This is Giada and Margherita, the women behind UND Swimwear
We decided to sit down and have a talk with them about the way they do things behind the scenes, and to get to know a little bit more about their raw material, which is made from recycled plastic.
JF: Hi Giada and Margherita, thank you for sitting down with us! So, we are wondering, what is recycled Lycra?
Giada&Margherita: The recycled Lycra we chose to craft our swimwear in, is an Italian sustainable techno fabric, made of a regenerated Nylon obtained by recycling plastic waste materials, like fishing nets recovered from our oceans. This incredible fabric, together with being sustainable, has high technical properties, such as 50+ UV protection and a bi-stretch extra comfort feel structure, which provides a perfect “silk glove” fit to our swimsuits.
JF: How did you come up with the idea to use this type of material?
Giada&Margherita: We discovered this incredible fabric as we were looking for the most sustainable material we could find to craft our garments. Furthermore, this fabric is not just sustainable because of its composition, it is also a very high quality technical Lycra that will allow the swimsuits to last in time in all their beauty, to be durable. We wanted our collections to be long lasting, not disposable. We are aware that fashion is currently one of the most polluting industries and we don’t want to become part of the problem.
JF: How does it affect your collections to choose this kind of raw material?
Giada&Margherita: We are now projecting our fourth collection and each one of them was crafted with the same sustainable Lycra. This is a silver lining as it provides coherence and continuity to our collections, making them timeless and unseasonable. This means that a swimsuit belonging to our ss17 can be worn with one that will belong to ss20 collection. Same aesthetics, same fabric. Fast fashion offers very seasonal and trend related garments that age fast, both for materials and aesthetics. Choosing to stick to this one incredible fabric allows us to avoid this unsustainable mechanism.
JF: What is the impact you have when you choose to use this type of source for a product?
Giada&Margherita: In terms of production, the choice of using this kind of recycled material means sustaining the companies -and the people- who work for a much cleaner ocean, for a sustainable way of producing. As they say, by producing that material, “they turn waste problems into fashion solutions”, and we love to actively be part of this philosophy. But the choice of a sustainable fabric is just a part of UND swimwear being sustainable. All our
creative process is focused on building a sustainable brand
Where workers get paid and are appreciated
Not only is this swimwear made from plastic waste, it is also handcrafted in Italy. The Italian label has a thought through process from start to the product is delivered to customers.
The factory producing the Lycra is ISO 14001 certified, which means that their management system must work towards meeting all UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
For the production of the swimwear, UND work with Monica and Marco, and their factory which has 30-years of experience in crafting high-end swimwear. The volumes are low, and the growth of the production-volumes slow.
Und work closely with the artisans and every season they fit their models together with the team, to listen to their feedback and keep the dialog close. The artisan lab is located in Rimini, a small town by the sea in Emilia Romagna, the best known Italian spot for production of swimwear.
Check out all swimwear here!
Dive a little deeper into the topic of regenerated synthetic fibers
People: What about the microplastics!!?
JF: So, this issue with recycled plastic made into new products which are plastic, is a disputed topic. For Just Fashions part, we’ve been reading and following each discussion with our usual nuanced position. We don’t think anything is either or. And we do think than when it comes to swimwear, it is really difficult to use anything else than a stretchy material that can tolerate wear and tear in the sun and salty or chlorinated water. A product that doesn’t sag or use several hours to dry. So we’ve settled with the fact that swimwear in recycled plastic waste is a pretty damn good solution. And of course, quality trumps everything! If it doesn’t last it doesn’t need to exist.
Recycled synthetics may not be the worst starting point for high quality wear. According to the MADE-BY Fiber Benchmark, which considers the whole life of a fiber, the water and energy use, and the lifespan, recycled synthetics are at the top of the chain as one of the fibers with lowest footprint, together with recycled wool and cotton. Sadly MADE-BY lost their funding last year and will not carry forward this independent non-profit index.
We also consider sportswear brand Houdini a label to trust and be guided by. This is a company that we feel closely linked to in philosophy and their Environmental Audits are a study in how to look into and measure every step you take. Read their take on fiber here
For Performance and Leisure Wear we can recommend regenerated synthetic fiber, but from sources and brands that also take care of other parts of their supply chain. We also recommend using a Gruppy Friend bag when you wash your product. To date it is the best way of fetching microplastics from running out into our ocean. The washing machine industry is also catching up, making new filters fetching these tiny particles.