If you’re anything like me, you live in your swimsuit. While some girls are obsessed with shoes, I’m obsessed with bikinis. And rightly so, as I spend most of my time on the water. Unfortunately, each year 70 million barrels of crude oil are used to produce virgin stretch fabric, the material most bikinis are made from. Why use such harsh and environmentally destructive products when there are alternatives? Here, we’ve rounded up seven sustainable swimwear companies that not only make function suits, but suits that are good for the planet.
Owners Kelley Chapman and Anna Lieding are long-time ocean lovers and both are passionate about leading the high-end swimwear industry to more sustainable practices. The Maui based company uses sustainable techno-fabric created from regenerated nylon—they’ve partnered with Carvico and Econyl to ensure their materials are top-notch. Econyl creates the yarn from 100% regenerated nylon fibre from fishnets and other nylon waste and Carvico weaves the yarn into soft swimwear fabric. When compared with traditional fabrics, Econyl yarns used 2/3 less energy, less water, reduces global crude oil extraction, reduces air, water, and soil contamination, and recovers nylon waste from around the world.
Akua Oceanwear was founded in mid-2016 when owner Zoe Strap, felt that her Environmental Science degree wasn’t being put to good use. Akua is committed to protecting the environment through every step of production and so has a “plastic free” policy. Plastic serves as a huge threat to marine life, so Strapp implemented the policy in an effort to reduce Akua’s impact as well as raise awareness on the detrimental effects plastics can have. To protect the suits, Akua uses 100% biodegradable organic bags, packs the suits in re-usable swimwear bags, mails them in fully recyclable paper postage bags, and prints all labels on recycled paper. At the moment, the suits themselves aren’t made from sustainable fabrics, but instead are made from regular, high-quality fabrics. Strapp has provided the funding for Akua Oceanwear entirely on her own, so she was unable to purchase costly recycled fabrics for her initial launch. However, thanks to the support from women worldwide, she has committed to making the 2017/18 summer collection from fully sustainable fabrics and couldn’t be more excited.