All materials in some way or another take from our lovely planet, but some are a lot more sustainable and less destructive than others. For those looking to tread a little lighter knowing they’re wading blue waters with a swimwear brand sourced from sustainable materials, know that there are a number of brands out there that have taken extra measures to create high-quality, eco-minded textiles, as well as seek production facilities that support fair trade and safe labor.
Whatever your needs and wants may be, there is an entire pod of sustainable swimwear lines out there. These brands are doing their part in encouraging fellow saltwater dwellers and wave chasers to dive into the world of slow fashion, and to take action around the critical issue of responsible consumption. From design and production to packaging, distribution and partnerships, these are the brands that are making a serious splash in minimizing their carbon footprint while maximizing their positive social impact, giving us all the more reason to get a little wet and wild.
This Southern California brand has been paving the way for plant-based bikinis and bodysuits, from high-performance, recycled materials such as BioSculpt® (the world's first premium swim fabric made from plant-based fiber, especially breathable for water and workouts) and EcoLux® (made from a recycled nylon and Lycra® blend, providing a hella stretchy, butter-smooth fit). Plus other innovative textiles trailblazing the fashion sector such as EcoRib® and EcoTex®.
And whenever possible, Vitamin A works with vertically integrated facilities, so everything from dyeing to knitting is done in one location. For some products that cannot be made in California, it partners globally with fair trade artisans to produce materials ethically, and in safe working conditions. Meanwhile, Vitamin A’s partnership with 1% For The Planet gives back a portion of every sale to environmental organizations that protect our oceans (such as Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, Greenpeace, Women’s Earth Alliance and more).
Eco-lifestyle brand, Tropic of C, is the brainchild of supermodel and philanthropist Candice Swanepoel. Born with the health of the planet in mind, the super sexy swimwear line is inspired by Swanepoel’s life spent at the beach, growing up in South Africa. The former Victoria's Secret Angel is more about ethical purpose and positive impact than glittering garter belts and bedazzled C-cups these days (not that there's anything wrong with the latter!).
A direct-to-consumer brand, Tropic cuts out the middleman so it can offer fair pricing for incredible quality. It continually aims to reduce the environmental impact of production by implementing sustainable fabric development and refining its manufacturing processes to its partnerships/programs that support women around the globe. It also commissions products from artisan groups in the developing world. Made from 100 percent recycled materials such as fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial plastics rescued from landfills and oceans, bikinis are made ultra-durable so all styles maintain their shape over time.
Outerknown has swimwear of all styles, but we especially dig this surf suit, which is made from recycled nylon and spandex. Plus, the fabric is UPF 30+ to 50+, which gives you more protection from the sunshine while you’re catching waves. It’s available in nine different colors and patterns.
Professional surfer and 11x World Champion (the GOAT really, if you ask just about anyone), Kelly Slater and creative director John Moore set out to change the clothing industry with outdoor brand, Outerknown. Having pioneered many new ideas for sustainable surfwear design, they were the first to launch ECONYL® clothing, turning nylon waste like carpeting and fishing nets into endlessly organic and regenerative fibers. In an effort to be radically transparent, the site also publishes its supplier list, showing a global network of manufacturers and makers who share its values and abide by the strict guidelines of Fair Labor Association (FLA), Bluesign, and Fair Trade (for select partners). Its swim line is made of 80 percent recycled and regenerated nylon, 20 percent spandex, and a bonus of UPF 30 to 50+ sun protection.
Manifested from the beach on a surf trip in San Pacho, Mexico by two friends, Carve was made for folks with all kinds of bodies and a real passion for adventure. 100 percent of the surf apparel company’s swimwear is made from plastic bottles, with one swimsuit equaling five plastic bottles coming out of the landfill—or worse, the ocean. Its chosen swim fabric not only reduces its reliance on petroleum, but cuts back on 80 percent of carbon emissions in air and water pollution. Expect a seamless construction and UPF 50+ in its expansive line of swim styles and prints built for people actively engaged in the outdoor world.
Live your best Baywatch-inspired life with this classic siren red one-piece that features a plunging V-neck, built-in shelf bra for support (plus removable pads), and wide straps for comfort. Made from Italian, sustainable fabric that’s buttery soft, it also dries really quickly and has fade-resistant tech. Scoop it in six other colors.
The beloved eco-and body-positive clothing brand designed with Millennials in mind, Everlane, thankfully broke into the swimwear scene recently. Designs are thoughtful and yet simple, much like the rest of their catalog. Made in an ethical factory in Kandy, Sri Lanka, find radical transparency from the brand (from materials and labor to transportation and retail markups).
Swimwear basics include collections made with 82 percent ECONYL® yarn made from nylon waste otherwise polluting the Earth (including fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic rescued from all over the world).
Founded in Indonesia, Faithfull the Brand has care, quality and authenticity weaved into its fabric. From day one, it’s collaborated with Bali’s best manufacturers to create hand-made, hand-dyed and hand-printed garments. At the heart of the brand are thoughtfully produced, socially responsible designs that evoke a sense of summer and a spirit of travel. The ECONYL® Nylon for Fathfull’s retro-chic printed swimwear is collected from landfills and oceans around the world. Garments are also lined from 90 percent REPREVE® recycled polyester and 10 percent Certified Elastane.
As of 2021, Faithfull became a certified B Corporation, based on its commitment to its community, environmental performance, public transparency, legal accountability, conscious commercial practices, and its pledge to be a force for good.
Designed by hand in the coastal slice of heaven known as Byron Bay, Australia, Spell is the epitome of slow fashion, with some pieces taking up to a year from sketch, and being sent overseas for final production by its SAI-approved Swim Partner in Dongguan, China. Crafted from 82 percent recycled Polyamide (to promote circularity by turning waste into resources), and 18 percent elastane (for a comfy stretch), you'll find what you need and then some (although the styles are very curated).
Mix and match florals and animal prints for a bit of playful fun. All styles come digitally printed, which means Spell is able to produce intricately and precisely detailed prints using less water, less energy, less ink and less of a risk of chemical runoff to the environment (compared to conventional screen printing methods). Spell saves up to 95 percent of water usage and reduces energy consumption up to 75 percent.
Patagonia is no stranger to eco-minded consumerism. And expanding into swimwear has never been smarter for the ever-popular outdoor brand. Using 87 percent recycled nylon made from post-industrial waste fiber and discards from weaving mills and post-consumer fishing nets, Patagonia’s swim comes with an added punch being Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.
Incorporating as much recycled nylon and polyester as it can in its products lessens its dependence on virgin petroleum as a raw material source, reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing, and helps to eliminate discarded material that would otherwise end up in the open ocean with our many marine friends. So far, Patagonia has kept 527 tons of plastic waste out of the world’s oceans by turning abandoned fishing nets into its sporty gear.
With a mantra as straightforward as “Clothing for Positive Change,” PrAna attracts mindful yogis, surfers, and outdoor athletes alike. Sustainability’s been part of the brand’s DNA from day one, with big steps to have 100 percent of its products made with preferred fibers and materials by 2025. And when it comes to swimwear design, its simplistic cuts, colors and shapes are sublime.
Always quick-drying, rocking a four-way stretch UPF 50+ barrier, PrAna’s swim collection is made with a GRS (Global Recycle Standard), RCS (Recycled Claim Standard), and within a Fair Trade Certified™ Factory. The brand works closely with Linea Aqua, the first apparel manufacturing facility in the world to be certified as Water Neutral, and where the team of designers and makers take multiple trips back and forth from PrAna’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California to the factory in Hanwell, Sri Lanka to ensure consistent standards.
With clean, modern silhouettes featuring soft details and a vivacious body-positive vibe, Summersalt’s architectural one-piece suits with sharp colorblock hues made of recycled materials keep them top of mind (and not just because we get served all the Summersalt IG ads).
The brand’s design team creates its collections using sustainable components and a luxurious fabric crafted from post-consumer materials/waste as a compressive 78 percent recycled polyamide and 22 percent lycra. Summersalt one-pieces are known for its signature compression to feel super secure (no tugging or adjusting in the midst of watersports).
Created and produced in a village in Bali, Indah swimwear line celebrates its 20th anniversary, using this year to affect some significant change through its sustainable methods and materials. The name, meaning "beautiful" in Indonesian, proves beauty should never come at the cost of nature. All of Indah’s pieces are made by hand, with its production crafted 100 percent in-house.
The high-end basics of this well-established, athletic performance wear brand successfully broke into the eco-swim market with stamina. Athleta’s recycled H₂ECO nylon/lycra® spandex fabric is all kinds of smooth and sleek, providing sporty seafarers with ultimate mobility and an all-around powerful stretch. All pieces boast UPF 50+ coverage and quick-drying abilities, allowing you to pursue an entire day in the sun and saltwater with no worries of soaking up the car seats or having to stop for aloe vera on the way home after a full send in the surf.
Inspired by coral—one of the planet's largest and most endangered ecosystems—Koraru is dedicated to circularity. The brand's stunning swimsuits are made using materials that would normally be dubbed as waste, such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, and industrial plastic. But it doesn't stop at the suits—the packaging is planet-friendly, too. Boxes are lined with reused algae fibers, while the bikinis themselves come wrapped in a sustainably-sourced celluose envelope that's kinder on Earth. Each suit reduces ocean plastic, champions natural resources, and promotes ethical production—can your regular swim trunks do that?
Chic meets sustainability in this beautiful top. The shape is one thing, but look closely and you’ll find fine details that elevate each top, like a trendy double strap and a delicate, gold closure at the back. Available in cream, white, orange, and maroon. Matching bottoms are available, too.
Since Londre launching in 2017, the brand has successfully upcycled more than, "750,000 plastic bottles, planted a coral reef, and taken over 4.5 tons of plastic off the Pacific Rim Coast." That's because everything—from water usage to its repair program—is made to promote sustainability and ethical production first. And it's cute. From its slinky bikinis and cheeky one-pieces, to resort-worthy sarongs and cover-ups, you'll want to add everything to your cart the moment you scroll.
Your favorite bra and undie brand got a sustainable upgrade in its swim department. The brand's Real Good initiative focuses on Earth-friendly materials and production standards in an effort to save water, reduce ocean plastics, and mitigate waste. The goal? Become carbon neutral by 2030, and look good doing it, thanks to the adorable (and affordable) designs you'll want to spend all summer in.
With so many options from Aerie’s Real Good swim line, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But you can’t go wrong with this simple one-piece suit that features a minimalist cut out and dainty twist front. Available in sizes XXS-XXL with long torso options.
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