This Is What Infinitely Recycled Fabric Looks Like

Photo: Courtesy of Speedo.
A swimsuit cobbled together from scraps of other swimsuits can now be yours, thanks to the brand you’re intimately acquainted with from those swim-practice days (if that was your thing). Speedo has partnered with Aquafil, an Italian-based textile production company, on the swimwear industry’s first fabric take-back program.

The gist? Speedo will give Aquafil its leftover postproduction scraps, which will then be turned into new raw nylon. The special nylon, which Aquafil calls Econyl, can be recycled infinitely — and it maintains its quality, which isn’t usually the case with recycling processes. This Econyl, with its bits of castoff Speedo suit scraps, will get used in new Speedo suits.

"The partnership with Aquafil began as part of a 'what if' conversation around Speedo's desire to lessen our environmental impact — part of which involved finding new ways to reuse leftover fabric waste from our manufacturing processes,” says Kristine Lebow, Speedo USA’s senior designer. “When Aquafil perfected its regeneration process for blended materials, everything aligned, and that conversation became a reality.”

Prices won’t get steeper as a result of the high-tech, closed-loop technology, and the upcycled suits in the brand’s PowerFLEX Eco are mostly composed of this special stuff (78% Econyl and 22% Extra Life, if you want to get specific). Fun fact: Econyl, which debuted in 2007, contains carpet remnants, as well as old fishing nets — exactly the ingredients you never knew your swimsuit needed!