There are millions of tonnes of plastics in our oceans, but bottle cap by bottle cap, two young entrepreneurs from Balear, Menorca are doing their bit to clean up their island and promote a more sustainable form of fashion.
Let's hear more from Joan and Carlos, the founders of SOUTH Original.
Upcycled Ocean Plastic Jewellery Made From Rescued Bottle Caps
SOUTH Original's Inspiration
Joan said: "SOUTH was created in the minor island of the archipelago Balear, Menorca, when it was born in the mind of a 15 year old teenager who wanted to make a difference among the people through a new way of making clothes.
"Our desire was and still is to create an inspiring style without leaving aside the sustainability of our products.
"This is how in 2021 we launched our first clothing collection and later on in 2022 we decided to do the same but with wearable accessories made with recycled plastic from the island.
"The path we’re building has just started and we’re very excited to be part of a group that after every passing day grows and becomes more aware of the importance of an eco-sustainable world, believing in a future where having a unique and fashionable style is compatible with caring for the environment.
"Our island is the core and essence of our brand and we always want to represent through our designs the liberty and beauty we had the chance to experience by growing up in such a beautiful and peaceful place."
What Does Upcycling Mean To You?
Joan said: "For us the word upcycling means a lot, it is the essence of our business and our differentiating factor, but I think it goes much further: to be able to create accessories that embellish people, accessories that people can trust to give to their loved ones is something that fills us with satisfaction.
"Our products are created 100% on our home island, Menorca, and we have already saved more than 90 kg of plastics from being dumped in the sea.
"Upcycling is embedded in our essence and will be so until the last of our days.
"We do not want upcycling to be a fad, for us, it is here to stay."
Watch: Here's How A Plastic Bottle Cap Becomes a Piece of New Jewellery
So, how does SOUTH Original create their fascinating upcycled ocean plastic jewellery? The video above encapsulates the story perfectly.
How To Turn Bottle Caps Into Recycled Jewellery
- Collection of stoppers and classification by colour, as the colour of SOUTH's accessories depends on the colour of the stopper used.
- Crushing of the stoppers, the stoppers go through a crushing process. This allows SOUTH to use them for the creation of their accessories.
- Pouring the crushed caps into the creation machine. Here the shredded material is poured in and melted at high temperatures. It is then adapted to the shape of the mold that marks the jewelry that will come out next. Depending on the use of one mold or another, SOUTH can make a ring, a necklace or a bracelet.
What Influences Your Brand?
Joan said: "Our designs are clearly marked by our island culture. Our first collections have been 100% inspired by the sea and as a result, our best-seller so far is the turquoise wave ring.
"In fact, we chose the turquoise color because, apart from the fact that it is very beautiful and looks great for the summer, we wanted to be inspired by the beaches of Menorca, whose color is this same turquoise blue."
What Is Your Vision For The Future for SOUTH Original?
Joan said: "This question really excites me a lot.
"SOUTH is a brand that was created a year and a half ago and we are very happy with the path we have taken so far.
"We want to be a reference point in the changing face of fashion and accessories, allowing people to reclaim their style with accessories of recycled origin.
"We want to be present in shops on 5 continents within 2 years and, in 5 years, SOUTH Original can be a familiar name for the vast majority of the inhabitants of our planet."
Is There Anything Else You'd Like to Share About South Original's Story?
Joan said: "I would like to add that for the moment South Original is a journey of two people, Joan and Carlos, but that we are accompanied by many more. I would like to thank all those who have been part of the project at some point and have contributed their grain of sand. I would also like to thank our families who have always supported us and pushed us to be better every day.
"Finally, to thank ourselves for making brave decisions and going out there to fight for our dreams.
"If I could learn something from these last two years it is that, many times, the life you dream of is a step beyond fear and that fear is something natural in us because it helps us to survive, but I, in this journey we call "life" I don't want to survive, I want to live a thousand and one experiences and to be
able to share them with the people I love the most."
A big thank you to Joan, Carlos and SOUTH Original for taking the time to share their story. If you're looking for a sustainable gift or to treat yourself while saving plastic from the ocean, then check out their website southoriginal.com.