High-performance bathing suits are being developed by a number of Japanese companies eager to breathe new life into swimwear sales.

The companies involved, including Unitika and Toray Industries, are hoping that the introduction of new technology will help combat chlorine damage and improve swimwear sales, which are currently flat.

Unitika has developed a polyester fibre with a special water-repellent surface, helping to preserve colour quality. The fibre should also hold colour dyes better than conventional polyester.

Meanwhile, Toray has combined polyester and nylon to replicate the uneven colour of natural fibres, creating a denim-look swimsuit.

And Solotex Corp, a joint venture between Asahi Kasei and Teijin, is about to launch a bathing suit with improved elasticity, using polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT), instead of polyurethane. As well as improving elasticity, PTT is more resistant to chlorine.