There have been exciting innovations in the fashion industry when it comes to sustainability. Brands are beginning to experiment with new fabrics and materials that have a lower impact on the environment. This includes new and exciting types of swimwear fabrics.
It’s no secret that the fashion industry is a large contributor to climate change. In fact, it accounts for 10% of annual global carbon emissions. Year-over-year consumer demand has increased within the fashion industry with the advent of fast fashion. The average consumer purchases 60% more clothing than they did in 2000. With this increase in demand, the industry is on track to increase carbon emissions more than 50% by 2030.
There is still hope, though. The industry is coming under more scrutiny and work is being done to evaluate and implement measures for decreasing carbon emissions. Fashion brands and manufacturers can take varying measures throughout their operations to chip away at their environmental impact.
McKinsey & Company identified 3 main areas of impact in their report Fashion on Climate. The first and largest area is by improving upstream operations through things like improving efficiency or transitioning to renewable energy. The second area is through operational improvements like using better materials and ethical labor. The final area is also maybe the hardest to control - consumer behaviour. The fashion industry will have to address all areas as they take a closer look at sustainability.
Of those areas, operational improvements are one of the most salient. Consumers are beginning to become more conscious about what goes into manufacturing their favourite products. When evaluating potential purchases, many are considering sustainability on top of the usual criteria of durability, quality, and style.
HIGH FASHION EMBRACING SUSTAINABILITY
In recent years, we have seen high fashion begin to embrace eco-friendly designs and make sustainability a priority. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting has become a large part of long-term business performance. This framework analyses the impact of a company on the environment, the measures taken for social responsibility, and how well the organisation is managed. In today’s world, consumers want brands and companies to respond and take action towards more positive environmental and social change. A company’s ability to tide these expectations has become an indicator of stability.
In 2021, Chloe became the first luxury brand to earn a B Corp Certification. To be certified, companies must answer a 300-question questionnaire about their sustainability efforts. Based on their answers, they are given a score and must meet a certain threshold to be given the certification. With greenwashing prevalent in the fashion industry, this is a meaningful certification signifying Chloe’s commitment to being an eco-friendly brand.
Stella McCartney is one high fashion brand that has also whole-heartedly embraced sustainability into their mission. Known for edgy and chic clothing, they have also become known for using new and innovative sustainable materials in their designs. Their Frayme Mylo bag is the first luxury handbag made from mycelium, aka fungus. This alternative to leather is also an alternative to petroleum-based synthetic materials.
Another fashion house embracing sustainability is Prada. Nylon is a hallmark of the brand with bags, clothing, and accessories made of the durable material. Nylon, however, is a synthetic material made using large amounts of water and fossil fuels. In 2019, Prada launched the Re-Nylon collection. In partnership with Italian textile company Aquafil, they began using a recycled nylon fabric called ECONYL® regenerated nylon. This material is sourced from waste that is regenerated into like-new nylon. Since its launch, the Prada Re-Nylon line has been expanded to ready-to-wear, accessories, and footwear.
SUSTAINABLE MODERN SWIMWEAR FABRICS
One way fashion brands can improve sustainability is through their fabric choices. Nowadays, clothes can be made from all sorts of fabrics - and some are definitely better than others for the environment. Picking swimwear can already be a daunting task without having to consider the material it is made out of. Luckily, new fabrics are being developed that are ideal for swimwear. Here are a few sustainable fabrics that are good options:
Hemp may seem like an unusual choice for swimwear, but it is a great natural alternative. When mixed with a little elastic, it can be made into a very comfortable swimsuit fabric that has good UV protection and does not shed any microplastic. Compared to cotton, another natural material, it uses 1/4 as much water yet yields 250% percent more fiber. This makes it a low impact natural alternative for women who want a bathing suit for leisurely activities.
☼ RECYCLED POLYESTER
Another synthetic option for eco friendly brands is recycled polyester. Regular polyester has a huge carbon footprint and uses massive amounts of water, chemicals, and fossil fuels to make. Recycled polyester, however, is more environmentally friendly. It doesn’t use any new petroleum and generates 75% less CO2 emissions. Using recycled polyester allows you to have the same durability with a much lower impact on the environment.
☼ ECONYL® REGENERATED NYLON
A synthetic material that has revolutionised the market is ECONYL® regenerated nylon. It is a recycled nylon fabric that can be used to make many different kinds of clothing items. As mentioned above, it is already a favourite of top brands like Prada who are using it for their Re-Nylon collection. It’s special because the process not only recycles but regenerates the nylon. This makes it as good as new and also infinitely recyclable.
ECONYL® regenerated yarn is sourced primarily from waste destined for landfills. Old carpets, fishing nets, and manufacturing waste are all collected and converted into revolutionary material. Because it is made from recycled materials, every 10,000 tons of Econyl created saves 70,000 barrels of crude oil and 65,100 tons of CO2 emissions.
BENEFITS OF RECYCLED FABRICS
So which eco-friendly swimsuit fabric is best for your swimwear? There’s no universal answer: it depends on you and your lifestyle. Most people want a cute bikini that is made from a high-quality fabric, fits them well, and makes them feel good. Recycled nylon and polyester fabrics in particular are the more sustainable options that are well-suited for swimwear.
Recycled fabrics offer some unique benefits. On top of using less energy and not relying on raw materials, recycled fabrics also divert plastic waste from landfills. Because plastic does not decompose, extending the lifecycle of existing plastic is one of the best ways to reduce its impact on the environment.
Recycled nylon and polyester fabrics are also very durable. This is especially important for bathing suits since there is potential for them to be exposed to water, sun, chlorine, and saltwater. With the right care, you can have a swimsuit for years. Having a bathing suit that holds up can curb your consumption of new fashion swimwear.
For eco-friendly brands, using recycled swimwear fabrics is an effective way to improve sustainability efforts. With more and more innovations and the development of new fabrics, using recycled fabrics could be a positive transition for brands to make.
There are still large strides to be made in the fashion industry when it comes to reducing its environmental impact. The rise of eco-conscious fashion, however, is a hopeful sign that things are improving. New fabrics and manufacturing practices are being created and explored by all types of brands. At Koraru, we have used ECONYL® regenerated nylon from the beginning, as creating beautiful sustainable swimwear was always our goal as a slow fashion brand. Discover our swimwear collection here to find the right eco-friendly option for you. Our women’s swimwear comes in a wide array of fits and sizes, and you can find the ideal suit for lounging by the pool, taking a dip in the ocean, or any other activity!
As a consumer, you can make an impact by making deliberate, sustainable, and impactful purchases. By buying clothes that you will wear, that are made by eco-friendly brands, and that you intend to have for a long time can help curb the rise in consumer demand for fast fashion. In fact, matching aesthetics is one of the most important parts of making sustainable purchases. The best way to ensure something stays in your wardrobe and out of landfills is to purchase clothes that match your aesthetic. Durable pieces that can stand the test of time will always be the best things to buy for your personal wardrobe.
When it comes to regenerated swimwear fabrics, there are plenty of new options for you on the market. Keep your eyes out for stunning women's swimsuits made from recycled synthetic materials to get the same durability and fit that you love, without the extra strain on our environment.