It used to be a struggle to find eco-friendly and ethical swimwear that was also stylish and high-quality. However, these days there are plenty of sustainable swimwear brands making stunning pieces – here are our some of the best sustainable swimwear brands on the market today!
Why is sustainability in fashion important?
As consumers have demanded increasingly cheaper clothing, swimwear, and accessories over the years, the fashion industry has responded by slashing prices. We can now buy items at a fraction of the comparative cost 20 or 30 years ago, so it’s possible to virtually purchase a new wardrobe every season.
However, this has come at a hidden cost: making production faster and cheaper involves practices that are damaging to people and the planet at all stages of production.
Firstly, the global fashion industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gasses. The majority of fabrics used these days to make clothing and swimwear – such as polyester, nylon, spandex, and lycra – are derived from fossil fuels and petroleum-based compounds.
Extracting fossil fuels is very environmentally destructive, and processing them into fabrics generates large amounts of emissions.
Another problem with fast fashion is the volumes involved: the industry creates huge amounts of clothing that is not designed to last, and consumers buy large numbers of items and then throw them away after just a few wears. At the end of the product life cycle, this means sending a tremendous amount of waste to landfill (though you can recycle clothing).
At the start of the process, producing so much fast fashion represents an incredible drain on the earth’s resources. A staggering 97% of materials used to make clothing are new resources and only 3% are recycled.
The resources used to make clothing and swimwear include oil, fertilizers, and chemicals used to produce the finished fabric, the runoff from which can also cause soil and water pollution. Incredible amounts of water – an increasingly scarce resource globally – are used to grow crops like cotton as well make the final products. The best sustainable swimwear brands will avoid using such resources.
Fast fashion is not only devastating to the natural environment, but it can also have terrible impacts on the people involved in the supply chain. The modern fashion industry too often involves unfair wages, terrible working conditions and exploitation of the workers who grow raw materials, produce fabrics and make garments.
What are the best sustainable swimwear brands to shop for?
The best sustainable swimwear brands aim to minimize their use of natural resources, use recycled materials, and use ethical and environmentally-responsible processes, from how the raw materials are grown, through fabric creation to making the final product. For example, organic cotton uses nearly 91% less water than conventional cotton.
Furthermore, sustainable fashion is all about producing high-quality items that will last for years, so you don’t need to replace them so often.
Do Good is one of the best sustainable swimwear brands for eco-conscious shoppers to consider. They are a small, sustainable swimwear brand that actively advocates for ethical and eco-friendly practices. This minority women-owned brand provides ethically-made, sustainable, and affordable one-pieces, bikinis, and accessories made from recycled ocean waste like plastic bottles, fishnets, and other nylon waste.
Do Good then transforms this ocean waste into comfortable and fashionable swimwear in a wide range of classic and timeless designs. The brand also donates a proportion of its profits to environmental and ocean conservation projects.
2. Made Trade
Made Trade incorporates its three core values – ethical, sustainable, and beautiful – into every piece of high-quality swimwear it makes. The brand prioritizes sustainability over mass production and ensures positive working conditions at all stages of production.
This small, family-run, and women-owned business responsibly sources all materials and uses them to expertly handcraft each piece of swimwear they produce. They also aim for complete transparency around the production of their vegan, recycled, and cruelty-free swimwear and apparel.
Salomé is one of the best sustainable swimwear brands with a message – it celebrates female diversity and empowers women through eco-friendly, ethical and flattering swimwear and beachwear. The brand’s pieces are ethically produced by women in the Dominican Republic, and are full of Caribbean flair, from citrus tones to tie-dye prints.
The brand is committed to sustainable processes and works hard to minimize water consumption and waste, from fabric production to manufacturing the final product.
Kaylyn Gardner creates stunning knitwear using eco-friendly fabrics and using sustainable practices. This brand effectively manages a small selective inventory to avoid any wastage and is constantly learning new techniques and integrating technology to discover more sustainable alternatives.
Organic cotton and baby alpaca wool are used to create biodegradable fabrics that are tailored into chic and fashionable clothing, outerwear, and swimwear. This brand refrains from using any harsh chemicals and dyes, rather it extracts color from avocado pits and skin and uses it as a permanent dye.
Carve Designs was founded by two mothers who wanted to care for the planet as well as future generations. They offer a range of fashionable and sustainable clothing, swimwear and outdoor wear based on responsible material sourcing and ethical production processes.
They offer a variety of one-pieces, tanks, and bikinis, in bright colors, neutrals, and fun prints. Carve Designs also has plenty of sun-smart options like sun shirts and “all day onesies” to help you stay protected during long days in the sun.
Their pieces are made from sustainable fabric sourced from recycled plastic bottles, discarded coconut husks, and 100% organic cotton free from harmful chemicals. Carve is one of best sustainable swimwear brands for people with sensitive skin, or those who simply want to wear natural materials.
Summersalt is a fashion brand that specializes in creating swimwear, clothing, and travel accessories that are precision-designed for the ultimate, comfortable fit. The brand uses recycled materials to create sustainable fabric, and all their product packaging is also recycled.
This brand celebrates all female bodies and strives to empower women by celebrating their natural beauty. Summer Salt also offers designer direct pricing, so their high-quality products are excellent value.
WOLVEN is a brand founded on the values of community, sustainability, artistic appreciation, and body positivity. The brand seeks to honor the earth’s precious resources by using responsibly-sourced and recycled materials, and also carbon offsetting all their activities.
Most of their products – including all their swim wear – are made from recycled single-use plastics. Known mostly for their leggings and yoga wear, Wolven also offers one-piece and separate swimwear.
Like the rest of Wolven’s product range, their swimwear features prints inspired by nature and global cultures, from mandalas to Middle Eastern patterns. Some of their pieces are reversible, so you can have two looks for the price of one!
Girlfriend Collective is committed to sustainable, ethical, and transparent swimwear and activewear made from earth-friendly materials. The brand offers a wide collection of one-pieces, bikinis, and other water-friendly apparel in bold shades and neutral tones.
Girlfriend Collective ensures that every material used, from manufacture to packaging, is recycled and recyclable. They use discarded water bottles, fishing nets, fabric scraps, and other waste to create the fabrics they use. They also work closely with their manufacturing partners to ensure fair wages and safe working conditions, and only work with supplies with SA8000 or WRAP certifications.
FISCH is an eco-innovative brand that was founded by a snorkeling enthusiast fascinated by marine life. It’s also one of the first labels to use ECONYL®, a 100% regenerated nylon fiber made from fishing nets and other waste.
This brand has inclusive sizing options and strikes a balance between classic and forward-thinking designs. Each item is handcrafted in Italy with fabric woven in Lombardy.
FISCH aims to minimize its carbon footprint while offering the highest-quality ethical swimwear.
10. Vitamin A
Vitamin A has earned a dedicated following thanks to its flattering swimwear that is available in a large range of sizes. The brand is committed to eco-friendly apparel made with sustainable manufacturing practices.
They’ve recently launched a collection made from plant-based materials including fabrics derived from castor beans. These fabrics are not only sustainable, but also have a buttery soft feel with supportive stretch to complement every body type.
11. Isla in Bloom
Isla in Bloom’s swim collection has long been a favorite of eco-conscious consumers who appreciate both comfort and style. This label aims to create beautiful swimwear underscored with social and ethical responsibility, and made with minimal environmental impact.
Their collection of high-quality, sustainable swimwear is made entirely from 100% regenerative nylon that is created from plastic waste retrieved from the ocean. Along with their swimwear, they also offer beach towels, umbrellas, and picnic rugs crafted from innovative materials, including linen made from recycled polyester yarn sourced from plastic bottles.
Patagonia was one of the early pioneers of the sustainable fashion movement, and continues to strive to promote function, style, fit, and sustainability. Along with their extensive range of clothing, outdoor wear, activewear, and accessories, they also offer swimwear and wet suits with a conscience, backed up by years of product innovation.
Along with using responsible materials and ensuring fair working conditions and eco-friendly production practices, Patagonia has a range of projects to give back and drive positive change. For more than 30 years, they’ve donated 1% of all sales to grassroots environmental projects all over the world, and they’re taking steps to reduce their climate impact.
The name Matteau comes from “eau”, or water in French, which speaks to the ethos and vision of this brand. Matteau’s mantra is all about tailoring and modifying every process that leads to the final creation of its products, to ensure they are not only sustainable, but of the highest quality.
Matteau creates swimwear, clothing and accessories with a timeless aesthetic, in solid colors, neutrals, and subtle prints. The brand strives to make their products as sustainable as possible, from actively tracing all the materials it uses back to the source and identifying risk areas to offsetting its carbon emissions.
OuterKnown was built on a commitment to sustainability and is fueled with a passion for style, modern fashion, and responsible action. They offer men’s and women’s swimwear and clothing in modern, minimalist designs.
The brand is not only a member of Fair Trade USA, but they also promote circular fashion and have launched a platform for buying and selling used OuterKnown pieces, with an aim to make all of their products circular by 2030.
Furthermore, their 2030 sustainability roadmap outlines their long-term plans to improve the livelihoods of their workers and use innovation to create 100% earth-friendly apparel.
Faithfull has quality, care, and originality woven into its garments. This community-centric brand integrates sustainability into all its products and offers unique, vintage-inspired swimwear, clothing, and accessories that flatter all body types.
The certified B Corporation makes all its products by hand in Indonesia, working with long-standing production partners to ensure the highest standards of quality, ethics, and sustainability. They minimize their environmental footprint through practices like local production, recycling, and environmental education, and give back to local nonprofits in Indonesia.
From eco-friendly underwear and activewear to swimwear, LIVELY inspires eco-conscious consumers to live well while looking after the environment. With an underlying mission to celebrate all races and body types, this brand actively supports body positivity with inclusive, innovative, and stylish designs.
LIVELY is committed to sustainability, developing its own high-quality fabrics from recycled materials. They also partner with I Support the Girls, a non-profit that provides underwear and menstrual hygiene products to women and girls in need.
17. VANESSA SPOSI
VANESSA SPOSI is the epitome of high-end sustainable fashion, and has made an impression on the industry by showing that sustainable apparel can be luxurious and stylish. They use raw materials from recycled, renewable, regenerative, and organic sources, and aim to use materials that promote biodiversity.
Their collections include swimwear made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles. Their swimwear even features antioxidant-infused liners to nourish and moisturize the skin!
18. Kitty and Vibe
Kitty and Vibe’s founders believe that fashion should boost your confidence and empower you to love yourself. This label promotes self-love through its flattering swimsuits that are sure to make you feel beautiful.
More than half of this brand’s swimwear collection is made using sustainable fabric and recycled polyester. They promote fair labor practices such as paying their factory workers above minimum wage and supporting them with excellent healthcare and retirement plans.
19. REI Co-op
Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) is all about the love of the outdoors, and incorporates the untamed essence of nature into its premium outdoor apparel and swim wear. This label emphasizes sustainable materials and reinvests its profits in the outdoor community.
The brand wants to educate the world on how sustainable fashion can be high-quality, durable outdoor gear that is also trendy and stylish. They offer a large range of men’s, women’s and kids’ swim wear in a variety of styles.
20. Con Carino
Con Carino is committed to protecting the earth and the people living on it, advocating for fairer working conditions and promoting sustainable practices. Their swimwear features bright prints and sensual designs to suit all body types, all made from recycled polyester from discarded PET bottles.
All of the brand’s products are ethically-made in Venezuela and are OEKO-TEX certified. This woman-owned business also donates 25% of its sales revenue to projects that empower women and disadvantaged communities.
With more consumers realizing that the costs of fast fashion to people and the planet are simply too high, there are now a range of brands offering sustainable swimwear options. The best sustainable swimwear brands make their products from sustainable materials, and some even use fabrics made from recycled ocean waste, so you can use your purchasing power to help clean up the oceans!
The brands listed here also follow ethical and fair labor practices, ensuring that the people involved in making your swimwear are well treated.
If you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best sustainable swimwear brands, go ahead and share it with your eco-conscious friends!