by Maddy Zollo Rusbosin | March 15, 2018

Made in FLA: The Tropics

A sustainable apparel company turns trash into trunks


The Seaboard trunks are made from 11 recycled plastic bottles. Photography by The Tropics

Before a trip to Tulum, Mexico, with his girlfriend, Isabella Cisneros, Ramiro Carranza had trouble finding a swimsuit. If the fit was right, the pattern was wrong, and vice versa. Over margaritas during their stay, Carranza decided to solve this problem. Inspired by their hotel’s sustainability and the experience of seeing local pelicans getting hold of plastic bags and bottles from the ocean, the duo had an idea: to create their own line of swim trunks that would not only have the right fit and design but also help the environment.

“If we are going to manufacture something, we want it to be as sustainable as possible,” explains Cisneros of their thought process. “We wanted to be a part of the solution.”

More than a year later, in July 2017, they officially launched The Tropics. With Carranza creating the designs and Cisneros handling operations, the company has rolled out 10 swim trunk designs along with T-shirts made from plastic bottles. To further their mission, the brand holds monthly beach cleanups throughout Miami. Afterward, they ship the collected bottles off to a factory where the plastic is turned into a fiber that’s used for their suits. What’s next? They want to become a hub for recycling in Miami.

“We want to be the wave of change for the pollution problem. The more we talk about it, the better chance we have of doing it,” says Cisneros.