Craft/object, Creative Kōrero, The Spotlight

The Spotlight: Emma La Rocca – emroce swimwear

emroce is an ethical fashion company founded by Papamoa-local Emma La Rocca. We had a chat to Emma, the brains behind the business…

In the Spotlight: Emma La Rocca – emroce swimwear

Emma: emroce is the continuation of my final year project of University at Massey University Wellington. As you can see on my website, the project has changed in the last 10 years since being at university but the idea has stayed the same. To educate the public on the downfalls of the fashion industry and to encourage people to buy/consume ethically.

CBOP: Tell us more about the sustainability factors…

E: I offer the clothing that I make as an example of how things can be done differently and use it as a means to engage with the public. Now that I’m making zero waste swimwear it’s more proof than just an example. Making clothing with zero waste, cuts fabric and labour cost drastically. So now my initial goal of educating the public has been altered to include the education of our clothing producers. Generally 15% to 30% of the fabric is discarded in the cutting process of a garment. With mass produced garments, when 1000 pieces are being made and each piece takes 1 meter of fabric that’s 150 to 300 meters of fresh, unused fabric being thrown into landfill for each size of each style. This is fast fashion. This is mass production.

With zero waste fashion the design is scrutinized a little more. The pattern is planned out perfectly. No fabric waste is created and no money is lost.

Keeping the overhead costs low are as important to me as they are to the fast fashion companies. Sustainable fashion has always been seen as out of reach for the average joe blogs but by creating with zero waste I can keep my retail prices as low as the well known unsustainable swimwear brands.

The idea to create durable, functional, zero waste swimwear that won’t fall off in the waves, was inspired by my love of swimming and surfing. It was set into motion when I found the sustainable swimwear fabric made by econyl nylon which is created by melting down old fishing nets and making a new nylon fibre. The Italian company Econyl helps to clean our oceans of ghost fishing nets. I always thought that all clothing should and could be sustainable but I never thought that sportswear could as it’s made of plastic so the discovery of econyl for me was like a bomb going off. Swimwear is probably one of the most difficult clothing items to make sustainably but I just had to try it. In the last 6 years there still hasn’t been much of an improvement in the availability of sustainable swimwear fabrics but we are just beginning to see this change now.

The first emroce swimwear collection was launched in Italy as that is where I was living at the time and now emroce is back home in New Zealand where the surf is better and small business can thrive a little easier.

CBOP: Where can the public find you?

E: You can find emroce swimwear online at or please contact us for a visit if you are in the Papamoa area and would like to try something on. This summer emroce will be stocked in Jean & Petes in Whakatane and Whangamata Surf Shop. We are currently stocked in New York, France and Kuala Lumpur.

Visit emroce here

Craft/object, Creative Kōrero, The Spotlight

CBOP instagram