From super-low prices to the hottest, trendiest styles – fast fashion looks appealing on many levels. But behind those bargain buys is a hidden cost: its detrimental environmental effect. In fact, the fashion industry sector ranks second only to oil production when it comes to global pollution!
A staggering amount of fabric waste is being dumped into landfills yearly - up to 70 pounds (32 kgrams) per person! It’s a huge environmental cost, and our planet could soon be paying the price with no practical solution. Even worse than body shaming? Only 15% gets recycled… Yikes!!
But there is a growing movement towards sustainability in the fashion industry, and swimwear is no exception. By choosing sustainable swimwear, you can look good on the beach, feel good about your purchase and do your part for a greener planet.
Sustainability is much more than just the materials a brand uses: looking at all aspects of its policies is essential when deciding between labels. Dive deeper beyond the surface and examine every angle for the best results!. Make sure when researching that you consider these factors as critical indicators:
Material: Look for swimsuits made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic, plant-based fabrics, or natural fibers like organic cotton or linen.
Production processes: Choose brands that use environmentally-friendly production processes, such as water-saving dyeing techniques or solar-powered factories.
Ethics: Consider brands prioritizing ethical labor practices, such as fair wages and safe working conditions.
Transparency: Look for transparent brands about their supply chain and manufacturing processes.
Giveback: Choose brands that give back to the community or environment through charitable donations or sustainability initiatives.
Durability: Select swimsuits made to last so you don't have to replace them as frequently.
The 15 brands we have selected use environmentally-friendly fabrics, come from ethical labor practices, and support philanthropic initiatives - it's fashion that you can feel good about!
Vitamin A is a swimwear and beachwear brand that was founded in 2000 by California-based designer Amahlia Stevens, after working on a design project with Patagonia founder and environmentalist Yvon Chouinard.
Working with the top mills in Italy, Canada, and California, Amahlia pioneered the creation of EcoLux™ —the first premium swim fabric made from recycled nylon fibers. From this innovation, Vitamin A was born, and the brand released the first sustainable bikini made from recycled nylon.
In addition to its sustainability efforts, Vitamin A is also committed to ethical labor practices and gives back to various causes trough membership with 1% for the Planet movement.
This Australian swimwear brand named after the 'Goddess of Water,' is an independent, family-owned label based in North Avoca, a little sunny province north of Sydney. Each piece is made to order, minimizing excess fabric waste and always using the highest quality materials, like the exclusive eco-crinkle CIENNA fabric which is made in Australia and is a textural dream. It is one size fits most and comes in both solid and stripes color-ways.
The label also works with sustainable Italian lycras, using ECONYL® 100% regenerated nylon fiber made from fishnets and other nylon waste (have a look at our article "A Deep Dive into Organic and Recycled Fabrics to Create a Sustainable Swimsuit" to learn more )
Founded in 2015 by Australian sisters Ilona Hamer and Peta Heinsen, Matteau is a modern lifestyle brand that creates swimwear and resort wear for women. The brand - whose name is a union of "matt" (non-glossy) and "eau" the French word for "water" - is known for its stylish and minimalistic swimsuits and beachwear, which are made from high-quality fabrics such as Italian linen, French cotton, and Japanese crepe.
The plain swimwear line is produced with REPREVE® recycled nylon yarn from waste generated in the fiber manufacturing process. The printed line is made with ECONYL® and lined in the same REPREVE® recycled nylon used in plain swimwear.
Founded in Sydney in 2012, Fella Swim's designers Rosie Iffla and Christine Tang sought to create swimwear focusing on impeccable fit, high-quality tailoring, and enduring support.
The brand is known for its stylish and sustainable swimsuits, which are made from eco-friendly materials such as recycled nylon, ECONYL®, and TENCEL®. Fella Swim is committed to sustainability and uses eco-friendly production processes, such as water-saving dyeing techniques, to minimize its environmental impact.
Providing exceptional support, Fella Swim pieces are crafted in high-quality Italian Lycra that's guaranteed to last the test of time. Fella Swim's swimwear is designed to support the body, and their range includes underwire bikini tops for extra bust support.
Founded in 2018 by Australians Elise Wallbank and Julian Tali, this London-based brand has inspired us for months with its passionate mission to bring inclusivity and sustainability into the fashion realm. We have already dedicated an entire article to them. Being "Certified Plastic Negative" shows they are more than just talk - they create stylish pieces and practice what they preach! They collect double as much plastic waste compared to the amount needed for production, plus donate proceeds through rePurpose Global towards Project Anant Pranay, which helps keep plastics out of nature's way.
The American beach brand born in the heart of NYC in 2000 by designer Mara Hoffman, presents collections devoted to exploring color in a celebration of women's empowerment. Since 2015 the brand has become committed to implementing sustainable and responsible practices while finding safe ways to present colorful collections to maintain the brand's core.
With a focus on sustainable practices, Mara Hoffman takes a unique approach, considering materials and production to improve and extend a garment's life. Aiming to create garments that reduce waste, holding the Planet at the heart of creation. They prioritize sourcing natural and organic fibers when selecting materials to ensure their responsibly conscious. The innovative leaders even run a full-circle shop on their e-commerce site where consumers can buy and sell pre-loved pieces from Mara Hoffman.
With a unique twist on swimwear, the innovators Londre Bodywear create minimalist designs from recycled plastic bottles. Being completely transparent with their consumer, the brand acknowledges that, of course, an entire swim piece cannot be made from plastic bottles, therefor they ensure a minimum of 6 goes into each garment.
To keep the ocean clean, they aim to consistently recycle plastic to reduce the amount stranded in the sea. Refraining their brand's home from being constantly polluted, they have recycled over 1 million plastic bottles.
Made ethically and sustainably in North America, Londre was born on the beach to create positive change. Creating flattering, high-quality swimwear with the lowest impact possible, the global community is at the heart of the sustainable brand. Valuing the ocean and their community more than profits or money, Londre's initiatives have led to removing thousands of pounds of rubbish from the coast.
Peony is an Australian swimwear brand that was founded in 2013 by designer and stylist Becky Morton. The brand is known for its stylish and comfortable swimsuits produced entirely in-house made from high-quality sustanaible fabrics such as Econyl and Repreve. Peony is committed to sustainability not only uses recycled materials in its swimsuits, but also gives back to the community through its partnership with the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
Their textured swimsuits are created exclusively using REPREVE®. Offering a fresh and inventive way of fashion, the lining of each swimsuit is even created from 90% REPREVE® fabric.
Zulu and Zephyr
Zulu & Zephyr began its journey in the Summer of 2012. Founders Candice and Karla Rose set out to revive and relive their mother's Australian fashion era in the 1970s. The design brief was to evoke nostalgia with vintage prints and a focus on texture.
Within Resort 23, the label has shifted to 100% Certified Recycled Nylon or Recycled Polyester yarns.
The brand is a member of 1% for the Planet, with a donation commitment of 1% of gross yearly sales on all the Signature Collection of swimwear, denim, and organic tees & shirts. You can read more here.
Faithfull the Brand
Faithfull the Brand is a labor of love crafted in Indonesia since 2012. With Sarah-Jane Abrahams and Helle Them-Enger at its helm, they have created an array of beautiful apparel made by local artisans with quality and authenticity as their guiding principles. The brand is known for its bohemian-inspired clothing, including swimsuits and beachwear, made from eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and TENCEL®.
In addition to its sustainability efforts, Faithfull the Brand is committed to ethical labor practices and gives back to various causes through its philanthropy program.
VerdeLimon is more than just beautiful swimwear - it's a vibrant celebration of Colombian culture that supports sustainable practices and empowers women.
Founded in 2012 by visionary designer Silvia de Brigard who drew inspiration for her collections from the surrounding fauna and flora, this brand has quickly become renowned for its timeless one-piece with tropical motifs to revisited retro bikinis. They produce swimwear using a new fabric made from recycled PET bottles. For each swimsuit created, between 8-14 bottles will be used.
Going beyond fashion, the brand is committed to empowering women, especially single mothers and breadwinners in indigenous or impoverished communities in Colombia, by providing them with regular work and an equitable pay scale.
Founded and designed by fashion model Lina Shek, Navy Ray is a luxury swimwear brand that celebrates femininity while considering sustainability. All pieces are designed and manufactured in Toronto, Canada, using local workers to control all aspects of production. All swimwear fabric is made with 78% ECONYL® regenerated nylon, and they donate 3% of their profits to "Parley for the Oceans" an environmental organization and global collaboration network.
Established in 2016 by Georgia Thompson, Evarae is a Uk swimwear brand with sustainability at its core. The swim is made from regenerated materials for the new season without compromising quality or finish. Organic silk continues to create re-imagined garments using solar and wind energy. At the same time, Cotton alternative Lyocell perfects a closed-loop production and enables 100% of the water to be reused. Even Evarae's swing tags are a testament to the brand's core tenets: the seed paper will grow and bloom when planted.
Evarae prolongs its responsibility by continuing its partnership with the "One Tree Planted" social organization planting a tree for every order placed to offset its carbon footprint. Evarae also implements a free repair service and a recycling initiative. Customers can hand in used and unwanted swimwear from any brand, which will then be responsibly regenerated by Evarae. Packaging is recyclable and biodegradable.
Fisch is an eco-innovative label inspired by Agnes Fischer's childhood spent on Saint Barthélemy snorkeling and exploring the island's wildlife. The brand was born from the desire to create statement swimwear with a superior fit and timeless design that helped to clean waste from the ocean.
Launched in 2017, Fisch was one of the first brands to use ECONYL ® regenerated nylon fiber. Each piece is handmade in Italy from fabric woven in Lombardy to ensure the highest quality possible while helping to minimize our carbon footprint.
Camilla Franks is an internationally renowned fashion designer, making a memorable debut with her first collection at Australian Fashion Week in 2004.
Her style is instantly recognizable for its artistry, creativity, and color combination inspired by far-away places from her travels abroad mixed with flights of fancy.
Australian fashion brand Camilla is making a name for itself not only for its vibrant and bohemian-inspired designs, but also for its commitment to sustainability and social impact. The brand goes beyond designing fashion and accessories that catch the eye, and instead focuses on using its platform to empower others, break down barriers, and inspire positive change.
In conclusion, choosing sustainable swimwear is a great way to look good and feel good about your purchase. The brands we've introduced in this article prioritize sustainability in their materials, production processes, and labor practices, and many also give back to the community or the environment. By choosing one of these brands, you can feel confident that your swimsuit purchase is stylish and environmentally and socially responsible.