Kiniki’s tan-through bikini is made of a special fabric that allows sunlight to penetrate through microscopic holes.
It is the curse of sun-kissed holidays – the dreaded zebra crossing look caused by wearing swimwear on the beach. But tanlines could become a thing of the past after a firm developed a range of ‘see-through’ swimming costumes. (Pics)
Although the human eye cannot penetrate the fabric in the Tan Through range from Kiniki, UV rays which cause the skin to darken will pass through, allowing wearers to bronze all over.
Thousands of microscopic holes in the stretchy patented Transol yarn – described by the company as ‘chicken-wire mesh material’ – allows 80 per cent of sunlight reach the skin.
The raw material is transparent when held up to the light but the wearer’s modesty is preserved by special animal prints and abstract patterns which confuse the eye, so onlookers can only see a solid block of fabric.
The range, which is available from www.kiniki.com, includes an all-in-one swimsuit, bikinis and wraps for women, plus briefs, hipsters and tangas for men.
Costs range between £17.43 for the briefs and wrap to £34.68 for the swimsuit or full bikini set. Women’s sizes start at eight and go up to 20, while men can choose from small to XXL.
John Walker, 58, who owns the Staffordshire-based firm and has been manufacturing underwear and swimwear for over 35 years, said: ‘They are selling like hot cakes. We only officially launched four weeks ago but we cannot keep up with demand at the moment.’
Explaining how he stumbled on the idea six years ago, he added: ‘I had some fishnet material in the cutting room and light was coming in from the overhead skylights.
The swimsuits look transparent when held up to the light but are perfectly modest worn on the body
‘I realised using a fabric with holes would be brilliant for taning through – if it wasn’t totally inappropriate.
‘Then I came up with the idea of prints to confuse the eye and have been working on design for the last six years.
‘If you hold it up to a window you can see right through it but once on the body it looks just like a normal swimsuit.’
Mr Walker said sunbathers were guaranteed a smooth all-over tan as long as they remembered one piece of advice.
‘There is an elastic seam on every garment which we advise customers to move regularly because the sun cannot penetrate it. If you’re not careful it will get in the way of a tan,’ he said.
However, there was concern from skin cancer campaigners who are already tackling an increase in cases of malignant melanoma.
The number of people who have been diagnosed with the condition is expected to reach 10,000 this year.
Richard Clifford, secretary the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity, said: ‘By virtue of the fact they are putting a swimsuit over the skin it would be very difficult to apply sun cream underneath.
Men too can benefit from the tan-through technology from Kiniki
‘I think it is a dangerous idea and in the interests of vanity. We recommend UV protected clothing and this is the very opposite.
‘Five people a day are diagnosed with malignant melanomas. It is a killer and affects more people here than in Australia.’
A spokesman for the British Skin Foundation added: ‘Although this may sound like an attractive idea to many people looking to get a tan this summer, the fact that it lets through 80 per cent of sunlight should be the worrying factor.
‘This will mean that people can still damage their skin from UV light, as seemingly the swimsuit will not offer any type of cover to the skin.
‘If people are looking to get that tanned look, there are safer alternatives to sitting out in the sun, like spray tanning.’
But Mr Walker insisted customers were advised to use sun block all over.
The bright colors and patterns of the fabric mean that the mesh-like material seems opaque when on the body.
‘We recommend that you put the same sun protection on underneath the swimsuit as you would on the exposed parts of your body,’ he said.
Kiniki applied for a worldwide patent on Transol fabric two years ago and are expecting it to be approved next year.
The Tan Through range uses a common yarn, polybutylene terephthalate known as PBT, a synthetic material with an elastic stretch that does not contain any lycra.
This makes it more resistant to suncream, chlorine and seawater and is more breathable for the wearer.
John Walker said it is the way in which his firm has used PBT to construct the Transol fabric for their swimsuits which is ground-breaking.
He added: ‘No one else in the world has developed the yarn in this way. ‘Imagine a fish net or string vest material. We have made a very very minute form of that by shrinking any holes right down.’
Via Daily Mail