The weather is getting warmer, and the days are growing longer. Now that travel is finally back on schedule, many of us are dreaming of seaside vacations. Sand and sun and relaxation. Sounds great!
However, over the pandemic period, many more issues have bubbled to the surface of our collective consciousness—one of them being the climate crisis. So, while many of us want to freshen up our vacation wardrobes, we also want to ensure that what we’re paying for has the smallest environmental impact possible.
It’s true that thrifting is one of the best ways you can shop sustainably, but secondhand items like undergarments and swimwear may be a bit too… intimate for some conscious consumers. Well, don’t worry! If you’re in the market for some sustainable swimwear, these are the fabrics you can conscientiously buy.
If you have already been on the hunt for the perfect eco-friendly bikini, then you may have already come across Econyl, made from recycled fishnets. There are hundreds of thousands of tons of fishing gear polluting our oceans every year, so it only makes sense to collect that waste and turn it into usable fabric. Econyl is the most well-known sustainable swimwear fabric right now.
However, it’s worth noting that this fabric is still made out of plastic. While it is a huge plus that it’s made of recycled waste from landfills and oceans, the fabric can still release microfibers when washed. This is where good fabric habits can help you to maintain it carefully. To minimize this issue, avoid tossing your Econyl swimsuits in the washing machine and opt for handwashing instead.
Woodlike Ocean, Casa Reki, and Mara Hoffman are a few brands that use Econyl in their sustainable swimwear lines.
Amni soul eco
This material, created by the Belgian company Solvay, is comprised of a biodegradable polyamide that allows bacteria to gain access to and actually digest the waste materials. This accelerates its biodegradation process to five years (in comparison to other fibers that take decades to fully decompose) once the suit has lost its sparkle.
Aurai Swim and Made Trade are a couple of brands that use Amni soul eco in their sustainable swimwear.
This fabric is made out of recycled plastic bottles. To foster a relationship of trust between the consumer and Unifi, the global textile solutions company that created Repreve, Unifi offers tracing technology that verifies their recycled content claims. So far, the company has recycled over 20 billion bottles.
Mara Hoffman, Seea, and Vitamin A are all brands that use Repreve in their sustainable swimwear collections.
Hemp is one of the most versatile and sustainable natural fabrics out there. It’s grown without pesticides, enriches the soil, and absorbs CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. Other accolades of hemp include its anti-microbial quality, UV resistance, and durability, all of which means that it won’t be infused with harsh chemicals that companies use to make synthetic fabrics anti-microbial, UV resistant, and chlorine resistant.
Natasha Tonic also uses hemp in its sustainable swimwear collections.
Yulex is a sustainable alternative to neoprene, which is a slick-looking fabric often used in wetsuits. While neoprene is a synthetic type of rubber comprised of limestone or petroleum, Yulex offers a plant-based material that is soft, supple, lightweight, and stretchy.
While Neoprene is made in factories, Yulex uses only natural rubber that is derived from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Natural rubbers come from hevea trees, which absorb carbon through their lifespan and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent.
With Yulex, it’s extremely important to ensure that it’s coming from a responsible source, as deforestation is a potential downside to this fabric.
Patagonia, Finisterre, and Slo Active all use Yulex in their sustainable swimwear lines.