This summer, it’s not just about looking good, but also feeling good — for buying responsible clothing that makes a positive impact on the wellbeing of our environment. Sustainability is a hot topic in the fashion world, and conscious consumers today have the opportunity to choose from many products with a reduced environmental impact. Our partners — brands that are using ECONYL® material to make their clothes — are proving activewear and swimwear that can simultaneously be beautiful, durable and sustainable. With their help, we identified 5 fashion trends for sustainable swimwear of summer 2017.
Consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and are looking for the environmental footprint of the products that they buy. In the past, options to buy eco-friendly clothes have been limited. But with many renowned global fashion labels switching to a more sustainable mindset, eco-friendly fashion is now widely accessible.
The celebrity sphere is helping to push sustainability to the fashion foreground. Recently, for example, the host of the annual Met Gala, Gisele Bündchen, wore a gown made from certified organic silk. There are also ongoing initiatives like Global Green’s Annual Pre-Oscar Party and Suzy Amis Cameron’s “Red carpet green dress” to raise awareness about environmental sustainability during the huge media blitz around Academy Awards. Also, Livia Firth’s Eco-Age powerfully aggregates global thought leaders and influencers to address the compelling issues and opportunities through ethical and sustainable values.
Outdoor apparel, activewear and swimwear has been a tough nut to crack regarding sustainability, as these types of clothes need special fabric that guarantee high performance and durability. With technological innovations, such as our ECONYL® regenerated nylon, it is now possible to produce beautiful and durable swimwear and at the same time reduce the environmental footprint of the products.
The fashion industry is known to be particularly resource-heavy. The greatest environmental impact of clothes happens during raw materials extraction or cultivation (besides the usage phase, which raises the environmental footprint of clothes due to frequent washing, ironing, etc.). Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the sustainability of materials. We must also not forget the fact that fashion items quickly end up as waste in landfills, as consumers are frequently lured into buying new models and discarding old ones. Fortunately, there is a growing number of consumers who are increasingly choosing clothing made from longer-lasting, higher-quality, sustainable materials.
Sustainable fabric with organic natural fibers have been around for quite some time. However, swimwear poses a challenge since this kind of apparel requires special features, which previously was best achieved with synthetic fibers, made from petrochemicals. However, recent developments in technology brought a whole new world of options for eco-friendly synthetic fabrics based on recycling and regeneration of nylon from pre-and post-consumer waste, e. g. ECONYL® Regenerated System. This innovation revolutionized the swimwear industry. The process is infinite as the quality of ECONYL® nylon is the same as virgin nylon, and today many fashion brands are choosing ECONYL® nylon to make high performance and beautiful products that are also sustainable.
Prints and colors that are paying homage to nature
Designers have always been and still are drawing inspiration from the natural world. This makes even more sense for activewear brands, as their consumers are typically more the outdoorsy, nature-loving types. Bright colors and tropical motifs take the spotlight this summer, and all around we can see nature inspired patterns and prints reflecting, forests, flowers and the ocean.
Shapes in the Sand uses quirky, bold and contrasting prints with whimsical color palettes to create a dreamlike mood. For Salt Gypsy, the color combination of this year is blue and yellow — colors of the sea and sun that immediately transport our minds to a summer at the beach.
Some socially and environmentally conscious labels are taking the nature-inspired trend a step further by embodying nature in their designs with a purpose in mind: to raise awareness for the need of protecting the environment. That way, they don’t only take inspiration from nature; they give back by drawing attention to the harmful practices that are endangering it.
Versatile clothing is another way in which a sustainable mindset is penetrating the fashion world. These days, activewear that takes you straight from work to work-out, and swimsuits that you can wear off the beach as well are more desired than having a separate garment for every occasion. This eco-friendly trend gives consumers more value for what they spend.
For example, this year’s trendy swim shirt tops and one-piece swimsuits can be paired with pants or a skirt and worn to the restaurants or on a night out. At Salt Gypsy, they designed “surf bottoms to take you from the beach to the yoga mat to the coffee bar without compromising on style.”
As they say at Divesangha, “flexibility of use is key. People need to feel good moving around a boat, wearing a wetsuit over swimwear, but also be ready to lie down on the beach to safely catch some rays or go for a fun swim.”
“We think about how swimwear could be worn under a wetsuit and how people could spend an entire day on the boat or on the beach doing light physical activity. Comfort & practicality are a must. The trend for this kind of swimwear is nowadays very present, with looking strong, athletic and healthy, coupled up with absolute comfort, becoming the look to aspire to for people of all ages.” — Divesangha”
Transparency in fashion means brands are disclosing the details on their supply chain and production, from producing the raw material, to dyeing, sewing and manufacturing. This trend is on the rise, as consumers are becoming more and more environmentally and ethically conscious. Surveys in recent years show that the majority of consumers regard transparency as highly or somewhat important for companies, and that they actively search for information about companies’ backgrounds when buying their products.
“Alongside documentaries like the “True Cost” film, we see global movements such as the Fashion Revolution week and their “who made my clothes?” campaign driving a big shift in consumerism. By advocating a demand for supply chain transparency from fashion brands, we each have a part to play in transforming the complex system that is the fashion industry to one that is environmentally and socially responsible.” — Salt Gypsy
Transparency in fashion also means that brands are looking deeper into environmental impact of their products and assess it over the entire life-cycle, from raw materials to the disposal of products, and are willing to share that information with consumers. Conscious consumers that want to know the true environmental cost of the products they are buying can find it in one of the standard documents like the EDP — Environmental Product Declaration.
Fashion with a cause
Trends are always mirroring the broader changes and developments in a society. People’s awareness of the social and environmental problems our world is facing today is steadily growing, and with it, the fashion world is becoming a platform to drive positive change. Not just by transforming the industry to a one that’s more sustainable, ethical and eco-conscious, but by more and more fashion brands giving back to society through philanthropy and by incorporating social responsibility into their brand values.
Some of the ways fashion brands fight for environmental causes:
- Give-back programs, where a certain amount of sales profit goes to a specific cause. For example, Patagonia regularly donating to grassroots environmental organizations, even going so far as to donate all of their last year’s Black Friday sales to charity.
- Advocating social causes and raising awareness for global issues by raising funds and offering support to non-profit organizations who act on social issues — whether they are or aren’t in direct connection to their brand.
Since fashion attracts a lot of attention, it presents as a perfect platform to inform consumers about environmental concerns. Ocean conservation and marine life is central to swim and beach wear fashion brands, and many have started to lend their voice to endangered species who can’t speak for themselves.
Shapes in the Sand is an environmentally conscious swimwear brand from Australia. Their collections are designed and produced in the most environmentally friendly way possible — using regenerated fabrics, meant to last. Their women’s swimwear is made from ECONYL® nylon, 100 % regenerated from discarded fishing nets and other post-consumer waste, rescued from landfills and the ocean. The brand supports the ideals of preserving the environment and draws inspiration from the love for nature. All Shapes in the Sand products are ethically manufactured in Australia.
Salt Gypsy is an Australian women’s surf and activewear brand, offering products and experiences for the woman of the water: surf and après surf gear; surf trips for advanced “ocean women”; and curated independent surf design news from around the world. Materials, production, and packaging of their products is in line with their ethical and ecological mindset. Their surf wear is made with responsible manufacturing, from ECONYL® nylon yarn, and comes in biodegradable packaging. Gypsy is dedicated to creating a closed loop system and supporting the slow fashion movement.
Divesangha is a London based fashion brand that takes inspiration from the word of scuba diving and free diving to create clothes aimed at ocean lovers. They believe in ethical and sustainable production.
Join the trend and choose sustainable beach wear for this summer. For more beautiful and sustainable fashion ideas, check out the other sustainable fashion brands that are using ECONYL® textile in the production of their apparel.