13 Ethical & Sustainable Swimwear Brands for Carefree Summer Days

Sustainable Swimwear

Are you looking to hit the beach in beautiful and sustainable swimwear that makes you feel and look wonderful? It doesn’t matter if you’ll be going on a staycation in your back garden or if you are keen to bite the bullet and travel, an ethical swimsuit is a summer essential.

But before you pack your vegan sunscreen and wooden sunglasses, there is something you’ll need to keep in mind, however. Swimsuits are made of plastic as it’s the plastic fibres that provide elasticity to your suit. As far as we know there is no way of getting around or removing plastic from swimsuit material with the textiles we have available today.

Similar to ethical underwear the most popular swimsuit fabrics are polyester and nylon – both of which are made from plastic as mentioned. And as you may know from our previous post about sustainable fashion, the trouble with plastic in clothing is that it sheds microplastic fibres every time it’s washed.

But this doesn’t mean that you can never wear a swimsuit again, you can still make smarter choices and take extra care when washing plastic containing clothing items not just your swimwear.

Where there is a will there is always a way!

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Sustainable Swimwear Brand to Love

Here is a list of our favourite ethical and sustainable swimwear brands that cover a variety of price points and styles to suit every body type:

Boden Sustainable Swimwear
Image by Boden

1. Boden

Location | London UK 
Price | $$

Based in the UK Boden creates planet-friendly, sustainable swimwear. Their stunning swimsuits are made with ECONYL®, a regenerated nylon, and they are known to make items that last. Bodin is so confident in the durability of their items, it comes with a 365-day guarantee on all our products, which is very impressive!

Visit Boden Online

Tice + Seek
Image by Tide+Seek

2. Tide + Seek Swimwear

Location| Cornwall, UK
Price | $$

Tide + seek is handmade in Bali and work to reduce the number of plastic bottles that go into landfills every year.

Their fabric of choice is REPREVE®, which is made from recycled plastics. This means the production of the fabric offsets the use of new petroleum, emitting fewer greenhouse gases while conserving water and energy throughout the process. 

Find them on Asos

Summersalt Sustainable Swimwear
Image by Summersalt

3. Summersalt

Location | Missouri, USA
Price | $$

Summersalt’s swimwear is made of a super compressive, luxurious fabric crafted from 78% Recycled Polyamide. These fabrics are crafted from recycled plastics, post-consumer materials and nylon waste like old fishing nets that are pulled from our oceans.

They take a data approach when it comes to style and used over 1.5 million body measurements from 10,000 women to inform the Summersalt fit.

See them at www.summersalt.com

Image by O’Neill

4. O’Neill

Location | California, USA
Price | $$

O’Neill is definitely not a newbie when it comes to making swimwear. And you might not think of them when considering sustainable options. However, their blue collection is made with environmental responsibility and uses REPREVE®.

The company is committed to protecting our oceans and we hope that they will eventually make their whole range from responsibly sourced fabrics.

Visit them at www.oneil.com

Image by Vitamin A

5. Vitamin A

Location | California USA
Price | $$$

Vitamin A is a truly sustainable and ethical brand with a commitment to the environment. They have also partnered with 1% For The Planet.

The company considers their full supply chain; textiles, their factories, distribution and even their packaging. If you are looking for an end-to-end sustainable brand Vitamin A is a good option.

Visit them at www.vitaminaswim.com

Reformation Swimwear
Image by Reformation

6. Reformation

Location | California USA
Price | $$

Reformation uses leftover materials (deadstock fabric discarded by other brands) and sustainable fabrics, along with eco-friendly manufacturing practices. 

They mainly use ECONYL® in their swimsuits, which means a large portion of the bathing suit is made from recycled materials.

See them at www.thereformation.com

Frakies Bikinis
Image by Frankies Bikinis

7. Frankies Bikinis

Location | Los Angeles, USA
Price | $$

Frankies Bikinis launched a sustainable collection made with Amni Soul Eco an eco-friendly fabric that takes roughly three years to decompose after being properly disposed of in landfills.

With this range, they aim to minimise water waste and reduce greenhouse gasses.

Find them at frankiesbikinis.com.

Stay Wild Swimwear
Image by Stay Wild

8. Stay Wild

Location| London, UK
Price | $$$

Stay Wild is a premium sustainable swimwear brand, made from ECONYL®. All items are made and designed in London.

The company considers people and planet throughout their business and their designs are both practical and stylish.

They do stock Guppy Friend bags to help curb microplastics in the environment.

You can find them at selfridges.com

Casa Raki Ethical Swimwear
Image by Casa Raki

9. Casa Raki

Location | London, UK
Price | $$$

Casa Raki is a premium brand designed in London and made ethically in Portugal. Their beautiful designs are inspired by South America.

The company partners with like-minded businesses throughout their supply chain, aiming to produce eco-conscious and ethical products. Casa Raki’s fabric of choice for their sustainable swimwear is ECONYL®.

Find them at matchesfashion.com

Do Good Swimwear

10. Do good Swimwear

Location | USA
Price | $$

Made from recycled material, Do Good Swimwear focus on creating classic, timeless cuts in a fun, but a limited assortment of colours, which you can mix and match so it will last for many seasons to come. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste. 

See them at dogoodswimwear.com

11. Flap Happy

Location| California, USA
Price | $

Flap Happy is true pioneers of UV protective baby and children’s sustainable swimwear. They use REPREVE® and is committed to the health of children and the earth.

The company makes a collection of swim hats and swimsuits for boys and girls. You can find them on Amazon or from flaphappy.com.

Find them at Amazon UK or Amazon USA.

Image by Hulya Swim

12. Hulya Swim

Location| Florida, USA
Price | $$

At Hulya Swim, they are dedicated to creating the highest quality swimwear products made from eco-friendly, sustainable and recycled materials including ghost nets, carpet fibres, and tulle, which are all found in the ocean.

Their products are extremely flattering and copious amounts of time is put into creating each piece. 

Visit them at hulyaswim.com/

Anatasia Top
Image by Lilliput & Felix

13. Lilliput and Felix

Location | London, UK
Price | $$$

Lilliput & Felix is a sustainable, luxury swimwear brand that creates beautifully high-end pieces with a luxurious, structured feel and a sense of romantic nostalgia. The designs focus on ‘multi-tie’ shapes that can be tied to fit all body shapes and celebrate the individual. 

See them at www.lilliputandfelix.com

Sustainable Swimwear Fabric Options

Sustainable Swimwear Brands Pin

The most common fabric options for ethical & sustainable swimwear usually include recycled plastics, they are: 

ECONYL® which is made from regenerated nylon. ECONYL® is a very popular choice with sustainable swimwear brands. It’s made from collected waste such as fishing nets, old carpets and industrial plastic from landfill and the ocean.

These plastics are recycled back to its original purity, which means it has the same properties as regular nylon.

Recycling plastics in this way saves large amounts of crude oil and carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. So besides the microplastic issues during washing, ECONYL® is a great eco fabric option for ethical swimwear.  

REPREVE® is a branded performance fibre made from recycled materials (including plastic bottles). To guarantee the recycled content in their fabrics, REPREVE® uses a tracing technology that verifies recycled content claims for full transparency. At the time of writing, this post over 20 billion plastic bottles has been recycled to make REPREVE® fabrics.

These fabrics are a good option but aren’t always clearly listed on clothing labels, so you’ll have dig a little deeper when evaluating options. The durability of these fabrics also plays an important role.

Filtering Microplastics when Washing Swimwear

Currently, there are two ways to filter out microplastics when you wash items of clothing, the first is using a Guppyfriend bag like this. With the Guppyfriend bag, all you do is put your swimsuit or other plastic containing fabrics within the bag before you put it in the washing machine. Then wash as normal – pretty easy!

And the second option is to invest in this Filtrol, microfibre filter. The Filtrol attaches to the outlet pipe of your washing machine and is perfect for filtering microplastics during every wash. We love this option as you only have to clean the filter out once in a while and forget about the process otherwise. It just does its thing in the background, which is a great timesaver.

Both of these options can be used to stop microplastic fibres from entering the outlet of your washing machine, which means you’ll be able to reduce the damage caused by washing plastic containing fabrics. When you wash any fabrics using an eco-friendly and zero waste laundry detergent will help to minimise environmental toxins from detergents.

Buy Classic Swimsuits that Last

To help reduce the environmental impact of your clothing and swimwear we recommend that you look out for items that will last. Avoid cheaply made fragile fabrics and poorly constructed seams – as the seams often fail before the fabric. Specifically, look for styles that are a bit more forgiving when you lose or gain weight.

And of course, taking good care of your suit will help it last longer, be careful when applying sunscreen as this can weaken and/or stain the fabric.

Disposing of a Swimsuit

Once your favourite swimsuit has come to end of life, make sure that you dispose of it responsibly so that it does not end up in a landfill – unless your suit was specifically created to decompose in a landfill for e.g. Frankies Bikinis listed below.

Our advice is to check with your local council or local authority to see if they have a clothing recycling programme as you’ll be able to recycle your swimsuit along with other clothing items.

Closing Thoughts

Living more sustainably is not a perfect journey. We often have to do the best we can and wait for technology to progress before we can make 100% sustainable choices.

Swimsuits are also not normally suitable for donation, but there are other options. For a few ideas read our post on what to do with old clothes that cannot be donated.

The fabrics used for swimsuits are still made of plastic and will shed a microplastics when you’re swimming, but you can reduce the microplastics that enter the water system during the washing process by using a Filtrol or a Guppyfriend bag.

When you do buy swimwear that is made of recycled plastic you are in essence helping to make recycling more economically viable as you are helping to create demand for this type of plastic. This means that we have a chance to reduce the amount of “virgin plastic” used as well as the widespread pollution it causes when discarded.

Even though these fabrics aren’t perfect it’s a whole lot better for the planet overall than buying a swimsuit from non-recycled plastic fabric.

Do you have an eco-swim brand suggestion? Add it to the comments below!

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