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Brief Published: 13 Aug 2015

Upcycled Swimwear


Swimwear brand Speedo USA has teamed up with Italian nylon company Aquafil and carpet maker Trento to launch a new closed-loop production system designed to upcycle all waste fabric into regenerated nylon.

Due to its complex technical composition, postproduction swimwear fabric waste has not been suitable for recycling before. Aquafil's new technology has been specially developed to turn blended yarn fabrics, like those used in swimwear, into new raw nylon. Named Econyl, the regenerated nylon is expected to be used in Speedo's new PowerFlex Eco range. The resulting fabric is highly durable and able to retain its shape 10 times longer than traditional swimwear fabrics, as well as being endlessly recyclable.

Zero-waste design is rising in necessity and popularity among mainstream brands as well as eco-friendly companies. For more on eliminating waste and redesigning manufacturing systems, see our reports Closing the Loop and Designing Out Waste.

As consumers demand to know where their products have originated from, we are also seeing sustainably sourced materials move to the forefront of intelligent design. For further inspiration, see our Materials Focus 2016-17 rationale Resource.