• Avery Smith

Swimsuit: An Exposé

As we begin second semester, many of us are dreading the long quarter until spring break. It seems offensively far away. But, thanks to some modern production, shipping, and environmental issues, it may not even be possible to order a swimsuit and have it delivered before break, which makes it seem much closer. Covid-19 Delays When Covid-19 began, online shopping increased by 32%. Consequently, the amount of deliveries rose as well. However, because of the pandemic, many companies have had to downsize in order to distance and remain safe. The increased need for workers at online companies along with the decrease of available workers has led to a significant delay in shipping, meaning that even ordering swimsuits now may be risky as delivery can be delayed months. These conditions have made us realize how dependent the United States is on the supply chain. "When a finite supply of packaging can't keep up with the demand, when there aren't enough longshoremen or truck drivers or postal workers, when a container ship gets wedged sideways in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes--the effects ripple outward for weeks or months" (The Atlantic). According to Dan Hearsch, a consultant who specializes in supply-chain management, "everything's broken." Shipping has become much more expensive because of high demand, and in order for companies to get orders to customers, they have to pay 500% more. This creates the delays to which we have all become accustomed during the pandemic. As the companies we love begin to have months of delay, we turn to the fastest option—Amazon—and that has made Amazon's sales skyrocket. Amazon Monopoly In the past year, an antitrust lawsuit was filed against Amazon, which brings the retail company to a point where many ask: is Amazon a monopoly? A monopoly is "a business that is effectively the only provider of a good or service, giving it a tremendous competitive advantage over any other company that tries to provide a similar product or service" (The Balance). At this moment, Amazon doesn't qualify as a monopoly because it doesn't entirely meet the Federal Trade Commission's definition. That doesn't mean that it will not be in the future. It continues to accumulate more market shares, and is a giant threat to its competitors. "If the antitrust laws become stricter and more aggressive, Amazon could be classified as a monopoly" (Loyola University Chicago). Why does this matter? As Amazon grows, it pushes many of our beloved companies out to make room, and we lose the diversity that we wish to keep in the online stores we use. In terms of swimsuits, only shopping on Amazon would not be nearly as fun, or have as many cute and sustainable options, as most companies supported by Amazon are fast fashion companies. Fast Fashion Industry Fast Fashion is an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers (Merriam-Webster). Because fast fashion so heavily relies on trends, the clothing is easily disposable and often only worn few times. Along with that, they hire garment workers that rarely make a living wage (Fashion Checker). Also, the clothing production industry is the third biggest industry, but "contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined" (House of Common Environmental Audit Committee). Lack of recycling, along with clothing underutilization has lead to more than 500 billion dollars lost every year (Ellen MacArthur Foundation). The effects that this industry has on the environment are drastic, one reason being their use of open-loop production cycles that pollute land and water (NYT), and that they are responsible for 8% of carbon emissions (United Nations). Although we are able to use fast fashion to benefit ourselves and find cute, inexpensive swimsuits, it drastically hurts the environment. Perhaps we should focus on finding some environmentally-friendly swimwear options to our wardrobe! Eco-Friendly Swimwear 1. Summersalt (based in St. Louis!) https://www.summersalt.com

2. Boden https://www.bodenusa.com

3. Frankie's Bikinis https://frankiesbikinis.com

SOURCES: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/18/covid-retail-e-commerce-environment-522786 https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2021/09/pandemic-supply-chain-nightmare-slow-shipping/620147/ http://blogs.luc.edu/compliance/?p=3997 https://www.thebalance.com/monopoly-4-reasons-it-s-bad-and-its-history-3305945 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fast%20fashion https://goodonyou.eco/fast-fashion-facts/