Whether we’re lucky enough to head out on an international holiday from 17th May, or to enjoy a UK heatwave like last summer, there’s no better time to start shopping for sustainable swimwear.
As we grow more aware of how, where and what our clothes are made, sustainability is becoming key when clothes shopping, and that includes the less obvious garments, such as bikinis and swimsuits.
To make our job easier, brands are introducing more conscious production methods and established companies are having to reconfigure their own production. These are all moves in the right direction and our buying power can help speed the process up.
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What is sustainable swimwear?
As with most sustainable fashion brands, there are various ways in which swimwear labels can be more eco-conscious, starting with the fabric: what it’s made of, if it’s durable and if it’s easily recyclable.
Some recycle existing materials such as fishnets and plastic bottles to avoid waste and use up fewer resources, which goes a small way to fixing the amount of rubbish and pollution in our oceans. Others focus on organic and natural fabrics.
You also want to make sure the supply chain is as transparent as possible, and look at whether whether workers are paid fairly, how far the garment has had to travel from and how (for example by plane or by car), and whether the packaging it’s sent in is eco-friendly.
Where can I buy a sustainable bathing suit?
Luckily, wether it’s small independent brands or bigger high street and sportswear names, plenty of brands are investing in sustainable practices for their garments, including bikinis and swimsuits.
Shop my edit of the best sustainable swimwear brands below, and while I have you, do check out these fabulous sustainable lingerie brands while you’re at it.
Certified by OEKO-TEX®, this black 'Nineties' one-piece is made locally in Australia, and cut from smooth stretch-REPREVE® that'll retain its shape.
The polyamide used for this product is recycled, and the supply change is fully transparent on the product page.
This chic, halterneck style not only looks great, but both the nylon in this swimsuit, plus the polyester lining is made from recycled materials.
This brand is committed to the fair treatment of the workers who create their sleek monochromatic swimsuits, as well as using eco-friendly fabrics and ensuring the timelessness of each piece. You can mix and match most pieces to make sure they fit your body shape.
Devon-based Davy J's first collection uses 100% regenerated nylon yarn from waste including spent and ghost fishing nets (an average of 640,000 tons of fishing nets are left in the oceans every year). Their swimsuits are built to last, however, when they do reach the end of their life, you're encouraged to return them so the brand can recycle them.
Jade Swim uses responsibly sourced organic, recycled and regenerated materials wherever possible, with the majority of the collection is made from ECONYL which is made out of 100% regenerated nylon. This reduces waste from oceans and landfills by recycling items such as fishing nets, plastic bottles and fabric scraps.
All PAPER swimwear is made from ECONYL, a 100% regenerated Nylon fibre made from recycled fishing nets and any waste products found floating around the ocean. This techno fabric provides protection against UV rays and sun cream.
The brand turns ocean waste into swimwear. All swimsuits are made with Vita by Carvico, a sustainable techno-fabric made of Econyl; regenerated Nylon that turns waste problems into fashion and interior solutions.Vita is versatile, hyper-resistant, thin, elegant, stretch, soft and breathable: a unique mix of muscle compression and comfort. Thanks to its innovative construction, it is twice as resistant to chlorine, suntan creams and oils than competitors fabrics.
The label's swimwear range is made of recycled polyester, which is better suited to swim as the fabric dries quickly.
These timeless designs are created in London, and have been awarded the Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark, which recognises brands that work to actively diminish their environmental footprint, as well as positively impact their communities.
This sportswear brand transforms ocean waste into clothing whilst donating 100% of its profits into micro loans for women entrepreneurs globally. So far it has helped over 1000 women and their families to find a route out of poverty.