Updated: Apr 13
When Lee first showed me Riz board shorts, I was highly dubious. I am highly critical of brands that label themselves as eco or ethical, until I know more about the business. I am especially dubious of the plastic clothing movement, that is coming about as a result of the huge plastic pollution. We are learning more about the impact of plastic fibres that shed from our washing, and I mostly avoid buying polyester, unless it's necessary.
So I decided to investigate Riz board shorts a bit further, delving into their website. I wanted to get a feel for their ethos. Many ethical brands have beautiful websites with no real environmental credentials past the tagline.
You will have seen on our style section that I am both a firm believer in long lasting stylish clothing, that is ethical and slow. That can be upcycled, reused past the lifetime of wearable love. And any new purchases I make, must be natural fibred, to avoid plastic fibre pollution through washing. These shorts are made from plastic bottles, designed to be worn in the ocean. But although this should raise alarm bells, its important to think contextually, so let me explain.
Natural fibres in the ocean is a recipe for disaster, speaking both of fashion, practicality & longevity- a key to sustainability in fashion. Natural fibres are susceptible to degrading when constantly exposed and submerged in water. Most natural fibres are also resource dependant to produce- and so making natural fibres last is really important. They are also heavy and take a long time to dry. Plastic fabric is designed to last, to surf, to dive, to get sweaty on a beach clean, long after your wooly shorts will have disintegrated.
Longevity of plastic is leading concern within marine conservation, so surely a pair of shorts that last a long time is a problem? What happens to the shorts once they're worn out?
Riz are the whole package. They are an eco business that I can truly get excited about, a business that has swayed my thoughts on recycled plastic clothing. They are holistically driven with the lifecycle of the product. They assume responsibility of the shorts after your acceptable use of the shorts, as they offer a system by which you can return your shorts, receive a discount on a new pair and your old ones are up cycled. Taking accountability of the shorts long after the tills ring, is rare and incredible. They design the shorts specifically so that they are long lasting, well made and they won’t “go out of fashion”. These are shorts that Lee, an extremely fussy, environmentally critical marine biologist can wear knowing that they are truly sustainable and do not bear an enormous environmental burden.
"FOR US SUSTAINABILITY SEEMS TOO GENERAL A TERM. WE WANT TO FOCUS THE ENTIRE PRODUCT LIFE INTO A 360 DEGREE PROCESS"
Riz uses a waste product, that when unutilised and released into the environment is causing huge environmental problems. By avoiding virgin materials, they avoid a huge environmental footprint associated with the production of natural fibres. Whilst plastic fibres from plastic clothes is a leading cause of ocean pollution, it’s important to be practical whilst mitigating one environmental concern, as to not create another. Plus supporting sustainable enterprise is incredibly important tool in fighting waste. Plastic fibre shedding from clothes, is a key concern when plastic clothing is washed on hot, violent washing in house hold washing machines, not so much an issue floating in sea water. But watch this space, for more word on how to reduce the potential impact from the shorts.
Riz also make a donation from every single sale of shorts, to marine conservation, cementing their ethos firmly into the realms of sustainability.
Practicality is key, and a lightweight long lasting ocean and tropical humidity proof pair of shorts for a marine biologist, is very important. Lee loves his shorts- and is proudly wearing them everywhere, from office data sifting, in the water doing coral surveys, doing beach cleans, removing Crown of Thorns, back flips from boats (because life isn't all work) to sitting watching a movie at home. We're really impressed with Riz, from the delivery entirely plastic free, to the comfort knowing Lee's shorts and their plastic threads are cared for after their lifetime.
They are effortlessly stylish, masculine and a must have for the ethical. Watch this space for the upcoming interview with the founders, Riz Smith and Ali Murrell themselves.
This is the start of our critique and evaluation of plastic fibre "eco" clothing. Watch this space for more information about brands and discussion surrounding what clothes we should be promoting as plastic.
Riz Board Shorts very kindly gifted Lee a pair of shorts, to allow him to conduct his marine conservation work in style. We were under absolutely no sponsorship, obligation or request to write this piece. I wrote this honestly, and because of I am genuinely very excited and impressed with their business. You'll be seeing Lee in his Riz board shorts a lot more over the coming months. Check out