TIME TO WALK the talk! Or is it to swim the talk in this case? Anyway, let me take you from the sustainable swimwear guide in the previous post to my personal 2016 favourites.
“All theory, dear friend, is grey.
But the golden tree of actual life springs ever green.”
– Goethe, Faust
After many hours of research, and following the steps outlined in my Eco Swimwear Guide (download the one-pager here), I finally settled for two brands: Mymarini and Underprotection. Both are European brands, both have a verifiable degree of sustainability commitment – and while there was that French brand, Luz, offering GOTS-certified cotton swimwear – it were Mymarini and Underprotection that offered swimsuits in the style I like and, more important, would actually wear.
From Mymarini, I chose a €190.00 onepiece in “azul-smaragd”, a reversible blue and green colour block, sporty swimsuit with low leg (my favourite!) and a nice cut out in the back. The swimsuit fabric is 80% PA (Polyamide), 20% EA (Elastane), certified Öko-Tex Standard 100.
From Underprotection, a brand I got to meet two years ago during Berlin Fashion Week, I bought the jungle print “Carina” swimsuit; very affordable at €81, very sweet, laced, with a swish racerback. Swimsuit fabric: recycled polyester. Brand certified: Fairwear Foundation Young Designer.
The entire Mymarini swimwear collection is designed with a cool surfer girl in mind: each piece is reversible, making for two swimwear pieces packed into one, which I think is particularly clever. The fabric is great quality, really thick, slightly shaping, making for a great fit and very flattering look. The cuts are sleek and modern.
You can get flashy colour blocked pieces or more toned down styles. Mymarini also offers two designs of men’s shorts as well as boho style beach towels.
As far as eco-fairness goes, the company claim on their website:
“The fabric we use is manufactured in Italy in an eco-friendly way. Our supplier promoted sustainability and environmental awareness long before it became fashionable. An innovative chemical-physical waste water treatment plant ensures a minimum impact on the environment. Methane gas is used for the production, the cleanest fossil fuel currently available. The water used for the production is treated to remove most pollutants before sending it to the municipal purification system. Furthermore the thermal energy emitted by the machines and equipment is reused to reduce CO2 and emissions to values 10 times lower than those foreseen by the law. All production steps are in compliance with the current European regulations and national and international laws. [Fabric is] washable and free from any toxins.”
While the Ökotex label might be the weakest of all recognised standards, the swimsuits are sewn in Germany, so we have just this short production path Italy to Germany.
Underprotection is a new Danish underwear brand certified with Fairwear Foundation. The underwear and loungewear collection for women is breathtakingly dreamy, BoHo/ romantic and incredibly photogenic (look it up, Instababes!), the fabrics used are bamboo fibers, organic cotton, and for the swimwear collection – recycled polyester. There are some maternity designs and a small babywear collection.
Both swimsuits are made for swimming – the fabric is perfectly non-transparent when wet (or dry) and dry well, although the cotton cord on the Underprotection swimsuit takes longer to dry. Because you have to untie and unlace the Underprotection swimsuit in order to change, the wet cord will be not completely hassle-free to open, which costs us a point in this battle. Both swimsuits are comfortable to wear and the fit is excellent: there’s no leaving the water with the boobs out by accident.
2:3 and Mymarini is taking the lead
Both swimsuits look absolutely gorgeous and make a great silhouette! And because we all have different tastes and preferences, this is hard to really put into consideration in a swimsuit battle, so let’s omit this criterium. Both get an extra fashion point nevertheless because they are designed in a way that lets you put on a pair of pants – and be perfectly dressed to stroll the city, if the weather allows, of course.
3:4 for Mymarini
In terms of pricing, Underprotection wins hands down, with 87€ versus 190€. It’s important to keep sustainable choices affordable.
4:4 Uh, going down to the wire!
Let’s have a final look at the swimsuits in terms of sustainability. It’s a divisive matter, clearly, but let me try.
Mymarini claims to work with a sustainable fabric manufacturer in Italy and with tox-free textiles. While there is no label to prove this, claims like these are usually true with brands based in Germany. Production in Germany justifies the higher price point too, because hello, German labour laws. Let me say 0.5 point for the uncertified sustainability and tox-free claim each plus 1 point for regional sewing = 2 points.
The Underprotection swimsuit has been produced in India in a socially responsible way, which is ensured by the Fairwear Foundation standard. However, there is on one hand the journey the items take from India to Denmark and on the other hand, there is no telling how tox-free the textiles truly are – and the brand doesn’t make any particular promises on that. In terms of sustainability, all fabrics used are, to some degree, sustainable – be it recycling or the nature of the fibre like bamboo or lyocell. I think that without more details, the sustainability level earns the contestant 0.5 point. Which means that we’re at: