At Tucca Swim we love to accessorise our swimwear! Especially with like-minded sustainable companies with unique designs. After collaborating with Salt + Silver Jewellery we have been so inspired by Katie Buffey, the founder who is passionate about slow and steady living. So here is an exclusive interview with Katie!

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

My name is Katie Buffey, I live in a small seaside town on the east coast of England called Cleethorpes and I founded a business called Salt + Silver. It began as a hobby making jewellery using recycled metals and now encompasses a physical store in which I sell my jewellery and I also stock other independent makers from around the UK whose ethos aligns with my own. I love surfing and skating, and anything beach related, so my collections tend be inspired by the beach I live right next to. I studied Latin and Classics and have a minor obsession with Greek mythology which I also draw inspiration from in my jewellery designs.

What advice would you give people looking to become more environmentally aware?

I think firstly and most importantly look at yourself, are you a heavy consumer of clothing and accessories that are cheap and you can buy ten times over? I decided that for a year I would only buy handmade or second hand and it’s changed my life forever. So, explore other options and instead of buying twenty jumpers in a year, buy two that will last you forever.

Seek out new information all the time, watch documentaries like Chasing Coral, The True Cost, Cowspiracy and What the Health. The next bit of advice is to reduce your consumption of meat, even by one meal a week, make it vegan. You don’t have to go all out straight away but be aware of what you’re eating and where it came from, how much water did it take to produce and so on.

Thirdly if it has the word ‘fast’ in it (fast fashion, fast food etc) steer away from it, it’s not good for the planet.

Lastly, follow Greta Thunberg on Instagram and watch the interviews she’s given- if she doesn’t make you more motivated to protect our planet no one will.

For us at Tucca Swim, sustainability is key. What does it mean to you?

Sustainability by definition means the ability of something to be maintained at a certain rate or level. The way the world is currently going, its own resources are being drained, its ecosystems are being obliterated and we are now experiencing the 6th greatest extinction equivalent to 200 species becoming extinct every day. The key words to think about when you’re thinking of sustainability are excess and moderation. Do nothing excessively and it will continue to be sustainable, do everything in moderation and it will continue to be sustainable. For me and my business if I couldn’t use recycled materials in my designs, I simply wouldn’t make jewellery, I would find something else I could do that was kind to the planet.

We have to become more open to giving up things we love for the love of our world, because we’re destroying it.

What does sustainability mean to me? It means everything.

What do you think of Tucca Swim’s Eco-Friendly swimwear collection? Do you have a favourite piece?

I love the new collection; the colours and prints are so vibrant and uplifting. Since having a baby my body shape has changed and I want more support than I used to out of my swimwear and when I first put on my one piece it was like heaven! My favourite is definitely the Coral Reversible one piece, the colour way is so beautiful, and the print is minimal and effective whilst still being really funky and I like that you can switch between the plain side and printed. I’ve literally told everyone who will listen about it!

Where do you see the sustainable fashion industry going? Do you think it’s just a trend and a marketing tool? Or is it the start of change.

So firstly, I think it’s really important that the ‘sustainable fashion industry’ and the ‘fashion industry’ become one entity, the same thing. There should be no fashion industry if it isn’t sustainable, they aren’t mutually exclusive they have to come hand in hand for the world to continue to thrive and not have its resources depleted.

Every business owner has a social and environmental responsibility and that needs to be understood by far more people who have their own companies, especially the big players.

Unfortunately, at the moment I think the big players in the fashion industry, the huge conglomerates, are jumping on the sustainable bandwagon for show. Often, they’re not changing their ethics across the board but simply bringing out a sustainable collection, and yet their other lines of fast fashion trash continue. There’s no point bringing out an eco-line of clothing if the rest of the company is doing enormous harm to the planet, if anything that’s worse- it’s like they know what they’re doing is wrong but they’re continuing to do it anyway whilst simultaneously pulling the wool over the eyes of their consumer. So yes, in some ways for some companies at the moment it is a marketing tool. The most dangerous companies are those who lead you to believe they’re sustainable but are just hiding their non sustainable habits.

That aside, the change has to continue because there is no alternative, its panic stations for our planet and thankfully there’s increasing pressure in the media, social media and the news on politicians to legislate on measures to force these companies to change if they’re unwilling to. And the people who are forcing the hands of the politicians are everyday people with passion and fire in their bellies and they will not stop. Change is coming for sure, and when it does these huge companies are going to have a heck of a lot of catching up to do.

People say that ethical and sustainable fashion is too expensive. What are your thoughts on this?

Expense is relative, if you’re comparing those prices to a high street clothing chain whose clothes will lose shape after one wash, or who’s bikinis will fade after just one holiday then yes, sustainable fashion is expensive… but for very good reason. If you’re not comparing it to fast fashion prices then no, it’s really not expensive. I would way rather buy something that will last me a very long time than continue to buy the same item repeatedly that’s a lower quality. I think people are so used to buying what they want when they want with their clothes when they find something they love but have to save up for it throws those habits off kilter and I think it’s getting used to the slower style of buying and wearing. People would maybe spend £20 on a top once or twice a month and have 12-24 tops at the end of the year that they may have worn between one and three times over the whole year I prefer to just buy a small handful, if that, over the year and wear them over again.

To summarise, sustainable fashion costs more than fast fashion items but it lasts so much longer. I guess the question is would you rather have quality or quantity?