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What could be better than long-lasting, perfect-fitting sustainable swimwear? Bikinis that handle rough waves and calm seas while at the same time protecting them? When it comes to swimwear, it’s about our passion for water and being comfortable in what we wear by the ocean all day, every day. As well as being comfortable and naturally shaping our bodies, swimwear should be sustainably made to protect our beloved oceans.
What is Considered Sustainable Swimwear?
Retail is one of the industries that has the biggest impact on the environment, especially through fast fashion and overconsumption. We may be tempted to buy several new bikinis before jetting off on a beach holiday, but greener choices are crucial in today’s world and more and more we are discovering that less is more.
A good way to calculate the sustainability value of a piece of clothing is to divide its price by the number of times it is worn before it fails. As well as being better for our wallets, the more durable clothing is, the more sustainable. All in all, the cost of investing in fast fashion far outweighs making the switch to slow fashion. Even if a sustainable bikini has a slightly higher price, it can be enjoyed for much longer and has a lower impact on the environment. But how can you tell if a bikini is sustainable? At The Fair Cottage we only partner with the most conscious and ethical brands; you can find out about the products we stock, where they come from and the materials used in their production, helping you to make more conscious decisions.
Sustainable Swimwear Materials
Unfortunately, swimwear has traditionally been made out of virgin synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, polyurethane, or a blend thereof. These kinds of materials are extremely harmful to the environment as they demand massive amounts of energy, intensive chemicals and petroleum during the production process. These materials lead to non-biodegradable byproducts and the brands using them often give little thought to marine conservation. It’s a high price to pay for swimwear with stretch and resistance qualities.
Fortunately, the innovation of recycled synthetic and natural fibres now offers alternative fabrics that protect the oceans while offering comparable comfort. Material recovered from discarded fishing nets, which account for almost 10% of all ocean pollution, can be converted into recycled nylon yarns for Econyl, a material used in the production of Swimwear from Swim Against.
We celebrate Swim Against for its journey towards sustainability that goes hand in hand with the sea and an active lifestyle. All their pieces are handmade by the designer in Barcelona, with local production cutting supplier and distribution distances and significantly reducing carbon emissions. Another forward-thinking brand using Ecocyl in the production of its garments is Woodlike, whereas the brand Natalia Tonic prefers natural fabrics of organic origin such as bamboo, cotton or hemp as the main elements in its swimwear.
Women’s Surfwear that Stays Fixed Through the Waves
For watersports such as surfing, swimwear should keep everything fixed in place, supporting us in our movements without being too restrictive. A standard triangle bikini would be lost in the first big wave we encounter, so specialized surfwear with tested sports designs, wider bands and high-quality fabric is a must.
One type of surfwear that clings to you through the waves is made by Zealous. Crafting a new generation of women’s surfwear, Zealous was founded in Hamburg by a true lover of surf and clothing design. The brand focuses on elaborate fits and sustainability while offering a range of sizes. When it comes to corporate social responsibility, the conscious brand is extremely picky about where it produces and the conditions for garment workers. Manufacturing is based in Bali where the founder lived for four years, visiting factories and drawing on her background in clothing engineering to find the right partners. Besides surf bikinis, there is also an apparel line inspired by adventurous lifestyles.
Surf Leggings made by Zealous can be your best buddy, providing protection, versatility and comfort. The fabric is made for water, but they are also perfect for other sports such as hiking, yoga and workouts; a one piece multiple use solution which allows for less luggage when travelling and reduces your impact on the planet. For information on other surf accessories that protect the seas, check out our 5 essential eco surf accessories article.
What to do With Old Swimwear
Once we have fully enjoyed our dear swim- and surfwear through countless beaches and waves, we would ideally like to send them off with some dignity. As most of the swimwear garments are made out of non-biodegradable, mixed materials, there are not many options for recycling, even if the garments themselves were originally produced from recycled material. Unless your swimwear brand has an afterlife programme, we suggest being creative and coming up with ways to upcycle the material, just like the brand Big Raven does with their super-cool upcycled Surf Poncho.
As The Fair Cottage strives for change and radical transparency, only trustworthy brands with comparative values are carefully selected for you. We believe information is crucial for making conscious decisions that are aligned with your values. We also stand for swimwear that fits real people of all shapes, sizes and shades.
Tag @Thefaircottage on Instagram to share your experience of sustainable swimwear or upcycling solutions.