Are you looking for an ethical and sustainable swimsuit brand? Well, you are lucky because there is a sea of options to choose from! So before you hit the beach or pool deck, read on to discover some of the best brands making a splash!
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Why consider a sustainable swimsuit?
One word: plastic. You see most conventional swimwear brands are made using different types of synthetic materials (plastics) like polyester, lycra, spandex, and nylon, all of which come from the petroleum industry and are not sustainable at all.
And if you have ever owned one of these, who hasn't! You know they have a tendency to stretch and fall apart very quickly. These types of suits are not biodegradable and can also shed tiny pieces of plastic called microfibers when you wash them! And when you consider that an estimated 65 million tons of these plastic-based materials are generated every year, all around this is not a good look.
Conscious swimwear is a conundrum because most brands (even the eco ones) are using synthetic fabrics, buts that's okay when done properly!
Fabrics like recycled polyester (also known as Repreve® and EcoLux™) as well as recycled nylon which is made from recycled fishing nets and called Econyl are common in the sustainable swimwear category.
There are benefits to using recycled materials (mostly spandex/elastane) in this way, we are reusing what already exists which means fewer fossil fuels, and using recycled fishing nets keeps harmful plastic pollution from killing or harming marine life.
What is eco swimwear made from?
Anytime we invest in slow fashion, whether that be sandals, dresses, sneakers, or undies we want those items to last, and the same goes for sustainable swimwear brands. As mentioned you will see most of the brands below offer suits made from Lycra spandex/elastane that come with certifications like Global Recycled Standard (GRS), OEKO-Tex 100, Bluesign, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
What to be on the lookout for when shopping for sustainable swimwear
As with all the ethical fashion articles on The Eco Hub, we take the following four criteria into account:
The fabric and materials: are they sustainable? In the case of swimwear are they coming from recycled products? Do they have third-party certifications like the ones noted above?
Ethical sourcing: where and how is the fabric sourced? Are the workers paid a fair wage and do they work in safe and fair conditions? Are the factories where they work certified by: ILO, Fair Labor Association, WRAP, Fair Trade, ISO 14001, SA8000, BSCI, SMETA, ETI, or GOTS?
Corporate responsibility: is the brand taking the extra mile with its packaging? Are they carbon-neutral, a B Crop? Do they work with charities?
Inclusivity: It's all about size inclusivity, ALL bodies deserve to look and feel fabulous.
Our top picks for the best sustainable swimwear
Let's dive in, shall we?
Do Good Swimwear was born from the idea that there are creative ways to recycle, regenerate, and repurpose ocean waste/ plastics into beautiful pieces for active, ocean-loving humans everywhere.
The vision is to see more people being thoughtful with how they shop, and helping future generations of women by purchasing with intent and purpose.
When you hit the "shop" tab on their website you will find a colorful collection of bikinis, one-pieces, high-waist, low waist, onesies, and even cheeky bottoms. Right now they offer size small to XL and keep your eyes peeled because they are currently expanding their size range.
Do Good's — fabrics and materials
All of their affordable sustainable swimwear is made out of regenerated ocean waste like fishing nets, plastic bottles, and even old nylons. The result is beautifully soft, durable, comfortable material that is built to last!
Do Good's — ethical sourcing
The fabric they use is called Econyl, it's ethically made in Italy and sourced in Oregan and New York.
Do Good's — corporate responsibility
A portion of all profits donates to ocean conservation efforts, tree planting, and empowering women in need by working with nonprofits that help girls and women stay in school, get vocational training, or even help microfinance their own small businesses so that they can thrive.
Kitty and Vibe, they had us at kitty. These sustainable bathing suits can be summed up in one word: KIND! 💃🏻 In their own words their vibe is simple:
"We believe the ability to feel self-love is within everyone and a great fitting swimsuit can manifest that feeling."
Before you check out their gorgeous selection, you must take the Kitty Size Quiz, it's all about making a "bikini bottom based on your butt size!" UM, HELLO! YES PLEASE! They offer two butt size options for every hip size which means the fabric will always fit and won't be wither too baggy or too tight (but crack looking at you!) The quiz is 15 seconds, take it! Get 15% off too!
Let's talk selection, you will dive right in and find every style you can think of like: string tops, scoop tops, underwire, front tie, plunge, you name it! The same goes for the bottoms: string, ruffle, midrise, etc. SO many colors to choose from.
You can Shop by Vibe, and choose from The Marble Collection which is all about Jade and Marina, or the Carolina Vibe, which is what you see in the photo above. All so cute! Sizes: XS-3XL
Kitty's — fabrics and materials
Half their collection is made from 82% recycled polyester. Take a look at The Soleil, Lune, Dakota, Willow, Sage, and Lilac vibes for this fabric.
Kitty's — ethical sourcing
They ensure ethical labor in all of their small family-owned businesses. They also have an ISO 14001 certification which states"complying with legal requirements and mitigating the environmental impacts of our activity."
Kitty's — corporate responsibility
Boden has you covered if you are looking for ethical swimwear for the whole family. Choose from 500+ pieces that have all been heavily tested by the team to ensure durability, not only that the lineup is pretty impressive with bold, fun colors and patterns in both one and two pieces which by the way you can mix and match! Boden has made shopping so easy with their simple filter where you can pick the size, color, fit pattern, and price! Sizes range from 2-20/22.
Boden's — fabrics and materials
Boden's sustainable swimsuits are made from recycled materials and some of the items are lined with recycled plastic bottles.
Boden's — ethical sourcing
These gorgeous eco-friendly bathing suits are made ethically in China where the factories are SMETA audited and adhere to a Responsible Sourcing Commitment based on ILO and Ethical Trading Initiative standards.
Boden's — corporate responsibility
Boden is working towards making their entire line of cotton be either organic, fair trade, or BCI-certified. They ship everything in 80% recycled packages and they support HERproject, an organization that helps terminally-ill children.
They also support parents of terminally-ill children through New Life, and low-income women via HERproject.
Looking for ethical men’s swimwear and trunks? Bermies has a huge selection of classic and short swim trunks for dudes and kids. They come in a variety of fun colors and patterns, think pineapple vibes and tribal turtles, and more! So cute, you might claim them for your own! They do also carry bikinis and one-pieces for the ladies! Sizes range from XS to XL.
Bermies' — fabrics and materials
Recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets makes up 90% of their eco swimwear with the other 10% coming from virgin lycra and spandex. Recyled plastic is collected, chopped, and melted into chips. Those ships are then extruded into recycled fibers, those fibers are then made into their stylish suits!
Bermies' — ethical sourcing
They are all about people and the planet, everything is made and shipped from their Florida warehouse.
Bermies' — corporate responsibility
In partnership with PlantArg, for every order placed at Bermies, you are helping to plant and protect trees! And when your bathing suit arrives expect it in a compostable mailer.
Patagonia has everything you need for ethical swimwear for women and men. They've got trunks, bikinis, one-pieces, and even wet suits - Surfs up dude! They are all about fit, function, and style. They have a few really cute patterns and some solid colors that will basically go with anything! Sizes XS-XL.
Patagonia's — fabrics and materials
Most of their sustainable swimwear is made from soft, stretchy, and durable 83% recycled nylon/17% spandex (solids) or 83% recycled polyester/17% spandex (prints). Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.
Patagonia's — ethical sourcing
There is a lot to talk about here, too much for one post. So head on over to their website and take a look at The Footprint Chronicles is a super transparent account of every stage of their manufacturing steps. It's super impressive and gives a real account of all of their sustainable measures. You can read more about all of their sustainable practices in our posts on ethical winter hats, fair-trade clothing brands, must-have sweaters, and recycled/upcycled clothing.
Patagonia's — corporate responsibility
As members of 1% For The Planet, they take extra steps to ensure that clothes stay out of landfills with their Worm Wear program where you can trade in your old Patagonia clothing for other second-hand duds. Win-win!
Designer Emily Laplume brings her recycled swimwear to life by hand! Each piece is sewn in her Oregon home, and the attention to detail is evident in her minimalist collection. XS-XXL sizes.
Saturday Swimwear's — fabrics and materials
Each piece is made from regenerated nylon derived from used and discarded fishing nets, fabric scraps, and used carpets. This regenerated nylon reduces the impact of nylon production by 80% compared to virgin nylon production. This material is blended with XTRA Life Lycra to achieve superior durability and 50+ UPF sun protection.
Saturday Swimwear's — ethical sourcing
Hand-made and sourced in the USA!
Saturday Swimwear's — corporate responsibility
They use recycled and curbside recyclable paper mailers and recycled paper hang tags with soy-based inks.
Salomé is a straight-up sexy sustainable swimwear brand, their suits are GORGEOUS! Their mission:
"to create swimwear that fits womxn beautifully, celebrates our bodies, and empowers us to feel our very best while being responsible for the environment."
The Naborí Tinta top and bottom are simply stunning, they have this classic chic and bombshell vibe all happening at the same time (pictured above). On each page, you will find a beautiful description of the story behind the swimsuit (the Naborí were the everyday people in the Taíno society. They are the farmers, hunters, and fishers) where its made, and its fabrics. Sizes S-XL
Salomé — fabrics and materials
They use Italian fabric made from ECONYL® regenerated nylon fiber.
Salomé — ethical sourcing
The fabric comes from Italy and the eco friendly swimwear collection is made ethically by women in the founder's home country, Dominican Republic.
Salomé — corporate responsibility
All suits are made in limited quantities to reduce waste.
8. Sensi Graves
Another phenomenal brand to choose from! Sensi Graves offers recycled swimsuits that make you want to get up and move. The styles and cuts are so versatile and fun made for anybody who wants to move around and knows that nothing will fall out if you get my drift! The brand was founded by Sensi Graves, s professional kiteboarder so that totally makes sense. There is a range of bikini tops and bottoms to choose from in designs that are as fresh as ever! And tested for high-performance
Sensi Graves's — fabrics and materials
Made with Econyl or Repreve recycled fabrics. Econyl and Repreve are recycled/regenerated nylon fabrics made from plastic water bottles or plastic waste found in the ocean, including fishing nets.
Sensi Graves's — ethical sourcing
All pieces are made in the USA by accomplished seamstresses earning living wages. Sensi Graves is a women-owned business with a mission to empower women in sports.
Sensi Graves's — corporate responsibility
Members of 1% For The Planet! AND, no plastic mailers here!
Girlfriend Collective is a plus-size eco friendly swimwear brand that is seriously good swimwear that ranges from sporty to classic. We know this brand well, we featured them in our organic undies post, and we're excited to them come out with this collection of swimsuits.
Girlfriend Collective's — fabrics and material
Body made with 78% ECONYL® regenerated nylon, 22% spandex and lining made with 87% regenerated nylon, 13% spandex.
Girlfriend Collective's — ethical sourcing
Girlfriend Collective’s fabric factory is SA8000 certified; a certification by Social Accountability International designed to protect workers worldwide through standardized working condition guidelines and wage guidelines.
Girlfriend Collective's — corporate responsibility
Their packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable, so don’t throw it away!
Final thoughts on sustainable swimwear
Like anything where slow fashion is concerned, we want to invest in things that last, and sometimes that means spending a little more money. If you have it! We are not all lucky enough to be spending money on a bathing suit, we get that! But where you can opt for the more ethical choice goes a long way in protecting people and the planet's natural resources.
Do you have a fav green swimsuit line? Share in the comments below! If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – sharing is caring 🙂!