By Chere Di Boscio
We’ve written a lot about sustainable swimwear in the past, and have told you that because the suits we feature are made from recycled materials, they’re better than most brands that use new fabrics.
But then we learned about microplastic pollution.
As you probably know, if you’re wearing any clothing made from polyester, acrylic or any other petrol-based, plasticky material, every time you wash that garment, you’re contributing microfibre pollution to the oceans. Microfibers are too small to be filtered out by waste treatment plants, so they can end up in our waterways and oceans by the billions. So imagine if you’re literally swimming in the ocean with a swimsuit made of that stuff!
The truth is, modern swimwear and true sustainability just don’t go hand in hand – unless you’re more into sunbathing than swimming. In that case, no problem: there are some incredible organic cotton and hemp based swimsuits that are perfect for that.
But when you go for a dip, there’s a problem: those fabrics sag when they get wet, and sometimes, the water makes them so heavy, they fall off. Oops! There isn’t a good fabric solution yet for bathing suits that doesn’t result in more plastic in our oceans and landfills – but don’t worry: there’s hope!
Several brands, for example, are using a material called ECONYL®, which is a regenerated nylon fibre developed by global textile manufacturer, Aquafil, and made out of things like fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring, and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans all over the world. That waste is sorted, cleaned, and recycled back to nylon fiber through a regeneration and purification process. It has the potential to be recycled infinitely, which helps create a more circular fashion system.
If you want your swimwear to be sustainable, it’s really up to you to do two key things: 1) Wash garments by hand with cold water or 2) if you use a machine, you can use a GuppyFriend- a washing bag that protects synthetic garments and reduces the amount of microfibers that may enter the water.
Here are 10 sustainable swimwear brands that are using ECONYL® (or better fabrics) that we hope you’ll consider wearing this summer.
Sustainable Swimwear That Recycles Plastic
This well loved LA based brand is best known for its upcycled deadstock fabric, but their swimsuits are constructed from ECONYL. And now, to make their clothing even more eco-friendly, they’re offering a Guppy Bag with each purchase – just pop your suit into it when you wash it, and all microfibres are captured by the bag. Cool!
This is one of the first ever ethical swimwear brands we covered in Eluxe, and we still adore Koru! There’s lots to love: they not only make swimwear with a naturally built-in SPF of 50, but they also offer accessories like Buddha beads, wood sunglasses and sun hats.
3. Mara Hoffman
New York designer Mara Hoffman launched her eponymous label in 2000, and since then, she has been striving to make the brand as sustainable as possible by crafting each collection in socially responsible conditions, using ethically sourced, vegan and recycled fabrics. We love her colourfully printed beachwear and feminine silhouettes that are guaranteed to make you stand out on the beach!
Body positivity and racial inclusivity are big issues for this ethical swimwear brand. We adore how their styles all come in a wide range of sizes and colours to suit any body shape or skin tone. Whether you’re looking for a comfortable one piece or a daring bikini, you’re bound to find something that perfectly suits you here!
Chic and sexy are the two key words to describe this sustainable swimwear label, which we here at Eluxe have loved for a long time. Unexpected details like sassy straps or peek-a-boo cutouts make the designs from Vitamin A uniquely beautiful. Not in the market for swimwear? They also make sustainable kaftans, coverup, sandals and more. And did we mention that Vitamin A gives back a portion of proceeds directly to environmental organizations who help to protect our oceans?
6. Le Buns
Driving positive environmental impact is at the heart of this ethical Australian swimwear brand. Every piece is made using only natural, organic and regenerated luxurious fibres, and each garment is thoughtfully designed to enhance the beauty of the natural form and move with you, from on land into the sea.
Made with quick-dry, super soft, 100% recycled and regenerated nylons, Ocin is a sustainable swimwear brand that uses 100% recycled polyesters from plastic bottles saved from landfill and recycled nylon in its fabrics. The materials offer UPF 50+ protection from the sun, and the company works with global social initiatives to clean up and then recycle discarded fishing nets from the oceans. They are also Standard 100 certified by Oeko-Tex, meaning they are free from any harmful chemicals
8. All Sisters
This environmentally and socially conscious swimwear line produces some of the most unique, beautifully cut one pieces out there. Based in Barcelona, allSisters was founded with the belief that sustainability and sexiness never has to come at a price of sacrificing functionality and practicality.
Using only high quality recycled textiles from Italy that carry the Made in Green by OEKO-TEX® certification, which guarantees that they are tested for harmful substances and are made in environmentally friendly facilities and socially responsible workplaces, allSisters also supports local economies by upcycling deadstock from local factories.
This super sexy, beautifully made sustainable swimwear line is crafted by local Balinese communities in safe and ethical circumstances – and of course, they are paid a fair living wage. Each swimsuit is comprised of nearly 80% recycled materials, including old fishing nets and rescued plastic bottles that would have otherwise gone to landfill or worse: into the oceans.