By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Unlike say, dress hemlines or coat shapes, swimwear doesn’t change styles every season – or even every year – meaning whatever you buy for this year’s holiday should last for years to come. But at the same time, just as with other items in your wardrobe, you want your bathing suit to express something about who you are, right?
For example, are you a little bit creative, or quietly conservative? Love sports, or feel the beach is more a place to read a good book? Are you more likely to be hanging out on a nearly deserted beach in Africa, or at Nikki Beach Club in Ibiza? No matter what the situation or personality, we’ve found some highly talented and innovative designers who are creating some of the best Sustainable Swimwear Styles for every personality.
Californian Vanessa Rivers believes that going green can be pretty damn sexy. All her swimwear is made from VITA, a sustainable techno-fabric with ECONYL®, a 100% recycled polyamide fibre that’s made from pre and post-consumer materials such as discarded fishing nets recovered by the Healthy Seas initiative. The result? Teeny weeny bikinis that could ‘catch’ just about any guy’s attention!
Finally! A swimwear brand that’s handmade, uses recycled fabrics and packaging and a sustainable manufacturing processes, too! And if that’s not enough, the brand, founded by couple Emily May Tait and Marcos Hugo Bello, supports the Regeneration System, which puts an end to unnecessary waste of polyamide material by using nylon fabric made from ECONYL® yarn.
Got a bad case of wanderlust? Eco Gypsy swimwear comes to you straight from Bali, where it’s handmade by local women from cotton, locally sourced shells and feathers and other materials. These gorgeous bikinis are loved by not only Victoria’s Secret models, but Gwyneth Paltrow, too, who is now selling them on her Goop website!
The name kind of says it all: we all exist under the same sun, right? We are all one…It comes as no suprise that the founders of this company, Anna Engellau and Emelie Lindgren, met in a yoga class. They discovered they both had the same vision: to create high performance yoga and beachwear using sustainable practices and eco-friendly recycled materials that are easy on the planet. Today, their lively printed, multi-functional shorts, body suits and bra tops comprise a unique line of swim and activewear that’s completely made of Newlife, a Premium Recycled Polyester made from recycled water bottles.
Patagonia is well known for its ethical practices, so it’s no surprise their swimwear line is produced under safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions throughout the supply chain. These designs are perfect for the practical thinking woman, as they work for loads of outdoor activities: water skiing, surfing, kayaking, and oh yeah – swimming!
Beach culture merges with high fashion in this gorgeous swimwear, which wouldn’t be out of place in Ibiza, St Tropez, Punta del Este or any of the world’s other most stylish hotspots. The brand’s highly original and often hand-embroidered designs have made it one of the most recognisable names in organic-made swimwear, but La Isla has also been lauded for its use of recycled PET fabric in their creations.
These fancy designs may look mega-expensive, but Spunkychic is actually surprisingly affordable. Adding to the brand’s appeal is the fact that they are currently experimenting with recycling fibre content (RePET) and using other green ways to produce swimwear – for example, all tags and the wrapping are made from recycled paper and all collections are manufactured in an ethical factory which is strictly monitored for fair wages and workers rights.
Highly instagrammable Vitamin A creations are often seen on the world’s most beautiful women, like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and Rihanna to name a few. These are truly extraordinary swim pieces, with a fit that is hip-slimming, curve-hugging, bust-boosting, figure-flattering perfection. Designer Amahlia Stevens grew up on the beaches of Southern California, studied art history in London and Los Angeles, modelled swimwear, and traveled the world as a design consultant before setting out to design the perfect, luxurious bikini. Mission accomplished, we’d say!
We love the groovy prints used in Emobi’s designs! They have a distinctively 60s-70s vibe that will appeal to lovers of vintage fashion, but their ethic is decidedly ‘now’ – everything is designed in-house, using a range of environmentally friendly water based dyes that minimise the impact on the beaches and waterways.
10. Modest: RubyMoon
Not keen on showing too much flesh on the beach, but still want to turn heads? RubyMoon is the solution. This sustainable brand offers vibrant, high-quality, affordable swim and activewear for women who want great design, functionality and ethics – in fact, RubyMoon helps women set up and grow businesses across the globe. Yep, that’s right: 100% of the net profits generated by RubyMoon are lent out as small loans to empower women entrepreneurs in eleven nations. And as a tribute to these females, the swimwear pieces are named after the women in whom RubyMoon has invested.
Criss crossed backs, enticing ties and humorous patterns are but a few techniques Shapes in the Sand uses that will appeal to the woman who likes to express herself with a bit of cheek. Handmade in Australia from recycled materials, Shapes in the Sand’s designs are perfect for the woman who thinks her most attractive quality is her sense of humour and fun.
Vegans vixens will already likely be familiar with Brooklyn based Vaute Couture, the label that made runway history as the very first vegan brand to show at New York Fashion Week. PETA named its owner as one of the “Most Influential Designers” in vegan fashion, and today with it’s flagship store, Vaute continues to develop innovative textiles and apparel to create the best outerwear for the woman who deeply respects the Earth and all its little beasties.
Liar defines itself as “Swimwear for the Rebellious, Adventurous Free Spirit,” which kind of demonstrates that their target market is the cool girl. The brand is no liar when it declares to love the ocean and environment, as it creates its collections by focusing on reducing the carbon footprint and ending exploitation in the workplace, by manufacturing in Australia and sourcing innovative, recycled, organic fabrics and trims. Another cool thing Liar does is donate 10% of its profits to the Kosgoda Turtle Care Sanctuary in Sri Lanka.
Not a fan of frills and fluff? Then you’ll adore Cali Dreaming, the swimwear line founded by artist and designer Carrie Jardine and retail consultant Lisa Priolo; two Canadians now living in Venice Beach. They both shared a fascination for basic, clean lines and shapes that could easily fit any body, which they smoothly translated into their swimwear.
Want to stand out from the crowd? Wear something no one else will have ever seen? Amara creates highly unusual yet very flattering cuts from fabric is manufactured from 78% recycled post-consumer materials. in a green energy facility, fully dedicated to the reduction and prevention of pollution, protection and preservation of green spaces, water treatment and monitoring of gas emissions.
16. Arty: Auria
Creative cuts and prints define Auria, a swimwear brand we think would appeal to the woman who appreciates or creates art. Designed and developed in London and made in England from new generation recycled fabrics made from discarded fishing nets and other waste, it comes as no surprise that Auria’s innovative styles have shown at London Fashion Week for the past 3 years.
Hipsters’ natural habitat is generally far from the beach – so they face a dilemma when leaving their urban environments: what to wear? Araks Yeramyan’s designs solve this problem: her work incorporates colours and shapes that are distinctively ‘now’ and are so stylish, you could easily incorporate some of these styles into an urban outfit: just imagine adding jeans or a skirt to one of her chic tops and you’ll see what we mean.
18. Beach Babe: Koru
Koru swimwear is for women who feel they were basically born on the beach; those who are more comfortable barefoot than in boots. All tops and bottoms can be easily mixed and matched, increasing your wardrobe possibilities exponentially, and all fabrics are made of 100% ECONYL.