Sustainability is a Commitment, not a Word


Alyson Gessner

This or That

June 26, 2021

It’s hard to find a brand today that doesn’t advertise itself as sustainable in some way. This is especially true for fast fashion companies who know their target audience are Gen Z and young Millennials who are cognizant of climate change and passionate about social justice. From PacSun to Urban Outfitters, companies are trying endlessly to fool their consumers into believing they actually care about sustainability like they claim.

Let’s take a look at Blackbough Swim, an up-and-coming swimsuit brand that has gained popularity through social media. They claim to have a new “sustainable” collection, but the sustainability ends there. They make great use of buzzwords like “regenerative fabrics,” and mail the suit out in a non-plastic packing, but they also send with it some plastic accessories like a resealable bag. Those two actions—cutting down on plastic packaging while increasing plastic sales—essentially cancel each other out. And then there’s the lack of transparency: no information about dyes, manufacturing, or clear sustainability goals. As such a new company, it’s reasonable that Blackbough Swim might just be starting out on their journey towards sustainability, but that means taking action steps towards improving all of their products. At the time being, however, they might say “sustainable,” but that is nothing but an empty promise.

On the other hand, there are innovative brands like LONDRE who are dedicated to sustainability at their core. Their swimsuits are made out of chitosante: a fabric made from leftover shells from the shellfish industry! They also make use of at least 6 plastic bottles in each suit, and are transparent about what chemicals and dyes are used in their products. (Spoiler alert: they’re non-toxic!) Even more impressive, LONDRE has a recycling incentive where a returned swimsuit gets you 20% off your next purchase, meaning that they are actively implementing circularity in their brand. This is the sort of commitment to sustainability that brands like Blackbough are lacking.

All that being said, LONDRE swimsuits are significantly more expensive than a fast fashion brand like Blackbough Swim. This means that their products are not accessible to everyone and a much greater investment. Still, LONDRE swimsuits are higher quality and more durable than Blackbough, so opting for a more pricey but sustainable timeless piece could end up saving you more money than buying new suits that fall apart or go out of style in just one or two summers.

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