Sports and beach fashion made out of fishnets!? Barely believable but it does really exist! Sustainable, functional, and stylish: Thus the Crystal Flow label makes the hearts of bathing beauties and sporty types beat faster.
Finally, something is being done in regard to sustainability! A charismatic and inspiring new generation of entrepreneurs is currently causing some movement in the fashion industry, with new concepts and exciting materials. Including the young Crystal Flow label. They manufacture beach and sports fashion from recycled fishnets.
For example, Birgitta Tafelmeier – she is the founder and managing director of Munich-based brand Crystal Flow. She leads the company in an inventive, flexible manner and with clear principles. She came to the fashion business on intricate paths, via her passions “sea” and “watersports.” Her products are fairly manufactured, functional, and have style: as if made for the summer, sun, sports, and joie de vivre!
How did Crystal Flow come into being?
I myself am passionate about watersports and I love wave surfing, for example. The idea to develop products myself came from need: Beach fashion was either nice but not functional or vice versa. I wanted to combine the two, and so I simply jumped in and developed my first ideas for bikinis, leggings and sports underwear. I wanted to make cool items of clothing for sports such as wave and kite surfing, but also for beach volleyball, yoga, and even pole dancing. Eventually I had invested so much time in the topic that I could only say: I want to give it a go and launch my own label for sports and beach fashion! I founded the label in 2017 and the first products came onto the market at the end of that year.
What does sustainability mean to you?
I wanted to set up the company only under the condition that the products be manufactured fairly and produced from a sustainable material. Honestly, finding the material that suited me took really long. For me, it is an attitude to life not to buy too much unnecessary clothing and fast fashion, something I repeatedly discuss with friends.
Which material do you use for your products?
We use Nylon Econyl. It is something very special, as it is made from old fishnets. The concept that I am manufacturing new products but no new waste was caused by it was very important to me. The so-called ghost nets are collected from the sea by an organization. They are a problem because inhabitants of the sea get caught in them, as does a lot of waste. The nets are recycled in Slovenia and then the elastic and super-soft material is produced in Italy, together with other industrial waste, such as from carpeted floors. For my products, I use a very thin version of Econyl that is particularly pleasant to wear on the skin.
How would you describe your typical customers?
Our customers are female and roughly between 18 and 40 years old. Sustainability is important to them; ideally, they consume in such a conscious manner that they purchase an item from Crystal Flow when they really need it. And, of course, they are sporty.
What challenges do you have to face in the business?
In addition to the search for the suitable material, it was also not so easy to find a suitable production site. I even once had to change production site because I was not satisfied. Now our production site is in Serbia and the processes there are very good and fair. I enjoy going there and I deal personally with the finishing of the cuts, making suggestions that a certain thread should be placed differently etc. Since Serbia is not in the EU, there are also repeatedly challenges related to the customs.
Are there competitors?
There are now also another couple of brands that manufacture beach fashion from recycled materials. I think each one finds their niche there, so I am not worried. Competition livens up the business! Moreover, it is a good thing when the big players receive pressure from below, so to speak, from the small players in the role as pioneers in matters of sustainability.
What motivates you?
I enjoy the work at Crystal Flow very much because I can do a lot of different things and have a good insight into the production. I generally enjoy doing several different things at the same time and do many things differently to others. New challenges repeatedly come upon me that I can tackle just as I see fit. I very much enjoy managing the photo shoots and I like the close contact with the customers, for example via Instagram. Of course, I would like to grow further with Crystal Flow, but I will not look for investors at all costs. I am always open to partnerships and new product ideas and am excited to see where else the Crystal Flow journey will go. I can say that it is worth it to have the courage simply to take projects on and implement ideas, and thus to follow your passions!
Images: Crystal Flow