Swimwear has come a long way throughout history, with changes in styles and attitudes towards swimming and swimwear. In classical antiquity and in most cultures, swimming was done in the nude or in underwear. In the Renaissance, swimming was discouraged, and into the 18th century, it was regarded as of doubtful morality. In the Victorian era, swimwear was cumbersome and even dangerous in the water, especially for women.
However, since the early 20th century, swimming has become a legitimate leisure activity, and clothing made specifically for swimming has become the norm. Swimwear for women has become increasingly more scanty and form-fitting, and the use of high-tech materials has become more common. In 2005, a controversy broke out when swimwear manufacturers marketed tankinis featuring Buddhist iconography.
In 2000, Speedo launched the Fastskin suit series that mimicked shark skin, which helped win 83% of the medals in the 2000 Olympics. By the next Olympics, similar suits had been developed by Tyr Sport, Inc., but they were not approved by the FINA.
In July 2009, FINA voted to ban non-textile (non-woven) swimsuits in competitive events from 2010. The new policy was implemented to combat the issues associated with performance-enhancing costumes, hindering the ability to accurately measure the performance of swimmers. Subsequently, the new ruling states that men’s swimsuits may maximally cover the area from the navel to the knee, and women’s counterparts from the shoulder to the knee.
With all these changes in swimwear, it’s no surprise that fashion designers have taken notice. One example is the fake Louis Vuitton swimsuit, which allows fashion-conscious swimmers to dive in and look fabulous. While it may not be suitable for competitive events, it’s a great way to make a fashion statement at the beach or pool.