Why Did Recycled Swimsuits Become Popular?

Recycled swimwear is a current fashion that is gaining traction. The concept behind these suits is to turn leftover fabric from other items into swimwear.

Nowadays, people may choose to purchase or don recycled suits for a variety of reasons.

Some people might want the suit because it's sustainable and green, while others might just want a cheap choice that still fits their tastes in terms of appearance.

Swimsuits made of plastic? The answer is plastics. Swimwear has long favoured materials comprised of plastic fibres like nylon, polyester, and spandex. These materials have been employed by swimsuit designers to produce tight-fitting swimwear that dries rapidly and can withstand repeated dips in the ocean and pool.

In addition, modern recycling technologies make it possible to make swimwear materials from recycled plastic.

You might be surprised to learn that there are countless possibilities for recycled swimwear in the fashion industry.

There are countless. We don't see any need to ever purchase another swimsuit made of virgin plastic.

Historically, synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, and spandex have been used to make swimwear.

However, over the past 10 years, numerous recyclable fabrics using recycled nylon or polyester have been created. As a result, numerous eco-friendly swimwear companies are now using these green materials in their creations.

Although they contribute to environmental cleanup, these recycled swimwear materials function exactly like conventional fabrics.

A Brief History of Swimwear

In the middle of the 1800s, swimsuits as an idea were developed. Prior to then, the majority of people—especially men—bathed naked.

But when leisure activities became more accessible as a result of the expansion of the railway and other modes of transportation, swimsuits started to appear more frequently around the middle of the 1800s. Now it was much easier for people to travel to places like the beach.

The primary function of swimwear at the time was to conceal the human body, especially the feminine body.

A belted dress was worn with stockings and bloomers or pants in the early days instead of what we would consider swimwear today.

Men were also prohibited from taking naked baths during this same time period in the middle of the 1800s, obviously to much controversy!

Men's first swimwear consisted of one-piece, shoulder-to-knee bathers with a little skirt for privacy.

For both men and women, these early swimsuits were constructed from thick materials like flannel, wool, or even hessian (or burlap). When wet, the textiles grew heavy, which might make swimming challenging.


Women in ancient Greece and Rome participated in sports while donning headscarves on their tops and bottoms, as depicted in the mosaics found in Villa Romana Del Casale.

The Victorians also prefered moderation in their forays into outdoor bathing due to their growing interest in spas; the first images of beachwear had women facing the surf in long gowns and shorts.

The amount of fabric required to visit the beach, however, rapidly decreased over the first half of the 20th century. An eventful journey that featured the 1907 arrest of Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman in Boston for donning a tighter, one-piece bathing suit despite the fact that it covered her from head to toe.

A few years later, in 1913, stylist Carl Jantzen unveiled a two-piece consisting of shorts and a fitted top, but initially the business and the public weren't particularly accepting of it.

As the 1920s rolled around, society began to feel that exposing more skin than usual was less adventurous.

The back and sides gained not only space but also significant exposure during the 1930s.

The definition of what was an acceptable suit changed constantly, starting with the stunning cut-out swimsuits by Claire McCardell and continuing with the appearance of stars like Jayne Mansfield, Rita Hayworth, and Ava Gardner as well as countless pinups and showgirls in more revealing one-of-a-kind pieces and, increasingly, two-piece suits.

However, The Hays Code, a set of regulations that went into effect in Hollywood in 1934 and forbade the showing of the belly button in movies, was in place at the time. That required the two-bottom piece's to extend to the waist.


The belly button wouldn't be seen until after World War II. Two designers made innovative swimsuits during the summer of 1946. Louis Réard and Jacques Heim showed up with quite similar goals. It took some time for the new pieces to be adopted successfully because they were challenging for the social imaginary of the period.

Many beaches initially prohibited the costume. But over time, it crept into movies, artwork, and eventually many people's daily lives all across the world.

The modern swimsuit gained more popularity after a bikini stopped the cinema business in 1962. One of James Bond's films, Dr No, featured Ursula Andress as the lead.

Andress's white bikini was a historical landmark and a big success. A massive white British Army belt with brass buckles and fittings can be seen on the lower portion of the two-piece, which also has a large knife scabbard on the left side.

Different swimsuits are used in different societies. Bikinis are typically a little bit smaller in Brazil. Men's shorts are shorter in Europe than they are in California. Beachwear comes in a variety of forms, colours, styles, and sorts to suit various personalities.

Design faults weren't ultimately fixed until swimming was included as an Olympic event in 1896.

Swimsuits that were more streamlined and lighter were created. Swimwear for men and women also evolved into being more form-fitting and looser throughout the early 1900s and beyond, with shorter lengths and sleeves being eliminated.

And in some cases, they even started to look good!

Recycled Swimwear FAQs

What is Swimwear Made From?

As we discussed earlier, the first swimsuits were composed of wool or flannel. Unfortunately, swimming would be challenging because these textiles would get heavy in the water.

Fortunately, throughout the early to mid-1900s, materials started to alter along with fashion trends.

New materials were created with characteristics better suited for the developing form-fitting swimsuits, and closer to what we see today.

As a result, materials like nylon and latex were utilised in the beginning while polyester, spandex, and other blended textiles were added a little later.

Let's review some of the main resources:


Nylon is a polymeric polymer in which amide bonds connect the monomers. It is also known as polyamide. However, unlike naturally occuring wool or silk, nylon is typically regarded as a synthetic or man-made polyamide.

Nylon is strong, absorbs moisture without holding it, and is ideal for clothing that fits closely.

It doesn't wrinkle and is silky and elastic. Nylon is utilised in a variety of everyday items in addition to apparel, including rope, thread, fishnets, draperies, combs, and, of course, stockings and tights.


Polyester is another synthetic plastic. Terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol are polymerised to create it. The plastic used to produce plastic water bottles, PET, or polythene terephthalate, is made of the same substance.

In addition to being strong and moisture-absorbing like nylon, polyester also keeps its form, is colorfast, and can withstand dampness and UV rays.

Fashion, activewear, and outerwear like coats and anoraks all frequently employ polyester. Additionally, it is utilised in textiles for duvets, soft furnishings or bedding, and even footwear.


Another synthetic fibre with a polymer foundation is spandex, which is made of polyurethane. It is also known as elastane or Lycra.

Spandex may be stretched to 5 to 8 times its original size, making it perfect for movement and swimming.

To increase its elasticity, spandex is frequently combined with other substances. Activewear, leggings, thin jeans, as well as underwear and socks, frequently employ it.


Elastic strips are frequently used to lend extra support to swimwear edges. Although spandex can be used, rubber or latex are often used to make elastic. To keep the rubber or latex together, it is weaved with nylon, cotton, or polyester.

Other fabrics

Various materials, such as neoprene, velvet, cotton crochet, other knitted fabrics, and mesh, are also used to build swimsuits. Additionally, you can discover swimwear manufactured from organic materials like cotton. However, they are frequently lined with nylon or polyester.

Why Use Recycled Fabrics

The majority of swimwear, including swim trunks, is comprised of plastic, as we discussed previously. Unfortunately, we now have too much plastic—as we're sure you are all aware—and too much of it cannot be recycled.

We face difficulties in dealing with textile waste, yet we must improve in this area for the following reasons:

  • In only the US, almost 17 million tonnes of textiles are produced annually.
  • A landfill receives more than 11 million tonnes of material because only 15% of it gets recycled.

Additionally, the manufacture of clothing is increasing. Consumers today purchase 60% more clothing than they did 15 years ago. Now, each article of clothes is kept for barely half as long.

It's true that purchasing recycled swimwear won't address every one of these problems. However, every little bit counts.

For instance, employing recycled materials rather than raw ones will cut down on the amount of plastic waste generated. Additionally, it conveys to the fashion business our need for change.

We should support swimsuit companies that use recycled material for still another reason. Many of these businesses support other ethical and environmental initiatives.

Through waterless dyeing, greener packaging, lower carbon footprints, and transparent and ethical production, they are working to lessen the impact of their brands, and our funding enables them to continue this work.

Furthermore, why not pick recycled when there are so many fantastic recycled swimwear options available?

Why Is Recycled Swimwear Important?

Sustainability is significant to eco-friendly firms not only for the sake of the environment but also for the longevity of their products.

Eco-friendly manufacturers can offer high-quality products that endure numerous washings while using less natural resources and more affordable recycled synthetics.

For instance, a lot of individuals are now interested in sustainable swimwear because of its capacity to withstand dirt accumulation and offer comfort all day.

What Is the Most Sustainable Swimwear Fabric?

The prefered material for eco-friendly swimwear is hemp. Hemp is one of the oldest fabrics still in use today, with uses in garments dating back to 2500 BC!

Upcycled materials are exactly what they sound like: clothing made from previously worn goods like old scarves or linens into something new and stylish. This is ideal if you want to save money without losing style.

Is Nylon or Polyester Better for Swimsuits?

Polyester dries faster than nylon because nylon absorbs more water. It is slightly stretchier, though, which makes it a great choice for aquatic activities. When it comes to appearance, nylon has a shiny sheen while polyester is more matte. Both polyester and nylon are comfortable, strong, and simple to maintain.

Recycled Swimwear Fabrics

Let's explore recycled swimwear textiles in more detail.

Historically, the spandex, nylon, and polyester used to produce modern swimsuits came from virgin materials.

Most of these fabrics are made in chemical factories utilising either coal or petroleum as raw materials.

Today, however, there are better alternatives. As an illustration, consider fabrics created from recycled plastic bottles (PET), such as Repreve, or recycled nylon swimwear materials like Econyl or EcoLux TM. The top three eco-friendly swimwear fabrics for swimsuits are listed below.


Econyl from Aquafil is recycled nylon created from used fishing nets, fabric remnants, carpeting, and industrial plastic.

To preserve the most nylon, the trash is first separated and cleaned. The nylon is then transformed back into its original state, just like virgin nylon.

Swimsuits and other innovative products made from recycled nylon are produced by designers for our enjoyment. The cycle can start over once they reach the end of their lives.


Repreve® by Unifi is another recycled swimsuit material. It is frequently referred to as recycled PET or rPET and is polyester manufactured from recycled plastic bottles.

PET, the same plastic used to produce polyester, is the material used to make plastic bottles. Over 20 billion plastic bottles have been recycled since Unifi founded Reprieve.


EcoLux, a recycled fabric manufactured from used nylon fibres, was developed by Vitamin A. Repreve recycled nylon and Xtra Life Lycra are combined to create EcoLux. The Xtra Life Lycra helps the fabric maintain its shape for a longer period of time, extending the lifespan of the swimwear. Summersalt uses a mixture that is comparable.

How to Create Recycled Plastics for Swimwear

Used plastic beverage bottles are refined into a soft but sturdy polyester thread and weaved into fabric to support the recycled swimsuit trends.

While this recycling method for winter fleece has grown ubiquitous, it is now applied to many different types of clothing. Or, for a softer feel and greater stretch, post-consumer nylon is refined into a thread and mixed with spandex.

In addition to looking wonderful, the resulting soft, lightweight materials find a new use for plastic by keeping it out of landfills. Your swimsuit may survive for several summers because these plastic fabrics are sturdy.

Brands Embracing Recycled Plastics Swimwear Fashion

Manufacturers of beachwear have embraced recycled plastics as part of a broader movement towards more environmentally friendly swimsuit design.

As a result, swimwear manufactured from recycled plastics is now sold at major retailers, making it simpler than ever to select a fashionable swimsuit that fits you and your more environmentally friendly way of living.

So embrace this eco-friendly swimsuit trend whether you're a surfer, competitive swimmer, beachgoer, or just someone who likes to tan in the backyard! Swimwear manufactured from recycled plastic can be good for the earth and your wardrobe.

Recycling Your Old Swimwear

The majority of swimsuits, including recycled swimwear, are constructed from blended fabrics, making recycling them more challenging.

We'll have to work hard to extend the lifespan of our suits while new methods for separating the various fibres are being developed.

Swimsuits and other clothing and fabrics that cannot be reused can be recycled (or down-cycled) into other products. They might be utilised as vehicle seat padding, shredded into shoddy, or made into rags.

Several ways for getting rid of your used swimsuit are listed below:

Swimwear Brands

To find out if they have a recycling programme or suggest other choices, get in touch with the business where you bought it.

For instance, brands that employ Econyl can accept your used swimwear for return. The cloth can also be returned to Aquafil for recycling.


Consider giving your swimsuit to a good cause if it is still in good condition.


Through their programme for used clothing, Patagonia will accept clothing back.

Apparel (was Manrags)

Now include a clothes recycling programme, they sell and recycle socks. Even your door-dropped clothing will be picked up by them. available only in Australia.


Here's our wrap-up.

  • The majority of swimwear is constructed from synthetic materials.
  • However, a lot of businesses are switching to eco-friendly polyester or nylon bikini fabrics.
  • They produce something useful in addition to assisting in the reduction of plastic waste.
  • There are various varieties of recycled swimwear fabric available, some of which are made of recycled nylon and some of which are made of recycled polyester.
  • Find the ideal suit for you as recycled swimwear comes in so many distinct styles that no one should ever need to purchase swimwear made of virgin plastic.

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