Reduce, reuse, recycle. Like a lot of sayings, it’s a phrase that’s used so much it’s almost lost its meaning. But, for us as all consumers and for us at D&B as producers, this simple mantra is as meaningful as ever for sustainability.
Even the order of the three Rs is important. Reducing the amount of stuff we consume is our first line of defence against environmental damage. By buying less, we contribute less waste – from the by-products of the production process, to transport, to what ends up in landfill.
This is tricky in a consumer-based culture. Even though people are getting more switched on to the damage of fast-fashion and more motivated to consume wisely, we still living in a society where we’re encouraged to buy, buy, buy.
At D&B, we want you to buy our swimwear otherwise we wouldn’t exist. But we also want to give our customers opportunities to be sustainable consumers, and so we're doing things differently from other swimwear brands. For a start, we design ‘timeless’ pieces so that our swimwear isn’t dictated by passing trends. We also design our swimwear to last as long as possible therefore reducing the amount of swimwear you buy. But how long will it last? And how can you extend its life?
How many miles?
We asked some long-standing customers a tricky question: how many miles have you swum in your D&B?
Amazingly, Mary managed to come up with a number. An incredible woman, Mary shared her Body Story about surviving cancer and going on to swim the North Channel in her Signature Swimsuit.
“I guess I have swum about 1500 miles wearing it and it still looks brand new with no signs of wear,” she says. “It’s been all over the United Kingdom from hidden sea coves in Pembrokeshire to the majestic Wastwater in the Lake District. My best adventure in my Deakin & Blue swimsuit was when I crossed the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland. I look back on those pictures and feel proud of what we achieved together.”
For Rowan, it’s more about time than distance. Having owned her original D&B swimsuit for five years, she’s swum in every kind of water imaginable.
“I lusted after my first D&B for ages until my mum and sister bought for my birthday in 2018,” she says. “As a swimming coach and teacher, I used to get through so many swimsuits – chlorine destroyed them. But my D&B hardly shows any signs of wear. I’ve taught in it, worn it in rivers, lakes, sea, pools, spas, worn it under a wetsuit and even with a pair of fishnets for a fancy dress relay race. I'd say that it's lasted as long as about six to eight ordinary costumes.”
Fabric and function
The longevity of our swimwear is down to two things: design and fabric. We design each piece to be comfortable, functional and beautiful – current trends aren’t a consideration. That means you can use your D&B for swimming, surfing, paddleboarding and mucking around on the beach.
The fabric is as important as the design. We chose Econyl because it’s made from recycled plastic waste like fishing nets, but also because it’s tough and flexible. Our fabric is also resistant to chemicals like chlorine and sun cream and it’s either double-bonded (two sheets fused together) or double layered.
“It’s about changing our relationship with our swimwear,” says D&B founder Rosie Cook. “Instead of buying new swimwear every year, you have a piece that lasts and lasts. You look after it, you enjoy it and you get it repaired if it gets damaged.
“Our pieces are classic in design and we don’t launch lots of new designs. This helps break that fast-fashion mentality of having something new every summer or every holiday. They’re also made from fabrics that are twice as resistant to chlorine, sun cream and oil as standard Lycra® so that our swimsuits last.”
And the proof comes from you. Ella was one of our first customers. Editor of Outdoor Swimmer magazine and founder of swim guiding company, The Dip Advisor, Ella has well and truly wear-tested her D&B swimsuit.
“I’m fortunate to have a number of swimming costumes, including one that I made myself,” says Ella. “But the D&B Signature suit is my go-to choice. I love the colour, which has remained bright and vibrant despite multiple swims in chlorine, salt water and questionable murky water! The robust fabric around my widest part makes me feel supported, the mesh adds style but also survived larking around in waterfalls, rolling about in waves and on long distance swims. In the summer last year, I did about 36k of guided swims in a couple of months. It has even survived the tugs and grabs from an excited 7-year-old while in the water.”
Fix up and swim on
To improve the longevity of our swimwear and answer the second of the three Rs, we offer repairs during the first year of owning your D&B so that you can reuse your swimsuit – even if you damage it yourself.
“I’m a terrible gardener and accidentally snagged my precious D&B on brambles growing by my washing line,” says Rowan. “I emailed to ask about how I could repair it, and Rosie asked me to send it to her so she could get it fixed. Amazing!”
Finally, if and when your swimwear has swum its last swim, you can send it back to us to be recycled as part of our Swimcycle scheme. Because our fabric is made from recycled nylon, that means we can put it back into that process.
Make it last
So how can you help your swimsuit last? Rosie has these simple care tips to get the most miles possible from your D&B: