I’m sure many people with psoriasis and eczema will relate when I say synthetic swimwear can be a nightmare for my skin. So, to be sat in the sun in a comfortable bikini and seeing my skin benefit too was a game changer.
My first homemade Solpardus bikini was made from our signature Thea bamboo fabric. Much to my surprise and relief, after many stints with the hose and standing under the shower, the bikini was not only comfortable but practical with water! In reality, the status quo of synthetic material for swimwear is actually a relatively new idea…
The mid-1800s brought greater rail travel and more trips to the seaside, so protecting your modesty whilst taking a dip became a hot topic. Women wore flannel and wool fabrics, with a dress style top and long bloomers to hide their figure. The flannel was often heavy to prevent any billowing in the water. Though this did make the swimming rather strenuous after a while!
At the turn of the century swimming started to be seen more as a sport and leisure activity, and as such swimsuits had to be up to par, with a tighter leotard shape adopted. In 1921, to keep up with this transition, Jantzen Knitting Mills (in America) designed the first pure wool swimwear with stretch. The fabric was made using a knit that created an elasticated rib-stitch. This made a more form fitting garment, allowing the wearer more freedom and mobility, and it became known by the tagline "The Suit That Changed Bathing to Swimming".
The 1930s introduced fashionable two piece swimming costumes and sunbathing became a popular pastime. In California, Mabs of Hollywood started to make swimwear from a more slender stretch silk, originally used for girdles, known as Lastex. The first more daring two piece, similar to what we now know as a bikini, was then created by French designer Louis Reard in 1946.
Swim fabric stayed predominantly natural, then adding nylon to the mix in the 50s and in 1958, when ‘Lycra’ was invented, companies began finding new ways to use this versatile man made fabric. In 1972 athletes at the summer games in Germany used lycra fibre in swimwear for the first time. Swimwear was then seemingly changed forever, with synthetic materials dominating all aspects of both swimming, leisure and sport. But why should we compromise on comfort if we don’t intend to be doing competitive lengths on our next sunny getaway?
In fact, with foreign travel on hold over lockdowns many people realised soaking up the sun from the comfort of our gardens or local parks was often enough to see a difference with our skin. Unfortunately, it’s seen as rather passé to be caught sunbathing in your underwear, especially when you’re out and about! So how about something with the best of both worlds - the comfort of your natural fibre underwear with the look and practicality of swimwear, perfect!
And just like that Solpardus is bringing you full circle and back to “the good old days” of natural swimwear. The best choice for your psoriasis, eczema or sensitive skin as you bask in the benefits of a sunny day.