What Makes an Eco Bikini Green
For the consumer, bathing suit material is notoriously tricky. Subject to the stresses of sun, salt water, chlorine and sand, it needs to be simultaneously tough and stretchy, so it sticks close to your body while swimming or engaging in other water sports. Lastly, it can't be thick or heavy, since being weighed down with water is never fun.
Now, if you are someone who doesn't use a swimsuit for much more than lounging by the pool or working on your tan, these concerns about fabric aren't as relevant to you. But who wants to have to stay out the cool water on a hot day? Even if you just opt for a quick dip, you'll want a swimsuit that will stay put and won't sag. And to top it all off, swimsuits have to be flattering and fun to wear, with fun colors or patterns that will stand the test of time.
This very specific combination of needs from swimsuits is why it's been a little more challenging for the green consumer to find bikinis made from more sustainable fabrics; it has taken time for textiles innovation to happen. But demand for sustainable fabrics is growing, and now there are green bikinis made from all kinds of newer materials and textile combos, including organic cotton blends and modal.
Meadow Ferrish, an eco swimsuit designer, advises shoppers to look for a good lining, which will help the bikini stay together and is the sign of a well-made swimsuit. "Always look for good quality. That is the best way to try to be sustainable," Gerrish said. She provided the guidelines below when eco bikini shopping.
What to look for:
> Bamboo/organic cotton blend with 2 percent spandex
> Upcycled high quality lycra
> Modal, made from beech trees
What to avoid:
> Non-stretch fabrics (bikinis made of inflexible fabrics are made to be seen not used)
> A thick lining or fabric (it should be able to dry quickly)
Read on for examples from some exciting designers.