The kind of swimsuits we are all familiar with, are made from knitted nylon with elastane strands in the mix. Swimsuits from Pride's "French Woven" range are made from a very different kind of stretch fabric. In keeping with our mission to raise the standard of swimwear (a garment type Australia invented) we have partnered with one of the world's true innovators on textiles, Payen in Southern France, to offer their technical, stretch woven fabric to buyers of premium swimwear.
Payen's central innovation is a composite thread. Every strand is elastane, with a flexible casing of nylon and polyester around it. By putting the strength of nylon in a strand that will stretch, Payen is able to weave a stretch fabric. Woven fabric is far more amenable to a smart finish—think of the difference between a business shirt and t-shirt. It is also much faster drying and it provides far better shape control too.
Regular (knit) swimsuit fabric stretches effortlessly until the looped spandex strands have been straightened and can start going to work. It's like a coiled phone lead: floppy until nearing its maximum length. The elastane in this woven fabric is straight from the start, providing resistance by merely touching your skin.
You won't believe your French woven swimsuit is made from four pieces of fabric when you first feel it: it will be virtually weightless! To the touch it will be like a piece of crepe paper. Once you are wearing it though, it will feel like an elastic and youthful new layer of skin.
You will also be struck by the time it will take to get such a swimsuit properly wet. The fabric has been developed for competitive swimmers, who go faster when they don't have to pull the dead weight of a waterlogged swimsuit along.
Water just falls from this fabric! Even if you do manage to saturate it completely, you will see that the woven structure holds so little water that drying time is markedly shorter. Think of the time it takes to dry a wet T-shirt compared to a handkerchief hung on the line: that is the difference between knitted and woven fabric when drying.
There is more information on Payen's website, pertaining to muscular movement, durability, UPF 50+ protection, breathability, and certified abrasion resistance.