Gorgeous Dresses Made From Upcycled Olympic Speedos

Gorgeous red carpet-worthy dresses made from upcycled Speedo fabric, from suits worn by Olympic swimmers.

Now that the Olympics are over, and the American swimmers nabbed more gold medals in swimming than ever before, what happens to all those old Speedos? UK-based designer Orsola de Castro has been making high-end fashion from recycled materials since 1997, through the fashion label From Somewhere. One of the brand’s newest collections is made from, you guessed it, upcycled Speedo fabric.

The high tech quality and intense accent colors of the fabric lends a strange, yet very fashion forward quality to de Castro’s elegantly tailored dresses. If it wasn’t for the small logo that makes an appearance on some of the garments, you would never guess what they were made from.

De Castro runs From Somewhere with her partner Filippo Ricci, and the two are also the founders and curators of The British Council Estethica during London Fashion Week. They want to use their fashion label to further the discussion about overproduction and waste, two very urgent issues that the fashion industry needs to figure out how to deal with. To de Castro and Ricci, upcycling becomes a design solution to this environmental problem.

The label originally began their collaboration with Speedo in 2010 when a stock of their LZR Racer Elite suit became redundant following FINA regulations regarding competitive swimwear. The company contacted From Somewhere to help create something with the waste, and that’s how the first collection, which debuted at Estethica, was born.

The new colorblocked “Unity” gown is made from offcuts produced in the making of Speedo’s Fastskin3 Super Elite swimsuit, which was used by the athletes at this summer’s Olympic Games in London. All the colors in the “Unity” dress represent all nations coming together in a non-competitive way and are also a reference to water. De Castro used the stretch of the fabric to emphasize different parts of the female body, and she also utilized Pinterest to gather inspiration and visual references.

“The idea was to combine sportswear and fashion in a way that it is 100% fashion but also 100% sportswear,” says de Castro. She also wants this dress to inspire the confidence of an Olympic athlete in any woman that wears it.

Watch the video below to hear de Castro talk about the inspiration and process behind the dress.

We like, and it seems Ryan Lochte does too.

Johanna Björk

Johanna is a sustainable fashion writer currently based in Ojai, CA. Read her weekly On Trend column to learn what's new in eco fashion.