Whether you’re staycation-ing this year or jetting off abroad, now’s the time to start shopping for swimwear, and if you want to overhaul your holiday wardrobe in a positive way, sustainable swimwear is where it’s at.
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.
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, whether 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.
Stay Wild Swim is a luxury sustainable swimwear brand founded by sustainable entrepreneurs Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk to tackle the global plastic crisis, a cause close to their hearts.
Their swimwear is made using ECONYL® yarn, a regenerated nylon created from fishing nets and other plastic waste rescued from oceans and landfills worldwide. The brand also uses thread made of upcycled PET bottles and innovative hygiene layers from biodegradable tree pulp.
The collaboration is united by a passion for creating meaningful and sustainable pieces that fuse simplicity with strength, inspiring confidence in the wearer. Made with ECONYL® regenerated nylon and the linings are impregnated with natural Antioxidants, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, to soothe and nourish sun-drenched skin – a signature of all Vanessa Sposi collections.
Mara Hoffman's capsule of neon swimwear is made from a blend of ECONYL®, a regenerated nylon, and Spandex. The company continues to focus on sustainable materials, processes, and production in order to improve and extend each garment’s life, and is a vocal and active advocate in seeking racial and social justice for the sake of a more equitable society.
The majority of the collection is made using ECONYL® made from 100% regenerated nylon that reduces waste from oceans and landfills by recycling items and using all OEKO-TEX certified fabrics which do not contain or release any harmful substances. Additionally, all products are made in Los Angeles, upcycling fabric scraps in the production process to repurpose in a variety of ways. All styles are cut in-house and the brand works with local trim vendors as much as possible to reduce CO2 emissions. The collections are designed to be timeless and less reactive to fast-fashion fleeting trends, taking a more slow fashion approach by offering a limited amount of collections with small production batches, only producing for pre-order wholesale orders and e-comm. The brand also uses biodegradable packaging as well. Lastly, the brand is Certified Carbon Neutral, and has partnered with 1% For The Planet, in 2021 1% of all of the brand's yearly revenue was donated to Oceana and Loggerhad Marine Centre.
Form and Fold, is a Melbourne-born swimwear label founded to fill the gap in the swimwear market for beautiful, functional swimwear that fits and supports women with a D+ cup size.
The founders Carly and Stephanie, were motivated to liberate women from swimwear that doesn’t fit properly, with a particular focus on women with small backs and large busts. Fit and functionality is met with a strong aesthetic foundation of simplicity and an evolving commitment to sustainability.
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.
The label's swimwear range is made of recycled polyamide, which is better suited to swim as the fabric dries quickly.
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 polyamide in this garment is made from recycled materials, and it's a classic style that will last a lifetime.
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.
Crafted from a stretchy jersey fabric made from a blend of recycled and virgin polyester, this bikini top features a bubbly surface. It is made from plastic waste, such as used PET bottles, recycled-polyester yarn helps reduce waste products and lessens the use of oil-based raw 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.
Certified by OEKO-TEX®, this pretty swimsuit is cut from recycled nylon patterned with tiny wildflowers and blended with plenty of stretch, so it sculpts your figure without feeling too restrictive.