As bikini season reaches its peak for the year, big brands like Roxy have been quick to release new “eco-friendly” swimwear lines to reel in conscious consumers. While this label seems inviting, the swim line appears to be the product of minimal effort on Roxy’s end. With a lofty set of very vague sustainability goals and zero manufacturing transparency, it is difficult to gauge just how much “better” these products really are for the planet.
These cute bikinis are marketed as eco-friendly for one reason: they are made of 91% recycled nylon. This seems like a great step toward better practices for Roxy, a brand that usually relies solely on synthetic fibers for their clothing and swimwear. The issue with this statement is that Roxy does not tell consumers where this nylon comes from. If the recycled nylon is shipped around the world to be remade into swimsuits, it may not be as green as consumers are led to believe. The lack of transparency is highlighted here, not as a consumer deterrent, but as a word of warning to those who really want to make a difference by only buying truly sustainable products. The remaining nine percent of the swimsuit is made of elastane, a synthetic fiber more commonly known as spandex. Despite only comprising a small portion of this swimsuit, this material is important to note because it is a known contributor to microfiber pollution. Even if this swimsuit is mostly recycled, wearers could still be harming the environment when using it because of these pesky little elastane fibers.
While this bikini is made of mostly recycled fabric, where that recycled fabric comes from and how it is recycled remain a mystery. Like most big corporations, Roxy does not provide customers with any manufacturing process information. When looking for answers through other sources, like the internet, most of their manufacturing information has been scrubbed from all search engines, which is suspicious to say the least. Even more troubling is the complete lack of transparency surrounding where Roxy products are made, who makes them, and how they are distributed. This points toward possible issues with working conditions, safety, and manufacturing sustainability. The presence of recycled materials that are allegedly produced in house (not a supported claim) gives Roxy 0.25 planets for how it’s made, but their lack of transparency prevents any further points from being added.
Roxy’s company sustainability policy falls into a very tricky gray areas because they are listed as a conglomerate of Quicksilver Inc. Roxy itself has no specific sustainability policy, but Quicksilver has an entire website section devoted to a lofty set of sustainability plans. When analyzing Quicksilver’s sustainability policy, it was difficult to ignore how unclear each of the company’s sustainability goals were. Their final phase of sustainability planning listed “moving toward circularity,” which sounds great on paper, but does not provide any clear guidance for the company to follow as they innovate. Each sustainable development “phase” listed by the company carries the same philosophical tone, seemingly out of touch with hard numbers and concrete goals. Without a clear set of milestones, this company can easily get away with putting sustainability to the side as they develop. The only solid initiative is their recycled fabric and plastic bottle pants initiative, which earns them 0.25 planets because it is clearly explained as a sustainable initiative and backed with quantitative evidence. Overall, Quicksilver Inc., you tried. Preachy goals with no specific endpoint just won’t cut it when it comes to actually making a change.