As the hot temperatures simper out to a cooler climate, you might not be thinking of your next swimsuit, but I still wanted to send out the message that your swimwear can be sustainable too before it gets too late to wear one!
As consumers, we're slightly predisposed to wearing polyamide and lycra blends close to our intimate areas, which can be irritating and ultimately bad for the environment.
I believe this is because not only is it cheap and effective for manufacturers who don't consider the impact on the environment but also because people don't vision cotton as being a versatile fabric for the water. In fact, I'd wage that the first thing that comes to mind when the read 'cotton swimwear' are images of poorly clad women in a wet t-shirt competition! But, this preconception couldn't be further from the truth. Cotton offers a cool, soft alternative to the tightly clad polyimide swimsuits, and when made well, cotton swimwear holds excellent shape and isn't at all see-through.
There are many reasons you should switch to cotton, but the most important one is that organic cotton is a sustainable crop. Cotton is grown in over 90 countries and is responsible for employment for over 250 million people globally. Moreover, organic cotton is becoming increasingly popular as it doesn't rely on harmful pesticides and herbicides, which can pollute waterways.
The Surprising Truth About Cotton Swimwear
It can be sustainably grown and is breathable, organic cotton is the perfect solution for sustainable swimwear so why aren't we using it more?
The surprising truth is that cotton for swimwear used to be the norm, from the very first cotton gowns to the form-fitting all-in-one pieces of the twentieth century. It wasn't until the 1930's that we saw manmade fabrics introduced to swimwear; beginning with the short-lived affair with Lastex (a fiber-garbed rubber with poor form and color retention) and leading the polymers that are still in use today.
And, although we're used to the tight, lycra bikinis and costumes that populate shops today; cotton actually has qualities that make it well-suited to being worn in water. This is because it's absorbent, long-lasting, and machine washable.
What Synthetic Swimwear is Doing to the Planet
I'm sure that it will come as no shock that synthetic swimwear is dominating the market despite the environmental cost. A switch to sustainable, organic swimwear would cut down on so much waste and pollution and also be better for our bodies.
Not only is the production of plastic, and synthetic materials creating a lot of unwanted side effects, such as water and air pollution but the fact is that synthetic suits shed microplastics every time they are worn and washed. These microplastics eventually make it back into the ocean where they contaminate ecosystems, poison wildlife, and enter into our food supply. It's a vicious cycle.
On top of this, these materials are not biodegradable, which means that synthetic material is going to be polluting the earth for years to come. We can do better by purchasing sustainable and organic swimwear options made from natural fabrics like organic cotton or hemp. They may cost more upfront but their long-term impact will help save our planet in many ways.
Is Synthetic Swimwear Healthy?
Synthetic swimwear is not as healthy for your body as the organic cotton option.
Cotton swimsuits absorb sweat and water, which is important because sweating is a natural bodily function, that synthetic materials inhibit. This means that you are at a higher risk of developing yeast infections or rashes with synthetic swimsuits.
Organic materials are much softer on the skin and do not contain any harmful chemicals like the ones found in most synthetic fabrics. Organic materials also retain their color and shape better which means they will last longer than most synthetics. Organic swimwear is also more environmentally friendly since organic fibers take less energy to produce and they are biodegradable which makes them great for both people and the environment.
Tips for Buying Sustainable Clothing
When thinking about your clothing and the impact the fashion industry has on the environment, it's a good idea to follow some simple rules.
- Look for organic materials; organic fibers are generally sourced more sustainably; this is because there are environmentally conscious rules on labeling materials as organic.
- Avoid plastics; plastics are always synthetically made via chemicals that cause a lot of pollution. If you are going to buy clothes with plastics in them, make sure it's recycled.
- Opt for low-impact dyes; even natural dyes can come at a steep environmental cost. Low-impact dyes follow strict guidelines in ensuring they are the most sustainable choice for our planet.
We will be launching our very own organic cotton swimwear collection for Spring/Summer, make sure you stay tuned for the update and subscribe to our newsletter.