Neoprene / scuba: fashion’s new favourite fabric

Neoprene: you’re probably more used to seeing it on wetsuits than on regular suits – which is why it’s often referred to as “scuba” on the pages of fashion websites.

Over the past few seasons, though, neoprene has gone mainstream, and can currently be found on skirts, dresses, blazers and pants just about everywhere. It’s not “new” in the strict sense of the word, of course: there are plenty of examples of designers using neoprene fabric in the past, but there’s definitely a lot more of it around right now, much to our joy. And what’s so great about neoprene – or scuba, if you prefer? Well…

neoprene scuba skater skirts

Neoprene/scuba skater skirts from River Island

1. Neoprene is hard-wearing

There’s a good reason neoprene is used to line landfills: it lasts forever. Well, for a long time, anyway. Unlike some other fabrics, which you can expect to fade, pill or wear out after a certain amount of time, the neoprene/scuba items we’re seeing in stores at the moment are more likely to last longer than the season you buy them in.

2. Neoprene is crease-proof

We’ve said it time and time again, but nothing ruins an outfit faster than a ton of creases. Unfortunately, some creases are unavoidable, and if you drive to work, sit down all day, or, you know, LIVE YOUR LIFE, you’re probably going to pick up the odd wrinkle here and here. Not in neoprene, however: the fabric WILL crease eventually, but it’s far more wrinkle-resistant than most, and you can generally get through the day (And beyond) in a neoprene skirt, say, without it looking any different from when you put it on that morning.

3. Neoprene gives great structure

Have you noticed how often the phrase “scuba skater skirt” pops up on retail websites these days? Neoprene/scuba is a great choice of fabric for full skirts because it’s really good at holding its shape, so you get a lot of structure and fullness without the need for petticoats, boning, or other tricks. For this reason it’s also being used frequently on things like blazers or dresses, which need to hold their shape without going floppy. No one likes a floppy blazer, do they?

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite neoprene items below. What do you think of the use of this fabric in fashion: are you a fan?


  • September 13, 2013


    The fact that neoprene never wears out wouldn’t be a plus for me or many other people. The last thing we need is increased production of materials that will eventually reach our landfills and never break down.
    It is on the other hand good to have clothes that last so we go through less clothing but I don’t think that justifies this type of material in fashion.There are a lot of durable materials that are more natural. Especially not if it is becoming a “trendy” item that is bound to become next years faux pas.
    Just sayin’!

    View Comment
    • September 20, 2013


      Well, recycle it if you don’t like the dress any more, make a laptop bag or something from it. Cotton, with a yearly crop of over 26 million metric tons, is actually one of the least environmentally friendly fibres due to the enormous amounts of pesticides it is sprayed with (organic cotton is difficult to grow and accounts for only a small part of the production volume). Though it sounds counterintuitive, man-made fibres are much more water-saving, cleaner and more energy-efficient.

      That said, the only solution is to buy less. Don’t even think of buying something that might become next year’s faux pas if you are concerned – as we all should be.

      View Comment
  • September 14, 2013


    I’m a fan and i’m going to check some of those items 🙂

    View Comment