3 sustainable swimwear brands to make a dive for this summer
Never has fashion’s devastating impact on our oceans been more visible. Take Stella McCartney and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Circular Fibres Initiative’, a report released last November, assessing the devastating environmental impact of the textile industry, which estimates that by 2050, 22 trillion tones of synthetic microfibres will have been released into the oceans. As the fashion industry comes to terms with its polluting manufacturing methods, a spectrum of swimwear brands are making waves with their sustainable approach to design, working with Econyl, a regenerated nylon yarn, produced from the nylon waste which spills out of landfills and clogs up our oceans.
From its laboratory in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Econyl’s specialist team melt down discarded plastic components, carpeting and tangled fishnets, rebuilding a new nylon fibre of the same performance and quality as its synthetic counterpart. This manufacturing proces encourages a circular economy, as Econyl can be remoulded and regenerated again and again. Here, we take a closer look at Elliss, Arket and Galamaar – three swimwear brands working with this revolutionary fibre – worth making a dive for this summer.
Galamaar S/S 2018
LA-based designer Blakely Wickstrom founded her sustainable swimwear label Galamaar in 2017. Her creations – which include swimming costumes with sensual cutouts, and bikinis with metal hoop details, in tropical blues and maroons – are all locally produced. Galamaar’s designs are constructed using a blend of Econyl, combined with Vita Xtra Life Lycra fibre for added stretch. Wickstrom also plans to amp up her environmental output by implementing a recycling programme, allowing customers to send in unwanted swimsuits, which will be passed on to Econyl for regeneration.
Arket S/S 2018
Swedish label Arket has a long term commitment to sustainability. The brand works with select mills in its manufacturing process, and its knitwear offering also boasts pieces made from recycled cashmere. Arket’s latest swimwear collection – one which features swimming costumes in berry and forest tones, and sporty colour blocked or spaghetti strapped bikinis – has been constructed using Econyl. The fibre, which retains nylon’s inherent strength and durability, provides lightweight and sun-and sea-resistant options for summer.
Elliss Collection IV
Central Saint Martin’s graduate Elliss Solomon launched her London-based label in 2017. Committed to sustainability from the outset, her brand is located in the same building as her suppliers, allowing its production process to maintain a low carbon footprint. Solomon works with organic cotton, hemp and bamboo; a ‘tonne of research’ into a sustainable fabric capable of producing printed swimwear led to her discovery of Econyl. Elliss’ simple swimming costumes and bikinis come complete with a landscape print, using images originally shot for a campaign by photographer Samuel Bradley. ‘The hills are placed to mimic the shape of a bikini brief,’ Solomon says. ’This follows and flatters the curves of the body.’