Danielle Clayton was living as a surf instructor in the Maldives after quitting her job in sales for Billabong, when she became increasingly frustrated at the lack of quality surf leggings on the market. “It was really from my own personal need of needing to cover up my legs while living in the tropics and not finding anything in the marketplace that either a) suited my surf guide wages and b) suited my personal style,” Clayton says. “In fact there were only two surf brands with one style of surf leggings in the market at that time and zero marketing around the very concept of wearing leggings in the surf for sun protection.”
Clayton launched Salt Gypsy in 2012, and the surfwear brand now uses 100% regenerated nylon yarn made from pre- and post-consumer waste materials. Salt Gypsy’s surf leggings are versatile enough for use on land and in water; from yoga and running, to water sports and of course, surfing. “They save your skin from sun damage and skin cancer – especially those first few days on your surf trip/holiday when you typically get fried. They eliminate that feeling of being self-conscious of your bum in lineups generally dominated by men and you don’t have to worry about bikini bottoms pulling down in the surf or riding up your butt – all of which means you can be more confident and focus more on what you’re there to do – surf and hustle for waves!”, says Clayton.
Clayton sought out ECONYL 100% regenerated nylon yarn after researching sustainable materials and being inspired by Kelly Slater’s sustainable menswear brand, Outerknown. Impressively, Salt Gypsy’s eco-friendly approach also extends to the smaller details, including the swing tags on its products (made from recycled cardboard) and its packaging (bags made from cassava root starch).
After living in the tropics for 5 years, Clayton witnessed first-hand the impact of plastic debris clogging up our beautiful oceans and believes that recycled nylon textiles should be industry standard across all brands big and small. Salt Gypsy is now R-Certified by offsetting the energy consumption of their manufacturing and donating to energy projects in Northern NSW of Australia.
Clayton’s bigger vision is to build a sustainable women’s surfwear company that can work with and financially support talented ocean women, professional athletes and community groups around the world. Her wish? “For Stephanie Gilmore to one day wear Salt Gypsy gear”, Clayton says with a smile.