Have You Heard of Econyl?
Econyl is a fabric few have heard about, but it could revolutionise the swimwear market.
It is made from waste products often found in our oceans, such as fishing nets, old carpets and other non-degradables. These items are shredded, before being taken to a depolymerisation plant where pure nylon 6 is extracted and then turned into the econyl yarn, from which garments can be made. Nylon 6, for reference, is the most common commercial grade of nylon.
Current estimates state that there are around 640,000 tonnes of discarded nylon fishing nets currently floating around the planet’s oceans. This is a problem, and econyl could be part of the solution. Econyl allows for high-performance and attractive swimwear to be created from waste materials which would otherwise not have a commercial value.
The effort by companies to produce the econyl yarn from old fishing nets and other plastic-based ocean waste, shows that there is a conscientious effort being made in the fashion and textile industries to look at viable alternatives to contemporary fabrics and materials.
Econyl shouldn’t be viewed simply as a sustainable fabric. It is also very comfortable to wear, with its extremely smooth texture allowing for a streamlined fit which is perfect for swimwear.
A notable designer using econyl to produce swimwear is AURIA, a company whose tagline is “From the Sea, For the Sea”. They started in 2013 and since then, have made strides to get their econyl swimwear lines into the mainstream.
AURIA is not the only company which uses econyl in their products. Other brands which have some econyl-based products include Volcom, Arena, and Ray Swimwear. The fact that econyl is catching on in some lines of swimwear across different companies can only be a good thing to further the material’s advancement into the mainstream.
It is worth mentioning that nylon 6 is not biodegradable. Sustainability in this scenario is achieved through recycling what are largely waste products, into a usable, comfortable garment and that the industry responsibly takes care of these non-biodegradable materials.
To learn more about fabrics watch out for our next Fabric Appreciation Masterclass with Deborah Shulton.
By Callum Cliffe