Long before East by West, and before Hemsley+Hemsley, I worked as a model for 15 years. Since much of that time was spent shooting swimwear, if there’s one thing I’m expert in, it’s the difference in confidence that a good-fitting bikini can bring you. It’s not so much about it being ‘flattering’, but about feeling supported, comfortable and happy, in a swimwear design and colour that you also love.
With the growing awareness around what, how and where our clothes are made and increasing choice as to what you can pick, sustainability is a major factor for me when clothes shopping, including for a swimsuit. Today, there is a huge sea change (excuse the pun); brands are popping up with 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.
The change has happened remarkably fast – only about six years ago, I went online to find some new pyjamas and searched for something ethical and sustainable, but everything I came across was an assault to the senses. Now all you have to do is search for ‘sustainable swimwear’ and you’re presented with near-endless options.
It’s wonderful to have such a range of choice, but where do you even start? I’ve found a few favourites in my research, brands whose designs stand the test of time both quality- and style-wise, because being able to keep an item for years is a huge part of sustainable fashion.
Lilliput and Felix
They create fun silhouettes in bold prints and colours, 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.
Shop now: Rash Guard for £75 from Rubymoon
This sportswear brand surely deserves a mention, first for privileging comfort and movement in their swimwear, but most importantly for their nonprofit model, using ocean-preserving materials and putting all profits towards business loans to empower female entrepreneurs worldwide.
Lastly, I’m a big fan of this brand, who are 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.
And here are a couple more sustainable swimwear brands from the Marie Claire team…
Shop now: The red swimsuit for £140 from David J
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 (the target will be to achieve 60% closed loop recycling by 2020).
This is more towards the higher end of things, but if you’re looking for simple, luxury swimwear that’s UK based (so cuts down the journey of your clothing), then ToDiveFor have some gorgeous numbers.
adidas AMPHI collection
Shop now: adidas AMPHI swimwear, from £22.95
adidas has launched the second AMPHI collection for the Fall/Winter 2018 season, integrating advanced bust supports for females with a passion for versatile training regimes in, on and at the water. Similar to the SS18 AMPHI collection, Econyl®, a recycled yarn, is used throughout, providing chlorine resistance and a UPF 50 rating, limiting the UV radiation falling on the surface of the garment, making it durable even in the strongest sun conditions.