There is not one article of clothing that I owned throughout my childhood and high school years that I wore more than anything every day than my Jolyn one-piece swimsuits. Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I trained 2-4 hours every single day since I was a little girl throughout my athletic career swimming at Division I collegiate level. There was nothing more that I loved about the “perks” of swimming than my bright, candy-colored swimsuits that made practice fun especially when every other girl on the team had one, and instead of looking like swimmers, we’d look like jolly ranchers in a pool of blue jello. JOLYN is a small growing company created by female athletes for female athletes that is inclusive to women of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. From club and high school swimmers to Olympic swimmers and volleyball players, JOLYN is a brand I truly believe anyone can wear.
However, after looking more into the sustainability of the product, I found that there was nothing much to look at, which says a lot about the company's views and practices towards sustainability. JOLYN completely lacks any information that includes how the product is made, who really, makes the product, and where the product is manufactured or distributed from. Their production chain is also deeply disturbing due to the fact that they use dangerous synthetic materials that are contributing to the increase in ecological degradation and environmental health-related issues among adults, children, infants, and living organisms. They are that company whose materials are ending up mostly in our lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, and are creating severe impacts on ecosystems and the environment.
JOLYN has made this product to support female athletes, which I think is absolutely awesome. But their product is poisoning our bodies, our planet, and our environment. Based on what their suits are made out of, I do not believe JOLYN fully supports women and our health. If they did, they would change the materials they make their suits with, and be more transparent about the impacts of their products.
I simply looked at the inside label of my JOLYN suits to find the following information. The inside label reads:
Jolyn Clothing Company
Cut and Sewn in the U.S.A.
Shell—100% polyester from Italy
Liner—100% PBT polyester from China
First red flag: 1) Polyester is a plastic that is derived from crude oil, that requires large quantities of crude oil, and processing the oil releases harmful emissions into the environment. AND, the wastewater produced when manufacturing polyester is also a problem because nearby water sources become contaminated with dangerous monomers and solvents. PBT polyester is also a thermoplastic engineering polymer that is quite often used as an insulator in the electrical and electronics industry. This is being used as an inside lining of women’s suits?! I find this totally unacceptable and dangerous to human and the environment's health, especially the waterways and oceans we swim in. Some of the emissions that are released into the atmosphere during the manufacturing of polyester include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, and acid gases that can directly impact human respiratory systems and any other life forms. Exposure to polyester also leaves traces of antimony on the human skin, which scientists have not yet determined if the human body skin can absorb or not, and is also recognized widely as carcinogenic and can be toxic to the heart, lungs, liver, and skin. Long-term inhalation of antimony can also cause chronic bronchitis and emphysema. PBT polyester and any polyester for that matter and is actually used in spandex and most of our athletic wear because of the stretchy and smooth-like material in water elements. PBT is also greatly resistant to water and resists a variety range of chemicals including chlorine and oils.
For every other athletic brand that uses these polyesters, how is this acceptable? How is this positively impacting players, athletes, and Olympians wearing and promoting your brand products? Knowing the impacts of polyesters on humans and the environment's health, I think it is totally unacceptable for sportswear companies and JOLYN to accept that their products depend on something that is very dangerous. It is also disappointing to see the “greenwashing” language the swimwear company is using on their website and claiming that they want consumers supporting a brand that is “sustainable” and encourages people to be socially conscious of what they buy.
Hey JOLYN, how about you be more socially conscious and transparent about what you are making!
JOLYN’s company is based out of Southern California. According to their website, they manufacture their products in the Golden State as well. The swimsuit company has also stated that their fabrics are knitted in Europe, yet when looking at the label on my suit, the only thing imported from Europe is the shell of the suit. I would like to see JOLYN be more transparent about how exactly their products are made since it there is very little to no information of how and who the suits are constructed.
JOLYN swimwear was originally founded for competitive swimmers and water polo players who wanted swimsuits more flattering and far less boring than traditional swim brands (JOLYN nailed this!!!). JOLYN is truly the go-to swimsuit for any water sport, beach, and pool activity. Under their “about” section on the JOLYN website, they claim that they care about the world and partake in socially responsible actions by using “sustainable fabric” that ensures JOLYN suits can withstand the intensity that athletes and active women put through daily. While their brand is inclusive to all women, they have no initiatives or other information on the sustainable practices they are partaking in—if any—other than they are simply using “sustainable fabric.” But what does that exactly mean?