The ocean flows through designer Courtney Chew's veins—metaphorically, anyway.

Local designer Courtney Chew was raised by a fashion designer (her mom!), so the craft has always been in her blood. Also flowing through the 29-year-old’s veins? The ocean—metaphorically, anyway. “I was a swimmer; I grew up in the water,” she says, “so I have this connection with it.”

That relationship, combined with a passion for the environment and a lack of swimwear options that suited her minimalist taste, led to the creation of Ocin. Pronounced like “ocean,” the eco-conscious line of men’s and women’s swimwear is ethically crafted from fabrics composed of recycled plastics. The pieces—high-neck halter tops, side-panel one-pieces and mesh-compression board shorts, for example, in neutral shades like black and olive—are sharp and decidedly untrendy, designed to be mixed and matched and worn for years to come.

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Even the size labelling is an ode to the ocean, with Chew ditching the traditional XS-to-XL structure in favour of the names of bodies of water in B.C. (Teslin, Como and so on), a move that also helps wearers focus more on how they feel in the garments than what’s written on the tag. A portion of Ocin’s proceeds go to ocean-conservation efforts, too, generating what Chew hopes will be a ripple effect of more people—and brands—giving back to Mother Earth.

“We’re not perfect,” says Chew, “but we’re totally committed to evolving and innovating and getting better as we grow.”

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Ocin Compression Short in Black, $135. (Photo: Alan Chan)
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Ocin Classic Top in Sunset, $129, and Hi Waisted Bottom in Black, $115. (Photo: Alan Chan)
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Ocin Halter Top in Olivine, $129, and Classic Bottom in Sunset, $115. (Photo: Alan Chan)
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Ocin Snap Short in Stone, $135. (Photo: Alan Chan)