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Newcastle student starts new business to make fashion more sustainable


Growing up on the coast, 13-year-old Myla Tucker has always been aware of the importance of sustainability and the environment. The Newcastle Grammar School student became concerned about the environmental toll of fast fashion and wanted to take action to address the issue of overconsumption.

With the help of best friend Olivia Lorenz, the pair started Cinnamon Cove to reduce waste from fast fashion by producing stylish swimwear for tweens and teens made from recycled materials designed to be long-lasting.

Myla is the winner of an Edstart Achievement Award in the Entrepreneurship category for the success of her business and her mission to make fashion more sustainable.

Breaking the fast fashion mould

With limited options for activities in their area during lockdown, Myla and Olivia would spend almost every afternoon at their local beach and realised that there weren’t many swimsuits with designs they liked while being comfortable or practical for their age group.

While watching a program about entrepreneurs with her mum one day Myla had a light bulb moment and thought “why don’t we start our own business”.

After learning that fashion was the second largest polluting industry in the world, they were determined to show that there was a way to love fashion while still being respectful to the planet. The pair wanted to promote the concept of “slow fashion” by focusing on reusing and recycling resources to reduce waste while also encouraging people to buy less and invest in quality products instead.

Starting a sustainable brand

Myla and Olivia began coming up with design concepts by cutting up their mum's old swimwear and using their social network to test interest with girls their age. It wasn’t long before they caught the attention of a local swimwear designer in Newcastle who offered to help bring their first design to life.

They would then spend countless hours refining their designs into something more realistic while searching for the right materials that would fit their values and style. It was a difficult process to find something that was both fashionable and sustainable, but eventually they found the perfect match in Carvico, a high-quality fabric from Italy made entirely out of regenerated nylon.

At this stage of their journey the two friends learned that many other brands would take shortcuts in the name of making “eco-friendly” products and decided to manufacture their swimsuits locally in Newcastle so they could keep a hands-on approach on every stage of production. This allowed them to make sure their products were not only environmentally friendly but made in an ethical way.

Hitting the ground running

Since launch, Cinnamon Cove has grown a community of loyal followers and customers on social media generating tens of thousands of dollars in revenue from their website, on instagram, and selling their products at local markets in Newcastle and Sydney.

Their success has not gone unnoticed with features in local news and national publications like the Sydney Morning Herald. Myla and Olivia were also invited to speak at the Australian Independent Schools event to share their inspiring story as young entrepreneurs.

Paving the way for sustainable fashion

Myla sees this as only the beginning for her swimwear venture with Olivia. As part of the award, she plans to use the $1,500 award grant to continue the momentum of Cinnamon Cove by investing in new creative designs and increasing the range of products. She also wants to continue to educate young people about sustainability through their blog and social media.

Going forward, the two best friends are excited about gaining more experience and skills in business as they take on the fast-fashion industry with Cinnamon Cove.

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