From Bottles to Models: Fair Harbor Turns Plastic Into Board Shorts

©. Fair Harbor

Looking for an eco-friendly bathing suit this summer? Check out this US-based company owned by two young siblings.

Fair Harbor is an American company that makes men's swim trunks out of old plastic water bottles. Each pair of shorts uses 11 bottles, which are shredded, spun, and woven into fabric, blended with organic cotton and spandex, then stitched to make these durable yet incredibly soft and stylish shorts.

The company was established by a young brother-sister team, Jake and Caroline Danehy, who spent their childhood summers in the small seaside community of Fair Harbor on Fire Island in New York State. Curiously, Fair Harbor is a 'barefoot' community, where no cars are allowed and bicycles are the only mode of transportation. The Danehy siblings grew up playing in the sand and surfing the Atlantic waves.

Danehy siblings

© Fair Harbor -- Caroline and Jake Danehy

While Jake was working toward a geography degree at Colgate University, he learned about the severity of ocean plastic pollution. He became inspired to create a consumer product that would help clean the seas and also encourage people to get outdoors to enjoy the waves. Together with his sister Caroline, who loves fashion and was still in high school at the time, the idea for the Fair Harbor brand was born.

The company was supported by Colgate's entrepreneurship program and a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $25,000 (on a $11,000 initial goal). It has received guidance from Brooklyn Fashion & Design Accelerator. Now Jake has finished school, and running the company is his full-time job. Caroline is juggling college and entrepreneurship.

Fair Harbor board shorts

Fair Harbor -- A few of the shorts on offer/Screen capture

Here at TreeHugger, we have mixed feelings about the use of polyester in general. Obviously a recycled fabric is better than non-recycled, but synthetic fabrics are notorious for being unable to biodegrade over time and for releasing microfibers into water when washed. We prefer to advocate for natural fibers, although in the case of swim wear, it does make sense to opt for a synthetic material.

The shorts are sold online; however, there are some stores along the Eastern Seaboard that stock Fair Harbor products. Visit the website here.