The harmful effects of plastics on our earth has been reported exhaustively, but often, we fail to recognise the harm that our plastic-based clothing does to the oceans as well.
According to a report released by the United Nations Environment Program in March 2019, about half a million tonnes of microplastics are released into rivers, oceans and other bodies of water.
These microfibres then get eaten by marine life to catastrophic results, and a fraction of these plastics find their way back into our bodies as we consume the marine creatures that consume these fibres.
Hoping to help limit this problem, indie luxury swimwear brands are responding in kind with their solutions.
01 | Now_Then
Founded by Andrea Salinas, Now_Then’s mission is to provide customers with luxury and eco-friendly swimwear options that remain kind to the oceans. Her swimwear designs often feature minimalist cuts in precisely-fitted cuts, so the suits feel like second skin to the wearer. Furthermore, Now_Then also has a range of oceanwear pieces for those venturing beyond their swimming pool, and includes rashguard t-shirts and surf suits for big-sea explorers.
Some of Now_Then’s pieces are made from Econyl, which is a material engineered from regenerated nylon waste and post-consumer products. When Econyl isn’t used, Salinas uses Ecoprene, which mimics the feel of neoprene but is made of limestone that’s more sustainable to the environment.
Now_Then also ensures that they produce everything in small batches, and they employ socially-marginalised women to help give them a way of earning a fair living.
For more information, visit nowthenlabel.com
02 | Ansea
Newly-launched Ansea is already gaining traction for their functional and flattering swimwear pieces. Beyond the usual RTW and beach bags that most swim brands carry, Ansea also produces their own designs of minimalist, feminine swim gear.
Part of Ansea’s tagline is “infinitely recyclable”, and the American company comes through with that in several ways. Firstly, Ansea uses a material called Yulex, which is a plant-based certified natural rubber. Yulex produces 80 percent lesser carbon emissions than neoprene, and is sustainably harvested and remains biodegradable. On top of that, Yulex is also non-sensitizing, which promises an all-round comfortable wearing experience.
Beyond Yulex, Ansea also uses Econyl, which is endlessly recyclable because it can be broken down and remade into different things after its life cycle is over.
For more information, visit ansea.co
03 | Natasha Tonic
Natasha Tonic wanted her eponymous brand to say something different from the rest of the swimwear industry, so rather than churn out more plastic swimwear, Tonic looked to a hemp for her solution.
Hemp is a fast-growing crop that’s good for the environment, because it produces more fibres than flax or cotton, without needing extra land space. It also relies on less water, restores the earth that it grows in, and helps act as a filtration system for carbon dioxide.
What does the wearer benefit from hemp then? Its UV-resistant and anti-microbial properties make it a safer choice for your skin, and its highly-durable so you can throw it in the wash after a good splash in the ocean.
For more information, visit natashatonic.com
04 | Align Swim
Coming closer to home, Align Swim is a Singaporean brand that’s gaining plenty of buzz, thanks to their clean-cut and brightly-coloured swimwear pieces.
Handcrafted by skilled artisans, Align also uses Econyl in the production of their swimwear. Beyond being good to the environment, Align’s Econyl material is chlorine-resistant (read: great for people who want to languish in the pool all day) and promises to protect its wearer from the harmful effects of UV exposure.
But beyond swimwear, Align’s message of eco-consciousness goes into their packaging, as all swimwear pouches are crafted from linen fabric that allows them to be reused endlessly.
For more information, visit alignswim.com
This story first appeared in the April 2020 issue of A Magazine.