As ethical and sustainable fashion movements gain steam, startups and even legacy brands like Speedo are producing swimwear made from recycled materials. The fashion industry has been criticized for how it produces clothing quickly and cheaply. The swimwear category is no different.
But as the ethical and sustainable fashion movements gain steam, many startups are producing swimwear in nontraditional ways - using what they say are more ecologically sound materials. Even a legacy brand as massive as Speedo is beginning to sell sustainable swimwear made from recycled materials.
Speedo recently debuted its PowerFLEX swimwear collection. It is completely made with ECONYL Nylon 6, a fabric made from “end-of-life waste material,” such as old carpets and abandoned fishing nets. Speedo claims the swimsuits are sturdier, lasting ten times longer than traditional swimwear. Speedo’s leftover manufacturing scraps are upcycled by the nylon manufacturer Aquafil into ECONYL nylon, diverting it from the landfill. These scraps are normally not reused as their composition is too complex, but ECONYL process blends those scraps with other fibers to create this fabric.
If swimwear industry giant Speedo changes the way they make swimsuits, will it become the fashion? So far, other big names like Adidas and the luxury lingerie label La Perla use ECONYL fabric too.