Why regenerated nylon is the future of the swimsuit industry
Fashion has a plastic problem, which really means it has an oil problem given that its plastics are derived from petroleum. Its production is unsustainable, and most of what is discarded never gets recycled. In fact, 91% of all plastic ever made has not been recycled (National Geographic).
Nylon is considered the ideal material for swimsuits because of its resistance to sunlight, softness, and great elasticity. However, it is petroleum-based, so continuing to use virgin nylon is unsustainable. ECONYL is a regenerated nylon made entirely from ocean and landfill waste that produces 80% less emissions than virgin nylon.
Kuna uses Carvico Vita, an Italian recycled plastic fabric made up of 78% ECONYL regenerated nylon and 22% elastane. These two yarns are interwoven to create a high quality fabric that is resistant to sun block, chlorine, and piling - ensuring that you’re able to use your swimwear for years to come. Carvico Vita is certified as STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. This is one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. Some people speculated that recycled plastic fabrics may not be safe against the skin due to BPA and other substances found in plastics. We can assure you that Carvico Vita (and most recycled fabrics on the market) are free of these.
Is this solution perfect? No, but nothing ever really is. The truth is that a synthetic (ie. plastic-based) fabric is best for swimsuit performance. Organic cotton or hemp simply will not work in a swimsuit, so the best option is to find a recycled synthetic, such as Carvico Vita. The downside is that even regenerated nylon is still plastic. During its lifetime it can leach micro plastics during washing or being in the ocean. That being said, you can reduce the impact by hand washing or investing in a micro plastic filter for your washing machine.
At this point in time, we are using what we believe to be the best option available. We hope that the entire swimwear and activewear industry will eventually transition over to recycled fibers. We are proud to be one of the earlier-movers in this industry shift and hope that others will not be far behind when they see that we can still create high quality, durable suits without compromising the health of our oceans.