Free Flow Active is a sustainable Canadian activewear brand launched by earth-conscious yoga instructor Emily Ratchford.
Not only is Free Flow Active made with Econyl, regenerated nylon from ocean waste, but every purchase cleans up 5kg of trash off beaches worldwide, thanks to its partnership with Ocean Mimic Based in Bali, Ocean Mimic is committed to promoting plastic-reduced living by implementing school educational programs and beach clean-ups.
After a trip to Bali in February 2018, Emily was horrified by the state of the garbage and plastic littering the beaches. Understanding the ocean provides 70% of the oxygen we breath while absorbing 17 billion pounds of plastic a year from humans, Emily was overcome by the estimation that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. One of the largest culprits are abandoned fishing nets, otherwise known as “ghost nets,” which represent an estimated 46% of plastic in the ocean today.
In addition to the use of Econyl (comprised mostly of regenerated “ghost nets”), the benefits of Free Flow Active products include:
- Water-resistant material
- UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50+
- Chlorine- and sunscreen-resistant
- Smaller, less frequent collection launches to reduce over-consumption
- Scrunchies made from apparel fabric scraps to promote a zero-waste movement
- All purchases going toward beach clean-up efforts worldwide
- High-performing and breathable fabrics
- Luxurious, ethical and beautiful designs
We had the pleasure of chatting with Free Flow Active’s founder Emily about yoga, business, and sustainability!
How did you begin your career as a Yoga instructor?
I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training in April 2019 with Power Yoga Canada. I had been a practicing student for about 10 years before that. I was inspired to become a teacher myself so I could share what I love with family and friends.
Have you always practiced sustainability, or was there a moment/experience that prompted you to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle?
No, I haven’t. I started making different choices after I watched the documentary Earthlings, which was recommended by a friend. After that, I adopted a more plant-friendly diet and became more interested in sustainable and eco-friendly products. There are so many creative products out there that function just as well as non-sustainable products. It’s amazing the choices that are available to us across all industries from food to beauty to overall health.
Was creating an activewear brand always a goal of yours, or did this endeavor come about more recently?
I have always wanted to start my own business but wasn’t completely clear on what. In February 2018, I traveled to Bali on a yoga/surf trip. I was completely shocked and overwhelmed by the horrific state of the beaches. My previous background was in Retail Buying and Product Development, and I had thought “there has to be a way to repurpose all the plastics that are getting pulled from the ocean”. After a bit of research, I realized that fabrics made from recycled material did exist. It was a natural fit for me to create a product that utilized my love of yoga, surfing, and the ocean.
How did you get involved with Ocean Mimic?
I met them in Bali! When I started Free Flow, I traveled back to visit the factory I was using and do a photo shoot and we crossed paths. We hit it off immediately and it only made sense to collaborate to share in our missions.