You might have noticed that there has been a huge rise in “sustainable swimwear” over the last year. Everyone from small independents (like us) to huge high street brands are using this terminology to describe their swimwear ranges.
But what does it mean? And how can you navigate through the tide of brands and products claiming to be “sustainable” to know which really are considering the planet, the people and their impact?
At Deakin and Blue we believe that good fitting swimwear is the most sustainable swimwear you can buy. Here’s why.
Lots of sustainable swimwear brands use ECONYL® - literally eco-nylon, a yarn made of regenerated post-consumer waste, ocean waste and industrial plastic. This yarn is amazing. Why? It has all the properties of virgin nylon and then some more too. In fact, because it’s been regenerated it is even more durable, long lasting, colour fast and resistant than standard nylon. So it’s a brilliant yarn for fabric manufacturers and swimwear brands to use because not only is it up to the job (chlorine resistant and so on) but it also has a good environmental impact.
But is it enough to use this yarn and to describe your swimwear as “sustainable"?
Why fit is key
At Deakin and Blue we believe that good-fitting swimwear is the most sustainable swimwear you can buy. Why? Because if a swimsuit feels incredible on, holds you in all the right places, and survives pool dip after sea dip after pool dip, then you'll still want to wear it next year and the year after: and that's the most sustainable swimsuit you can own.
The average consumer wears each item of clothing they buy just seven times before it makes its way into landfill (even if it stays in the wardrobe for many years). So unfortunately the fashion industry isn't solving some of the biggest issues created by modern consumer behaviour by simply replacing a virgin yarn with a regenerated one. And, what's more, doing this and describing a swimwear range as "sustainable" risks masking the real issues at hand. We have to ask ourselves: is it really "sustainable" to manufacture millions of units of products many of which will end up in landfill within 18 months, even if they have been made from a regenerated fibre?
What to look out for
If you're keen to buy a sustainable piece of clothing then there are a number of things to consider, beyond the marketing jargon:
1. What is it made of?
Is the item made of a natural fibre (such as cotton) or a synthetic one (like nylon)? If it is synthetic, does the fabric repurpose existing fibres to avoid generating new synthetic fibres? Words to look out for are "regenerated" and "recycled". Conscientious brands will also look beyond the fabric of the immediate garment and think about the fibres and fabrics used in packaging and merchandising - can they reduce their single-use plastics for example?
At Deakin and Blue we use 100% reusable and recyclable packaging materials to avoid harming the environment and even our tissue paper uses soy-based ink. We don't pack our products in plastic bags and we don't use plastic tags to merchandise them. Instead we use biodegradeable alternatives and cotton tags.
2. Where was it made?
Was the product made in a regulated factory where the disposal of chemicals and the treatment of their staff is audited? Look out for brands who share the stories of where their clothes are made on their website and social media. If they don't, then use Fashion Revolution Week to ask them #WhoMadeMyClothes?
At Deakin and Blue we partner with Oeko-Tex® certified suppliers, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturers and partners who pay fairly, use chemicals safely and minimise waste where possible. We regularly take you behind the scenes with us on our social media channels - see what we're up to @deakinandblue.
3. Does it fit me? And do I love it?
Good fitting clothes change the way we stand, sit and feel. They can transform an outfit and help us to feel comfy in our own skin. But what's more - we wear them again and again and again - much more than the average seven times that fashion items are typically worn.
With swimwear, good fit can be the difference between wandering around the pool feeling totally relaxed and having to adjust your bottoms or your top every time you emerge from the water. Ask yourself: does the swimsuit or bikini sit firmly enough as you move to avoid being incident free, without being constrictive? And does the fabric and design give enough support and shape where you want it - be it your bust, tummy or bum? If the item does all of these things then you're much more likely to keep wearing it and in doing so, you reduce the number of items that get added to landfill.
Keeping "sustainability" simple
At Deakin and Blue we've talked about sustainability since the beginning of our journey. We consider our impact on the people we work with and the environment in every decision we make: from the dyes we use, to the wages and working conditions of our machinists, to the use of single-use plastics in our packaging and so on. We'll never compromise on any of these decisions and you can read more about them on our Sustainability page.
However, more importantly and more simply than this we make really good products which feel amazing on and are designed to last. We believe that fit is fundamental to this - that if you feel incredible in your swimsuit or bikini that you'll wear it again and again and again. And when it's finally come to the end of its life, we trust you'll come back to us - not just because we are "sustainable" but because when you own a brilliant, well-fitting product, you can be sustainable too.