Swimwear designer draws the line at fishing waste

ocean plastics

An Animal Ecology graduate who has expanded her passion for the marine environment to designing swimwear made from recycled fishing waste is a finalist in a national competition for aspiring young female entrepreneurs.

Ellana ‘El’ Pierce, who graduated from the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2020, is one of five finalists from across Australia invited to pitch their ideas to judges ‘shark tank-style’ at Questacon in Canberra on 16 February 2022.

The 23-year-old won the popular vote category of the Kickstarter Challenge out of 82 entries that gained more than 8000 votes in total on social media over four months last year.

Pierce worked as a research assistant after graduation, including with USC’s Seaweed Research Group at its Bribie Island facility, while pursuing her sustainable swimwear line ‘El Adrift’, made from the nylon of fishing nets removed from the ocean.

“I love working hard to get closer to my dream of making a difference while still being creative and using my skills,” she said.

She intends to show through her business that science and technology “can go hand-in-hand with fashion, beauty and fun”.

“It’s easier than we think to make a difference in what we believe in,” she said. “I aim to clean the ocean of industrial waste and discarded fishing nets that are detrimental to marine species, and to encourage conscious consumerism in the fashion industry.”

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