We hitched a ride to Rockaway Beach for our Summer ’22 shoot to share with you a place beloved by team T.W.I.N. We wanted to show you where we wear #TWINinthewild while highlighting the sand, water, and T.W.I.N. And yet, we couldn’t ignore one unavoidable prop and problem at Rockaway Beach—the accumulation of trash on the shore and in the water. Using repurposed and found plastics & metals as accessories, we hoped to highlight one of the greatest ecological issues facing our planet, ocean pollution.
I lived in New York City for over ten years before discovering Rockaway Beach. Big mistake. HUGE.
My love affair with Rockaway Beach began when T.W.I.N. was just an idea in my head and Alicia had the scathingly brilliant idea to learn how to surf during the pandemic. Almost every Tuesday morning, we would wake at 6 AM and take the sleepiest subway ride of my life (I am not a morning person). We’d head over to Locals Surf School, where I spent more time under the surfboard than on it. At the same time, Alicia transformed into a surfer chick extraordinaire, continuing the trend of making us the most unlikely twins. Having spent that much time in and ingesting the ocean water, I don’t think it’s too farfetched to be concerned that I might grow gills. At first, I feared the things touching my legs in the water were jellyfish. Imagine my horror when I discovered that it was plastic. Did you know that almost 80% of ocean debris is plastic? You can Google it. I did. And the more I learn about the effects of plastic waste in our oceans, the more upsetting it is. But this note isn’t about blindly hating on plastic. Plastic has been beneficial and can be used sustainably. On its own, plastic is not the enemy. We are. It’s our responsibility to think more consciously about the materials we use and how we dispose of them.
Why is it so difficult for us to clean up after ourselves? It’s infuriating to see someone throw their trash on the streets of NYC because it feels like someone just threw their trash on my living room floor. At Rockaway Beach, it just breaks my heart. It’s disrespectful. Either that trash will be thrown away by a deeply frustrated local, or it will be a part of the 5.25 trillion+ pieces problem. If you take nothing away from this, please be aware that assuming others will clean up your mess is an illusion. Be conscious about how much you bring to the beach, and make sure to dispose of your trash responsibly. Cleaning up after yourself shows that you care– about your community, home and life. And in my opinion, caring is sexy.
For the T.W.I.N. Summer ‘22 photoshoot, we recycled and repurposed items you can find at Rockaway Beach, like plastic wrap, pop can tops, plastic straws, and garbage bags. Instead of throwing them away, we decided to upcycle them into accessories. By challenging ourselves to think beyond the function of single-use items, we realized the opportunities for creativity married with sustainability were abundant. We found seamless ways we could recycle at T.W.I.N. by incorporating beloved pieces from past collections, even featuring our first upcycled collaborations with TWINtern and emerging stylist/designer Bella Capponi, and seasoned technical designer at Tory Sport, Sarah Worley. What’s more, when I created our Spring/Summer ‘22 collection, I intentionally designed the new pieces to be worn with our first collection. That way people could continue to wear and love the T.W.I.N. pieces they already own while adding new pieces to their collection. As a designer focused on sustainability, I aim to find opportunities to repurpose and recycle the materials I use and do what I can to take care of the earth that has given me so much.
Remember, the earth is your mother, not your housekeeper.