With so many new innovations within the textiles industry, consumers no longer have to compromise on style when it comes to their wardrobe. With summer around the corner, here are the best fabrics to look out for when it comes to sustainable swimwear
Currently, the vast majority of swimsuits on the market are made from synthetic fabrics. This is mostly due to the fact that the fashion industry is constantly churning out new trends so it’s more cost-effective. In addition, synthetic fabrics have performance properties that enable swimsuits to have the necessary stretch and durability, as well as making them resistant to sunlight, saltwater, and chlorine.
Although practical, synthetic fabrics come at a high cost to the environment. They require high amounts of energy and petroleum for their production, contributing to the accumulation of non-biodegradable waste.
Luckily, the textile industry is constantly brainstorming new ways to advance recycled and regenerated, making high-performance swimwear sustainable.
What are the best fabrics to use when designing swimwear? Read on to find out.
What is Repreve fiber? Made by Unifi, Repreve is a fiber made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. Repreve uses an advanced tracing technology that verifies its recycled content claims in order to guarantee the authenticity of the recycled content in its fabrics. Unifi is a global textile solutions company that has recycled over 16 billion plastic bottles to date.
How’s it made? First, Unifi collects the plastic bottles where they are then sorted, cleaned, and chopped into flakes before getting sent to the recycling center. The Repreve recycling center is one of the most advanced recycling facilities in the United States. Here, the bottle flakes are transformed into the Repreve chips where they are blended, melted, and extruded into a fiber.
The end result is a unique fiber with high-performance capabilities like moisture-wicking, thermal regulation, cushioning, and resilience. Finally, the fiber is turned into fabric and cut and sewn into a wide range of products suitable for apparel and automotive interiors. With a UV protection of factor 50 and competitive quality, it’s hard to believe that Repreve fiber is made from plastic bottles.
Recycled polyester has boomed in popularity due to recent innovations and the increasing exposure of plastic waste being dumped in our oceans and landfills. Normal polyester is the furthest thing from sustainable, using vast amounts of water, chemicals, and fossil fuels.
Recycled polyester is much better for the climate as it requires 73% less CO² emissions than virgin polyester. Brands that opt for the recycled alternative don’t lose any of the durability or strength of regular polyester, and it also massively reduces the ecological impact.
Read here to learn more about the differences between conventional polyester and Repreve fiber.
Econyl® is a type of regenerated nylon recovered from landfills and oceans. Made via a circular process, Econyl® goes beyond the conventional process in which clothes are normally recycled. By using regeneration, Econyl® ensures that the upcycled fabric is exactly the same as virgin nylon. The renewed material has new qualities and can be recycled an infinite amount of times and recycled into new products.
Econyl® was launched in 2011 by the company Aquafil Global, a leading manufacturer of nylon 6, also known as polyamide 6. With a long history in manufacturing, Aquafil was founded in 1956. Its CEO Giulio Bonzazi believes that “Either you become sustainable or you will have to exit from the business”. The fabric minimizes the impact of global warming by nylon by up to 90% when compared with conventional nylon made from oil.