Building a sustainable wardrobe can be tricky, especially when it comes to seasonal pieces like swimsuits. Going to a second-hand shop or renting for the holiday is not really an option when it comes to sustainable swimwear. Therefore, it’s easy to fall into the fast fashion trap when you book a last-minute summer trip and have limited time to pack up your beach bag. Since we know how confusing it can be to shop for eco-friendly swimwear, we created this extensive list of sustainable swimwear brands to check out. But first, let’s start with the basics.
What is sustainable swimwear?
Most fast fashion swimwear is made from polyester and nylon, which release plastic microfibres in the wash and pollutes our oceans. In most scenarios, they don’t even last a season and end up in landfills, creating further environmental issues. On the other hand, sustainable swimwear is all about using low-impact, eco-friendly materials that are high-quality and long-lasting. From natural fibres like hemp to recycled materials like ECONYL®, there are many options to choose from. They are also made ethically and responsibly in safe working conditions where workers are paid fair wages. In most cases, ethical swimwear brands use local factories or small workshops to minimize their environmental impact and carbon footprint.
Tips for environmentally friendly swimwear
Now that we have an understanding of sustainable swimwear, let’s look at the things we can do as conscious consumers when building our summer wardrobe.
Look out for recycled swimwear
The fashion industry is finding more creative and innovative ways every day to create eco-friendly alternatives to virgin nylon and polyester. Many brands are opting for recycled fabric options made from ocean waste, plastic bottles and used fishing nets to create sustainable bikinis and swimsuits. That way they are not only fighting plastic pollution but also becoming part of the sustainable solution.
ECONYL®, regenerated nylon from the ocean and landfill waste, and Repreve®, certified recycled fibre from post and pre-consumer waste are the two popular options for recycled plastic swimwear. Make sure to look out for those two materials when shopping, as they are the way forward to a more sustainable swimwear industry. Plus, they look super cool and comfy!
Stick to natural materials
Even though recycled swimwear is a great alternative to nylon counterparts, they don’t offer a complete solution to plastic pollution. They still release microplastics into the water when washed unless you’re being very careful with the way you do it. So if you want to reduce your plastic pollution to zero, opt for brands that use natural fibres such as organic cotton, hemp, and Yulex.
Hemp and cotton are great materials for organic swimwear fabric as they are good and breathable on the skin, making them perfect for hot summer days. And for those of you looking for high-performance swimwear and wetsuits, Yulex, natural solid rubber produced from sustainably grown FSC-certified hevea trees, is a great eco-friendly alternative to neoprene.
Go for neutral tones and natural dyes
We all love bold and vibrant colours when it comes to swimwear. However, they can be quite harmful both to the environment and to our skin. Manufacturers use strong, toxic chemicals to alter the colour of fabric, which then pollutes the environment via water sources. Make sure to do your research and buy from brands that use natural dyes, which in general tend to be more neutral in colours. Many sustainable swimwear brands use low-impact dyes that require less rinsing, hence less water, and avoid using harmful chemicals during their dyeing process. Opting for natural and low-impact dyes is not only good for the environment but also good for your skin!
Take good care of your eco swimwear
Our main tip for building a sustainable wardrobe is to look for long-lasting pieces that will stand the test of time, and try to avoid buying new garments to reduce your environmental impact. Make sure you stick to the care instructions of your sustainable swimsuit to use it for many more years to come.
Handwashing your recycled swimwear reduces the amount of microplastics it releases while increasing the longevity of your swimwear. Therefore, always try to handwash your swimwear with cold water and mild natural soap, and avoid drying under direct sunlight to keep their colour vibrant. If you need to machine-wash, make sure to use Guppyfriend bag to stop microplastics from going into the water source.
Make sure to recycle
One way or another, every piece of swimwear will reach its expiry date. When that day comes, make sure to give your swimwear a second chance by using recycling schemes. Brands that have recycling schemes can either repair your swimwear or recycle it for their new collections. In some cases, they even offer discounts on your next purchase. What’s not to love!
Sustainable swimwear brands
Now that we covered all the basics, let’s look at the eco swimwear brands that are out there. Here’s our carefully curated list of 25 sustainable swimwear brands to explore.
Recycled Swimwear Brands
1- Stay Wild
If you’re looking for swimwear with a purpose, look no further. Stay Wild’s ethical and eco-friendly swimwear is designed for women of all shapes and made from ECONYL®. They are also currently working on a recycling scheme, which will allow them to turn used Stay Wild pieces into new designs. They design and produce all their pieces in London, using a small ethical factory with safe working conditions and fair wages. You can read more about their ethos here.
When it comes to recycled plastic swimwear, Batoko is one of the first brands that comes to mind. As a small independent brand based in England, they choose to keep their collection small and simple to focus on sustainable production. They are also actively involved in the conservation and regeneration of marine life by giving a proportion of their yearly profits to grassroots organisations. Check out their sustainability practices for more information.
Wolven is dedicated to protecting the ocean through its recycled swimwear and sustainable practices. They use OEKO-Tex Certified Recycled P.E.T to make their swimsuits and remove one pound (450 grams) of waste from the ocean for each sale. They also invest in carbon offset programs to make their products carbon-neutral. Not only that, but they are also advocates for diversity and body positivity, which makes them even more attractive!
4- Paper London
Paper is another eco-friendly swimwear brand that offers recycled swimwear pieces designed for women with various body shapes. They have a great recycling scheme where you can return your old Paper swimwear to be used for new designs and get a 20% off on your next purchase!
All Ayla swimwear is made from ECONYL® and Repreve® and adorned with bespoke hand-painted watercolour prints. For the ultimate sustainable chicness, you can combine your recycled swimsuits with natural fibre accessories such as their linen pareos and organic cotton hats.
6- Away That Day
Away That Day is one of those brands that take sustainability seriously. They are not only using ECONYL® to make their swimwear but also compostable and biodegradable mailing bags to ship their swimsuits. They produce all their designs in the UK using a small manufacturer in London with a special focus on ethical production. You can read their sustainability ethos on their website.
FISCH was one of the leading brands to use ECONYL® with a goal to make statement swimwear that is both eco-friendly and flattering. Their entire collection is handmade in Italy using locally sourced fabric to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint. If you’re looking for stylish sustainable bikinis that are ethically sourced, you’ll love FISCH.
With its super fun and glamorous designs, Oceanus is not your average eco swimwear brand. In addition to using ECONYL® and biodegradable embroidery beading, they are also aiming to be a zero-waste swimwear brand, which you can read more about on their website. All their pieces are handmade in London and dyed with natural dyes to protect the environment and the skin.
9- Girlfriend Collective
Big advocates for slow fashion, Girlfriend Collective is taking pride in its transparency and sustainability. From using ECONYL® to eco-friendly dyes, their goal is to be fully sustainable. They even send their waste dye mud to a local pavement facility to use it as recycled material for paving stones! They are also size-inclusive, offering extended sizes to cater to everyone.
10- Do Good Swimwear
Do Good Swimwear is a small women-run company, producing recyclable plastic swimwear from ECONYL® and Repreve®. They donate a portion of their profits to various causes such as ocean conservation, women’s health and girl’s education. They currently don’t have a recycling scheme but they offer a repair program to increase the longevity of their products.
Summersalt offers stylish yet comfortable travel essentials, including recyclable swimwear, for eco-conscious customers. Their swimwear is made using 78% recycled polyamide and offers UV 50+ protection. They are putting a great emphasis on the right fit and comfort, and claiming to have taken over 1.5 million body measurements from 10,000 women to inform their fit. How impressive is that?!
12- Vanessa Sposi
Vanessa Sposi is another eco-conscious swimwear brand opting for ECONYL®. As a member of the 1% For The Planet, they donate 1% of their yearly profits to non-profit environmental organisations. Their swimwear is not only recycled but also infused with aloe vera and vitamin E to nourish sun-drenched skin. Now that’s what we call innovation!
13 – Londre
Londre is a women-led sustainable fashion brand producing ethical and sustainable swimwear in Vancouver. Their recycled swimwear is made ethically from used plastic bottles. This has helped them to recycle 200,000 plastic bottles so far. They also offer recycling and repair programs to keep their sustainability to a maximum. Focusing on small production to minimize waste, they are using compostable and recyclable packaging made from corn to ship their products.
14- Tide + Seek
If you’re looking for fun sustainable swimwear, check out Tide + Seek. Their Repreve® swimsuits are helping to reduce plastic bottle waste while protecting the skin from UV 50+. Win-win!
15- Vitamin A
Feel good, look good and do good! We absolutely love California-based Vitamin A’s motto and can’t agree more. They created their own recycled fibre fabric EcoLux™ and partnered with 1% For The Planet to donate a portion of their profit to protect the ocean. Their swimwear is pretty good too!
16- Mara Hoffman
Well-known for its sustainable collections, all Mara Hoffman swimwear is produced using recycled nylon, ECONYL® or recycled polyester, Repreve®. They use digital printing to reduce water waste and their overall fabric use. In addition to their recycling scheme, they also have a Full Circle Marketplace where you can sell your old Mara Hoffman pieces.
Ethical Swimwear Brands
All Ohoy swimwear is made ethically and sustainably to reduce its environmental impact. Every time you buy one of their sustainable bikinis, they donate 1% to volunteer divers to support the recovery of the old nylon fishing nets from the ocean.
Medina is an eco-conscious luxury swimwear brand, aiming to support various non-profit environmental organisations. They are also trying to use their brand as a way to promote various projects such as The Ocean Clean Up.
19- Hunza G
All Hunza G swimwear is made to order in their studio to prevent fabric waste. Their signature stretch fabric is produced and dyed locally in the UK to reduce their carbon footprint while supporting the local fashion industry. Their timeless designs and signature crinkle fabric make Hunze G swimwear a one to watch.
With a focus on functionality and aesthetics, Prism creates handmade sustainable swimsuits in a family-run Italian factory. They produce a small amount of each product to prevent waste while keeping their collection limited to support conscious consumption.
One of the pioneering brands in sustainable swimwear, Patagonia is putting significant importance on environmental responsibility. They built a comprehensive environmental responsibility and animal welfare program to make sure their materials and products are fully sustainable and ethical. They also offer natural rubber Yulex® wetsuits, perfect for the water sport lovers amongst us.
If you’re looking for high-end ethical swimwear with the best possible price, make sure to check out ACK. ACK is offering 50% of the price to encourage buying directly from them. Produced in Italy from locally sourced materials, ACK swimwear is trying to cater for all body shapes and sizes.
23- Faithfull the Brand
Working with local communities and artisans in Bali, Faithfull the Brand opted for ethical handmade production. Founded by two travellers, the brand offers sustainable and comfortable designs for modern travellers.
Organic Swimwear Brands
24- Natasha Tonic
Hemp is our sustainable fabric of choice, and when we discovered Natasha Tonic’s hand-painted hemp swimwear we got hooked! It’s light, durable, UV resistant, and can also be used as lingerie or activewear. It’s a great sustainable swimwear option for eco-conscious travellers.
25- Kaylyn Gardner
Meet Kaylyn Gardner – an eco-friendly swimwear brand using sustainable knitwear and a natural dyeing process! Using GOTS certified organic cotton and sustainable alpaca wool, they are offering made-to-order knitwear bikinis.
As you can see there are plenty of fabulous sustainable swimwear brands to choose from. From recycled swimwear options to sustainable hemp bikinis, we’re spoilt for choice. Let us know what you think and which sustainable material you prefer in the comments below!