For those of us who are fashionistas at heart, it can feel like the price we pay for our love of clothes is very steep – and not just on the wallet. Buying the newest clothes and the latest trends might help our Instagram game, but it certainly doesn’t help the environment, and we need to be more conscious about our purchases and how it impacts the world we live in.
But there are ways to make eco-friendlier choices in terms of fashion – and while it no longer includes rocking a full-hemp wardrobe, environmentally-conscious clothing doesn’t scream “sexy” sometimes. But that’s all changing.
When I first discovered Soca Blue, I thought it was just another swimsuit line with Caribbean roots. It makes sense: we live in the Caribbean, where it’s summer year-round and endless opportunities for swimwear. But that’s where I was wrong: Soca Blue is far from just another typical swim line – it’s somewhere where, as the brand describes it, style meets conscience without sacrificing luxury.
Kelsey Bressler – an American girl with Trini roots – created the brand, focused on not contributing to the downfall of the ocean that she’s seen throughout the years. With this in mind, she set her sights on creating bathing suits that were not only stylish, but that would be ethically sourced, environmentally conscious and sustainably created and the best quality.
XX: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU! WHAT ARE YOUR TIES TO TRINIDAD?
KELSEY BRESSLER: I’m 26 years old. I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and am still currently based in the States, but both my mother and my father are from Trinidad. Although I wasn’t born in T&T, I still often visit my family and friends in the beautiful twin island country that I consider my home away from home.
XX: WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN DESIGN? ARE YOU PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED?
KB: I am not professionally trained in fashion, however I absolutely love the fashion industry and worked in retail for 10 years, including working as a personal shopper and stylist.
XX: WHEN DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO CREATE A SWIMSUIT LINE?
KB: After graduating with my Master’s in Business Administration and working in the marketing field for a few years, I knew I wanted to start my own business. That experience in the business world combined with a love for style and fashion is how Soca Blue was born.
XX: YOUR LINE IS ESPECIALLY “GREEN”, TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS!
KB: I have always been very passionate about the ocean and marine life, so when I set out to build a company with a “beach lifestyle” culture, I knew I could also use this platform to make a difference in conserving the waters I love so much.
Thankfully, I was able to find a fabric whose manufacturers are in line with my thinking – all Soca Blue swimwear is made from post-consumer waste, and this includes plastics and fishing nets polluting our oceans. I promise to always source sustainable fabrics which are impeccable in quality and made ethically.
XX: WHY THE NAME ‘SOCA BLUE‘?
KB: When I was thinking of a name for my brand, I knew I wanted to incorporate my Trinidadian roots into the name.
To me, Soca not only represents the music, but it conjures up feelings of the whole Trinidadian Carnival experience: feelings of pure joy, freedom of expression, and amazing times with friends and family.
In the USA, “Soca” is a foreign term and it’s rare when someone recognizes it, but it’s still easy on the ears and very memorable.
XX: YOU’VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME OVER THE YEARS IN TRINIDAD, HOW DO YOU THINK THIS HAS IMPACTED YOU, YOUR COMPANY AND YOUR DESIGNS?
KB: My time in Trinidad has impacted me in all aspects of my life, from the types of food I like to eat, to the music I listen to, to my sense of adventure and love for traveling and experiencing new cultures.
It has also given me stronger family values and appreciation for a caring and tight knit community. I am truly blessed to be a Trini and to share my roots with my American friends in the States.
XX: YOU MAY NOT BE “TRINI”, BUT WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT TRINIDAD?
KB: I definitely consider Trinidad a home to me, when people ask me where I’m from and why I am the way I am, I always talk about being from Trinidad and Tobago and the culture that the islands have given me.
XX: WHAT HAS THE SUPPORT BEEN FROM TRINIDAD FOR SOCA BLUE?
KB: I have had such incredible support from my Trinidadian friends and family, I have had the pleasure to collaborate with other designers at pop-up shops, and I still get consistent orders from the Trinidadian community on my online store.
I hope with more growth and exposure this will only increase and that Soca Blue can have a strong presence in Trinidad.
XX: WHERE CAN WE FIND YOUR STUFF?
KB: Right now, all Soca Blue can be found online at www.socablue.com, and my apparel is also available through Pop-Up shops.
XX: WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
KB: I have so many big dreams for Soca Blue! I hope to keep growing as a sustainable lifestyle brand, I have plans to incorporate more departments of apparel so stay tuned!
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