that goes out every other Sunday.
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Felicia is our ‘camera ninja’ when it comes to photography for the Pala website. Hailing from Sweden, but now based close to the Pala Brighton HQ. When she’s not exercising her skills of mind control to make models relax on shoots you’ll find her in a cafe enjoying a good cup of coffee, or at home baking cinnamon buns.
Emma is our marketing guru. When Emma isn’t planning, strategizing and creating content, she can be found travelling the world exploring its wonders, or in more recent times – headphones on with a paintbrush in her hand creating an abstract masterpiece!
Mary is the team leader of the Care4basket project in Bolgatanga, Ghana. When Mary is not organising and supporting the work across the communities, you will find her sowing sweet potatoes, ground nut, millet and looking after the animals on the farm.
Izzy is our Sales and Comms mastermind. When Izzy isn’t throwing herself down a mountain on a snowboard, she can normally be found rummaging through vintage shops or pounding the fields with her beloved puppy, Mac. She once mislaid a finger on a night out (eek!) – girl knows how to party!
Justin is our ‘Film Alchemist’. When he’s not laying on the floor looking for the next shot he’s either exploring the finest bourbons and listening to obscure country music tracks from the 50s and 60s. Normally found planning his next trip abroad or fuelling the pineapple on pizza debate. Just so you know he’s firmly in the Hawaiian camp!