The majority of swimwear fabrics are designed to stretch, adapt to the body and allow a comfortable and safe swim. The fabric also has to be able to keep its shape when wet and dry quickly and easily. But there are many kinds of fabric for bathing suits. The Splash by Lo team have carried out exhaustive research in order to discover the most important in a series of articles.
The best fabric for bathing suits is a much-debated topic in the world of fashion. But the truth is that there aren’t many options. The fabric for bathing suits must dry quickly, not lose its colour and have certain elasticity. We analyse some of the different fabric options for bathing suits and their diverse characteristics.
The Lycra Revolution
Lycra is a synthetic fabric with elastic qualities which revolutionised the fashion industry when it was developed in the 1960s. Lycra is mixed with other synthetic fibres to provide a comfortable elasticity. The mix varies depending on the manufacturer and the desired qualities of the fabric, but it’s generally made with 10-20% Lycra and 80-90% other fibre(s).
Natural fabrics for bathing suits
Natural fibres, such as cotton and wool, easily lose their shape when they get wet. They dry slowly and usually retain a large amount of water. This makes them heavier and less practical than synthetic options. Knitted cotton fabrics are often used for retro-style bathing suits. They have a clear feel of the 1950s or 60s or even before. Why? Because, as we’ve learned, Lycra was developed in the 1960s, so everything before then wasn’t able to achieve the elasticity which arrived later.
The moment for sustainability: recycled polyester
Polyester is easy to recycle and is one of the most environmentally-friendly choices. Some sustainable bathing suit fabrics are 100% recycled and others are mixed. Is polyester sustainable? Is it environmentally-friendly? It’s true that by using recycled polyester without a doubt you’re making a better choice than using virgin polyester.
At Splash by Lo we’re committed to sustainability in our industry, due to our ecocean initiative. You can discover our sustainable initiatives at: Ecocean.