Sara Cohen Shares Sometimes You Have To Be The Change You Want To See In The World

I love the water and the freedom it gives me. It has directed me throughout my life, from my stint as a dive master, to choosing countries to live in based on their proximity to the water. In 2020 it led me to launch my business Hākinakina. I spent years looking for swimwear that suited my active lifestyle and offered me the level of sun protection I needed to cover up my radiation burns following my first encounter with cancer. Not one to back down from a challenge I figured if I couldn’t find it, I would create it myself. So armed with a 15 year career in advertising, 5 years building a women’s wear print label in the UK, and my love of the water, I launched it myself.

Hākinakina is my answer to having the freedom to play harder outside for longer. I wanted to make sure Hākinakina was inherently sustainable from the beginning by focusing on minimum waste, versatility, quality and timeless cuts. I seek out the best quality fabrics I can find, that are sun protectant and stand up to the elements.

Spending a lot of my time in nature and by the ocean, naturally I wanted to limit my footprint as much as possible and make our swimwear from recycled ocean plastics. I believe that sustainability is a given in this day and age, and that ALL businesses should strive for zero impact. With this in mind, our soft yet strong Hākinakina fabric is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

Here are a few ways I try to minimise our footprint:

Fabric Quality And Sustainability

Our soft yet strong Hākinakina fabric is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. It’s manufacture also emits fewer greenhouse gases than traditional fabric, uses waterless printing and is powered purely by green solar energy. It also has UPF 50+ sun protection rating, meaning that it blocks out 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Quality Timeless Design

I believe in products that withstand the test of time. Knowing that fashion is the second most polluting industry after mining, we work hard to create timeless, versatile staples that are made to outlast fashion trends.

Conscious Packaging

At Hākinakina all our packaging is plastic free and 100% recyclable or compostable, inclusive of swing tags, satchels and hygiene labels

Minimal Waste

We’re unique in that we make all of our pieces to order so we can be sure that every piece we make goes to a happy home rather than landfill.  We will reduce waste by releasing small collections a couple of times a year. We aim to produce to demand and hold as little stock as is commercially viable.

Made In NZ By Women

Because of our commitment to ethics, sustainability and quality, every garment is made locally here in NZ by a team of expert Kiwi sewists.

Have you ever made a conscious decision to create a new product you can’t find?


About The Author

Sara Cohen is founder of luxe sustainable womens wear brand Having already recovered from breast cancer once, she was in remission for several years, until last April when she found her cancer had returned and was by definition terminal. 5 years ago, having recently recovered from cancer she was looking for swimwear that suited her active lifestyle and offered the high level of protection she needed to cover up her radiation burns. She was left with minimal options; so when she moved to New Zealand she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Armed with a background in marketing and 5 years in women’s wear, she opened her own business and a line of swimwear to give women the freedom to play without compromising comfort, beauty or the environment. Find out more at or connect on Instagram

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