Although swimwear is a need for the summer, it can be challenging to locate the right fabric. There are so many different textiles available, and each has advantages and disadvantages. What then do we require, you ask? It won't do to use any old fabric!
Recycled plastic bottles and other types of plastic that would otherwise wind up in our oceans make the most environmentally friendly swimsuit materials.
Due to the low cost of the components, this type of fabric offers a greener option that safeguards the environment and reduces production costs. See which type of swimwear works best for you in this blog post!
What type of fabric is best for swimwear? There are many various viewpoints on what constitutes a "sustainable" cloth, but one of the most crucial factors is the manufacturing process. When producing sustainable fabrics, less water and chemicals are frequently used, and fair trade manufacturing procedures are used.
Because they don't need pesticides to develop or maintain themselves, some natural fibres like hemp or bamboo can also be regarded as sustainable.
Even if you don't need new swimwear, being aware of these fabrics can help you make better decisions when selecting apparel for your closet.
For people who want to enjoy themselves in the sun throughout the summer, swimwear is a popular option. However, it might be challenging to identify the most sustainable fabric given the wide variety of swimwear options available. We've listed some of our favourite eco-friendly materials below to make things easier for you.
Summertime isn't complete without swimsuits, but it can be challenging to find one made of environmentally friendly material. Eco-friendly textiles such as polyester and nylon can last a long time with proper care, but they may not be what you're searching for this year.
What if we told you that a cloth item is more affordable than alternatives derived from marine plastic waste?
Due to the fact that it makes use of recycled plastics, this sort of swimsuit is known as a "upcycled" swimsuit! By repurposing debris from the ocean, upcycling reduces waste and benefits our seas.
Which of the various materials used to make swimsuits and bikini tops is the most environmentally friendly? Sadly, it's difficult to say. Even if a swimsuit is made of a material that is technically more sustainable than another, that doesn't guarantee that it will last you as long.
You should think about things like the cost of cloth per square inch or the weight of your shirt per square inch of the suit when determining how long it will last and whether the expenditure is worthwhile.
All of us desire to be able to enjoy the sun and the water, but we are also conscious of our environmental impact. We must make wise decisions when shopping if we want to keep enjoying these conveniences. Choosing a sustainable fabric for your swimsuit is one method to do this.
I'll explain in this blog article what makes each type of cloth more or less sustainable so you may choose the material that's right for you.
Let's get going!
What Fabric Is Used For Swimwear?
Common synthetic materials used to make regular swimwear include nylon, polyester, and Lycra. These materials are inexpensive, dry quickly, are simple to fit, and ensure that the swimsuit maintains its shape.
It will take years for these materials to break down because they are not biodegradable. I recently came across this research from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which states that synthetic fabrics are the source of 35% of the microplastics in the ocean.
Cheap synthetic fibres not only release microfibers when we wash our clothing, but they also release gases like N2O, which is 300 times more harmful than CO2. VERY GROSS
Sustainable Swimwear Fabrics
We ocean lovers frequently witness the harm that plastic waste in the water does, so it seems only fair that we reduce it.
We've all had that awful bikini that breaks apart after one summer of wear and ends up in a landfill. Traditional swimwear is often comprised of plastic in some way. Fortunately, there is a growing number of brands of eco-friendly swimwear.
As consumers' awareness of their environmental impact grows, so do the fashion decisions they make. As a result, slow, sustainable fashion is in while quick fashion is out.
This is especially valid in the case of sustainable bikinis, swimming suits, and swimwear!
The phrase "ethical swimwear" wouldn't have even crossed anyone's minds years ago...
Are you serious? Imagining that recycled nylon or plastic could one day be used to create garments... Take off from here!
Nowadays, "sustainable swimwear" firms are proliferating like weeds. These companies frequently make an attempt to use sustainable resources and ethical production practises.
Econyl is currently the most popular and widely used material in sustainable swimwear. You should obviously be aware of the advancements and environmentally friendly solutions that are accessible, though.
Thankfully, that has all changed thanks to technology and environmentally conscious fashion buyers and designers.
What should you watch out for as sustainable swimwear is made from a variety of fibres and fabrics? Here are some of the most popular eco-friendly swimwear fabrics as well as some potential brand names.
Here, we've included a list of some of the most well-liked eco-friendly swimsuit materials. However, this is a constantly evolving sector, and new and intriguing solutions are frequently offered.
We'll strive to keep this list updated when new players enter the scene. Here are a couple of our favourite eco-friendly swimwear fabrics while you wait.
Let's begin with Econyl, which is, in my opinion, the most well-known sustainable swimsuit fabric. Waste from landfills and the ocean is gathered for this fabric in order to transform it back into usable cloth.
A type of recycled nylon known as ECONYL is mostly derived from carpets and fishing lines. Through a four-step process, these raw materials are regenerated to create a finished good that is chemically equivalent to virgin (non-fossil fuel-based) nylon.
According to the producers, the emissions involved in making ECONYL are 90% fewer than those involved in making virgin nylon. Additionally, the fabric created may be recycled endlessly into new ECONYL yarn and goods, opening the door to closed-loop production methods.
Products manufactured with Carvico Vita, a fabric made from ECONYL yarn, may also be found in stores.
Why not turn the approximately 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear that enters our waters each year into swimwear? It's a technique for eliminating waste and recycling plastic pollution. Please be aware that it's not merely constructed out of used garments and fishing nets.
As previously noted, there is a solid reason why the ECONYL brand of eco-friendly swimwear fabrics continues to be so well-liked. This Italian product is made from recycled nylon that has been gathered from landfills and the world's oceans.
It's interesting to note that worn garments, carpets, and fishing nets are the main nylon products gathered to make ECONYL! There are countless options!
This fabric still qualifies as "plastic," therefore we must be extremely cautious in how we handle it. Additionally, just because something is made of recycled materials, which is excellent, doesn't necessarily mean it is perfect.
When this cloth is laundered, for example, microfibers may still escape. Make care you hand wash your Econyl or recycled polyester bathing suit.
The eco-friendly swimsuit collections from Woodlike Ocean, Casa Raki, and Mara Hoffman all feature Econyl.
Swimwear composed of cotton and hemp may conjure up images of hippy attire. But this most definitely isn't the case any longer.
One of the most eco-friendly natural materials is hemp.
Hemp is a plant that grows without pesticides, nourishes the soil, and purges CO2 from the air. Additionally, hemp fabric is UV resistant, extremely durable, and anti-microbial.
This indicates that there aren't any harmful chemicals present in the fabric, which some businesses utilise to produce synthetic materials anti-microbial, UV resistant, and chlorine resistant.
Natasha Tonic is a company that incorporates hemp in their line of eco-friendly swimwear.
3. Vita PL
The second fabric to be highlighted is Vita PL, which is produced by the same company that made ECONYL. It's interesting to note that Vita PL is created entirely from recycled pre- and post-consumer polyester.
This eco-friendly swimwear fabric alternative comes in a variety of gorgeous colours and is ideal for transfer printing. Vita PL is also perfect for making swimwear (or even activewear) that is resistant to substances like chlorine and sunscreen creams.
Know what neoprene is? Even when surfing, it looks quite nice and comfortable, but it's not eco-friendly. Yulex therefore appeared on the market a few years ago.
You may have heard about Yulex, a new material that is gaining popularity in eco-friendly wetsuits. This fabric is made from natural rubber and is a wonderful replacement for rubbers made from petroleum.
Although scuba-specific swimwear designers aren't yet taking full advantage of this, we believe they will as long as supportive, neoprene-style swimsuit trends persist.
This is a novel plant-based and environmentally friendly substitute for limestone or synthetic neoprene. It is made of a lightweight, extremely elastic, neoprene-free material that is soft and supple.
The Forest Stewardship Council® certification provided by the Rainforest Alliance is used to identify the sources of the natural rubber.
Neoprene is created in factories, whereas natural rubber is made by hevea trees, which continuously absorb carbon, lowering CO2 emissions by up to 80%. Deforestation, though, could pose a problem for this fabric, therefore it's critical to practise responsible sourcing right away.
Patagonia, Finisterre, and Slo Active are a few companies who employ Yulex in their ranges of eco-friendly swimwear.
Plastic bottles that have been recycled are used to make Repreve's fibre. To ensure the recycled content in their fabrics, they developed a tracing system that validates recycled content claims.
Repreve is one of the most cutting-edge sustainable swimsuit fabrics available. This distinctive substance is created by turning recycled plastic bottles into useful fibres. Some of the biggest international businesses that produce swimwear, athletic clothing, and designer clothes use it.
Repreve is renowned for being dependable and strong, as well as for its wicking, adaptive warming, cooling, and water repellency properties. Repreve is also proud of the fact that its production processes create less glasshouse gases and require less water and energy.
Reprove is manufactured by Unifi, a multinational textile solutions provider that has recycled over 20 billion bottles as of this writing.
Recycled polyester is probably already recognisable to you if you've ever bought something that said it was produced from recycled bottles.
Instead of ending up in the garbage, polyester is cleaned, disintegrated into tiny "flakes," melted into pellets, moulded into yarn, and then woven into textiles. A popular brand of recycled polyester is called REPREVE.
Mara Hoffman, Seea, and Vitamin A are a few companies who employ Repreve in their ranges of environmentally friendly swimwear.
6. Amni Soul Eco
Amni Soul Eco is a true pioneer in environmentally conscious and morally-sound swimwear. Amni Soul Eco has developed a biodegradable yarn product, in contrast to other fabrics described here that emphasise reusing previously used materials.
A biodegradable polyamide was developed by Solvay, a Belgian corporation, to enable bacteria to access and digest waste products more quickly.
In contrast to other fibres, Amni Soul Eco decomposes over the course of around five years.
When worn, this yarn is just as durable as ordinary yarns and will entirely disintegrate into organic matter in five years. What a fantastic sustainable swimsuit choice!
This fabric, like other biodegradable goods, decomposes in landfills into organic matter (biomass) and biogas, which can both be utilised to generate electricity and exploited as new environmental resources.
Lenzing, one of the most environmentally friendly fabric producers and the creator of Tencel, also uses this fabric to make cutting-edge textiles.
Aurai Swim and Made Trade are two companies who employ Amni Soul Eco in their collections of eco-friendly swimwear.
7. Natural Fibres
Selecting a natural fibre over a recycled man-made one for swimwear is arguably the best choice for the environment (read on to learn why).
Cotton and hemp are being cleverly repurposed by some swimwear manufacturers to make them more flexible and suitable for use underwater.
However, these natural textiles frequently require the addition of elastane to make them flexible because they have a tendency to absorb water and sag or lose shape over time (i.e. plastic).
Finding something that will endure a long time while producing the least amount of environmental harm when it is produced is a tricky balance when it comes to sustainability.
The Microfibre Problem And How To Care For Recycled Swimwear
One thing to keep in mind is that all of the above listed recycled materials will still shed extremely harmful microplastics, leading some individuals to contest the notion that recycled swimwear is healthy for the environment.
There are techniques to better care for recycled swimwear so that it sheds less microplastics, and we'd say that it's the least of two evils compared to goods manufactured from virgin man-made textiles.
Bonus: By extending its lifespan, this makes it more sustainable in the long run.
The majority of microfibre pollution happens during the washing process, when fibres are soaking into water that has been stirred.
Since many of us wash our clothes far too frequently, swimwear usually doesn't require a trip to the washing machine after each use unless it is seriously stained.
Wash as little as possible by hand, and if you must use a machine, wash it gently at a low temperature.
Use as little detergent as possible, and stay away from fabric softeners, which over time reduce the effectiveness of materials. You can use a guppy bag in your washing machine to keep the microfibres contained and keep them from washing into our rivers.
When not in use, such as when drying, keep your swimsuit as far away from direct sunlight as you can, and stay away from chemical sunscreens because they can damage materials.
If you follow these suggestions, your recycled swimwear should last as long as possible, and the longer you own it, the more sustainably it is produced.
How To Avoid Greenwashing In Sustainable Swimwear
A truly sustainable product extends beyond the actual product to the business's principles. Unfortunately, some companies may use the term "sustainable" as a hip, politically correct buzzword while in reality, their eco-credentials are far from stellar.
This practise is referred to as "greenwashing," and it's simpler than you might think to fall for the scam. To determine whether a business is actually sustainable or just doing a good job of pretending, look out for the following signs. It does take some effort to separate the good from the poor.
READ the entire product description. For instance, if something says it is "made of recycled plastic bottles," look at the proportion to determine if virgin polyester is still used.
AVOID purchasing "sustainable" products from fast-fashion stores. Whether or not that particular bikini claims to have prevented seven plastic bottles from ending up in landfills, if they are manufacturing apparel in large quantities, they are still polluting the environment.
The quality probably won't hold up to the needs of a swimsuit for scuba diving anyway, and there's a good likelihood that they're abusing their production workers.
ASK THE COMPANY IF THE PEOPLE MAKING THE PRODUCT ARE VALUED, AND SEEK TRANSPARENCY IN THEIR SUPPLY AND PRODUCTION
DON'T pick items designed with water-saving, low-impact colours.
DO examine the packaging the goods is being sent in. Look for references to few labelling and recyclable or compostable exterior packaging.
DON'T purchase something from a faraway country just because it is sustainable. Instead, give preference to local, sustainable brands whenever possible. To assist you, we've included below the locations of our favourite brands.
DO give brands that support diversity top priority. Sustainability is not just "greenwashed," but also "whitewashed," and we should be praising the companies that include people with different skin tones, larger frames, and impairments to reflect a varied spectrum of body types.
DO keep an eye out for companies that support environmental initiatives. The finest sustainable brands support environmental cleanups, conservation efforts, marine research, and government initiatives to have a longer-lasting positive impact on the health of our world.
When picking sustainable brands, these dos and don'ts should point you in the correct way. Although the price is typically more, you'll be aware that you've chosen products of superior quality that will benefit the environment and last longer, reducing your overall consumption.
Ethical And Sustainable Swimwear Brand List
1. Woodlike Ocean
- Style - Econyl, bikinis, one-pieces, surf and yoga
- Country - Germany
I've known Woodlike Ocean for a while now, and they have developed significantly. I can attest that the quality is outstanding. They have adorable, well-fitting, and incredibly comfortable styles. They offer a set that you may use for yoga, surfing, or swimming in addition to swimming.
- Style - Econyl, recycled polyester
- Country - Australia
Baiia was founded by Amber, and they have the most adorable, adaptable bathing suit you can think of. The swimming suit comes in a variety of colours and styles and may be worn in a variety of ways.
Therefore, for this price, you actually get more than one bathing suit. So I'd highly suggest checking out Baiia if you're searching for a gorgeous swimming suit.
- Style - Made from Recycled plastic bottles
- Country - Canada
Two ladies who wished to see change founded Londre. They sought to produce the most attractive, high-quality swimwear with the least negative environmental impact.
90,000 plastic bottles from Taiwan's streets and beaches have already been repurposed by Londre into their line of eco-friendly swimwear. The recycled plastic bottle fashions are pretty and adorable!
4. Vitamin A Swim
- Style - EcoLux, EcoRib, EcoTec and BioSCulpt, also extended sizes
- Country - United States
A player with a long history, Vitamin A began operations in 2000. Designer Amahlia formerly collaborated on a project with environmentalist and founder of Patagonia Yvon Chouinard.
She draws inspiration from the modern muses who buy her creations and the beach glamour of the 1970s. Together with factories in Canada, Italy, and California, she created the EcoLux fabric, which is comprised of recycled nylon. What a badass babe.
5. Natasha Tonic
- Style - Hemp swimwear!
- Country - United States
Designer Natasha wants things to be different. No more microplastics is exactly what we want to see. I adore her fight against polyester and plastic, and she demonstrates that we are capable of thinking outside the box.
6. Mara Hoffman
- Style - Econyl, Amni Soul Eco, designer, also extended sizes
- Country - United States
Mara Hoffman is a designer brand that values quality work and aesthetics. She makes use of cutting-edge textiles like Econyl and Amni Soul Eco. They seek to create awareness, lessen effect, and design and manufacture with greater care. They also offer a few lovely versions in larger sizes!
7. Clo Stories
- Style - Econyl, cute, vintage-inspired
- Country - Spain
On my Instagram, I keep seeing more and more of this brand. A sustainable brand from Barcelona is called Clo Stories. I would describe their designs as modern but vintage-inspired. Some of their swimwear is even reversible! Very cool.
Tips On How To Take Care Of Swimwear
The swimming suits and bikinis with the longest lifespans are the most environmentally friendly! Swimwear needs to be properly cared for if you want them to last a long time, but how exactly do we achieve this? Here are my top suggestions for maintaining your swimwear.
1. Hand Wash In Cold Soapy Water
Even if you only wore your swimsuit for sunbathing, it is recommended to wash it immediately away. Chlorine is then moving in to finish the job.
Colors may fade and threads may weaken. Additionally, bodily oils like sunscreen and others might harm your swimwear. According to reports, lotion and oil formulas based on minerals are particularly skilled at generating subtle stains and yellowing.
Never use hot water to rinse your swimsuit since it will damage the fabric. Use a block of gentle hand soap or sensitive detergent instead. Use a Guppyfriend Bag to trap microfibers whenever you do wish to use the washing machine.
2. Lay Flat Out To Dry, Out Of Direct Sunlight
Do not wring out your swimsuit, even though you might enjoy doing so! To remove the majority of the water, tightly roll it in a towel for a short period of time. After that, put the pieces flat to dry; do not hang them! Additionally, be careful to avoid direct sunshine, which might fade the colour.
3. Switch Them Up
Elastane requires time to heal. Your swimwear needs time to recover its shape (just like we need some time to get back in shape). Changing your swimsuit while on vacation will unquestionably help it keep its shape.
4. Watch Out For Mold
It's crucial to store your dry swimwear in a dry location with regular circulation and ventilation in order to prevent moisture from accumulating in clothing. Additionally, avoid keeping wet swimwear in your towel for as extended period of time.
5. Don’t Sit On It
It would be unfortunate if sitting on wood or other hard surfaces tore the fabric. Sand and dirt should also be avoided because they might be abrasive.
The Future of Sustainable Swimwear Fabric
Every fabric made from plastic, including nylon and polyester, releases harmful microplastics into the water. Not good!
But hold onto hope—both customers and designers can influence change! Since the future of sustainable fabrics is uncertain, it's critical to continually look for fresh possibilities.
Believe it or not, cutting-edge research being conducted in labs all around the world will lead to progress. For instance, new breakthroughs in the production of bio-nylon from plant oils are currently taking place.
This product will be the first 100% sustainable swimwear fabric available when it is finished and ready to be released! Of course, it'll be a while yet. But when it is, it will revolutionise the market for sustainable swimwear textiles.