Are you looking to hit the beach in a beautiful and ethical swimsuit this year? With lockdown finally easing, 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. 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.
The most popular swimsuit fabrics are polyester and nylon – both of which are made from plastic. And as we know from my 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.
Filtering Microplastics when Washing Swimwear Fabrics
There are two ways to filter out microplastics when you wash items of clothing, the first is using a guppyfriend bag like this. And the second is to invest in this Filtrol, microfibre filter. Both of these are used to stop microplastic fibres to enter the outlet of your washing machine, which means you’ll be able to reduce the damage caused by washing plastic containing fabrics.
I particularly like the Filtrol listed as this is less restrictive and easier to use, you just attach the filter to your washing machine outlet and clean it once it’s filled up. It’s a great timesaver and according to the product’s technical information, it’s really effective.
Sustainable Swimwear Fabric Options
The most common fabric options for sustainable swimwear usually include recycled plastics, they are:
Econyl is made from regenerated nylon and 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. It is 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.
Here is a list of my favourite sustainable swimwear brands that cover a variety of styles to suit every body type:
Location: London UK
Based in the UK Boden creates planet-friendly, sustainable swimwear. Their stunning swimsuits are made with ECONYL and they are known to make items that last. They are so confident in the durability of their items, it comes with a 365-day guarantee on all our products, which is very impressive!
Tide + Seek
Location: Cornwall, UK
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 where 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
Lilliput and Felix
Location: London, UK
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.
Location: Missouri, USA
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.
Location: California USA
Reformation uses leftover materials (deadstock fabric discarded by other brands) and sustainable fabrics, along with eco-friendly manufacturing practices.
They mainly ECONYL in their swimsuits, which means a large portion of the bathing suit is made from recycled materials.
Do good Swimwear
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.
Location: Florida, USA
At Hulya Swim, they are dedicated to creating the highest quality sustainable 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.
Do you have an eco-swim brand suggestion? Add it to the comments below!