Fashion is more than just showcasing our personal style. In recent years, the clothing we wear and products we use have become a statement about our view of the world and the causes we support. From choosing sunscreens that won’t damage coral reefs to dining at sustainable restaurants, consumers are becoming more conscious of their dollar’s impact. With environmental health being a pressing issue, many brands and shoppers are turning away from fast fashion and choosing sustainable swimwear.
Businesses are making strides toward breaking the vicious cycle of landfills and pollution by using recycled materials and minimizing the harmful effects on the environment, while simultaneously promoting body positivity. Focused on reducing the use of raw materials and keeping plastic out of our oceans, these nine sustainable swimwear companies make bathing suits you can wear at the beach this summer with a clear conscience.
A small, independent brand based in England, Batoko Swimwear creates flattering bathing suits that not only make you look good but also feel good, as each piece is made of 100 percent recyclable materials. The brand’s mission is to keep plastic out of landfills and oceans, so its main focus is on upcycling waste that is then transformed into stylish swimwear.
Batoko was founded in 2017 when the creators decided to take action against the polluted English beaches and raise awareness of the issue. Batoko has always kept production small in order to focus on the longevity of each swimsuit and avoid overproduction that leads to waste. The brand also supports the UK’s Marine Conservation Society by making a yearly donation.
Australian brand BAIIA is all about versatility, elegance, and sustainability. Each reversible bathing suit is made of durable, recycled nylon from Italy, produced from post-consumer waste such as carpets, plastic bottles, and textiles. BAIIA’s vision for swimwear is to be the “pioneer of compassion” for women, which is why the brand promotes body positivity with designs that go up to size 18. BAIIA’s marketing campaigns are all-inclusive, showcasing plus-size and diverse models to accurately represent their real customer.
Designed by one of Instagram’s best-traveled influencers, Aggie Swimwear is the creative quest of Aggie Lal to support the planet while offering an ethical line of bathing suits for women. Produced in Bali in a female-run factory, the swimsuits are made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles. Each bathing suit features double fabric for maximum durability and is named after a different destination from Lal’s journeys, like “Argentina top” and “Australia peach.”
Londre Bodywear tackles sustainability along with promoting body positivity by creating beautiful swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes. Co-founders and best friends Ainsley Rose and Hannah Todd came up with the concept while working on a photoshoot in Sayulita, Mexico. The duo decided to create flattering bathing suits that would have a minimal impact on the environment. To date, Londre has recycled over 90,000 plastic bottles. Additionally, each swimsuit made by the brand can be recycled at the end of its lifetime. Though this is a small business, the co-founders have been able to donate $10,000 to Amazon Watch and the Yellow Hammer Fund — organizations that support the rainforests and endangered bird species.
Summersalt’s brand ideology is to explore and protect the world, which is why the label uses exclusively recycled materials for its swimwear. Each piece is made of 78 percent recycled polyamide — a material produced by recycling nylon and old fishing nets. Summersalt’s bathing suits have been tested for durability by a prolonged, 100-hour use in chlorinated water to ensure that the material remains sturdy and uncompromised. Each bathing suit offers SPF50 protection and withstands up to four times more compression to keep its shape even after hundreds of uses.
lemlem is an artisan-focused collection of swimwear dreamed up by supermodel Ilya Kebede on a trip to her native Ethiopia. Kebede was on a trip home when she met a group of weavers who no longer had a market for their craft. This inspired her to raise awareness about Ethiopian fashion and support local artisans by creating new jobs. Made in Africa, the line is inspired by Ethiopia’s traditional tibeb pattern combined with high-quality fabric. According to the website, “Women are at the heart of lemlem and the brand is committed to helping them thrive both within its workshops and beyond through its support for lemlem Foundation.”
The main material used is organic cotton, which is native to Ethiopia having been cultivated in local farms for centuries. A portion of the brand’s proceeds goes to the Amref Health Africa organization which trains midwives in Africa.
Lilliput & Felix swimwear takes sustainability to heart and holds a Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark certification which ensures the brand’s commitment to environmental support. All of the swimsuits are made from recycled elastane and polyamide, often manufactured from repurposed materials such as leftover fabrics.
The swimwear is produced in small factories working only with sustainable carriers and comes in a variety of vibrant, eye-catching colors and prints. The packaging is minimal and features a thin layer of recycled paper delivered in a biodegradable postal bag made of corn.
8. You Swim
You Swim’s secret to sustainability is that the brand produces one size only. The swimsuit is made from a tight-knit yet super stretchy fabric that allows it to expand to size 14 and shrink back to a size two. This way, You Swim is able to cater to a wider range of customers, offering everyone the same level of comfort. Since each piece is one size only, the company barely has any leftovers and thus has reached an almost zero-waste operation.
You Swim’s beachwear is made in England by hand. The brand is focused on longevity and can be worn through various stages in a woman’s life, including a pregnancy. All swimwear comes in recyclable packaging.
“Make sustainability sexy” is Wolven’s leading approach to swimwear that dictates every aspect of the brand. Each piece is made of OEKO-TEX — recycled P.E.T fabric that comes from plastic bottles. The brand has also partnered up with Climate Neutral to effectively measure and minimize its carbon footprint to zero.
The swimsuits are made for the planet and inspired by it. Wolven’s flattering geometrical shapes and quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabric make the bathing suits ideal for surfing, swimming, casually lounging on the beach or even hitting up brunch. The brand ethically produces its swimsuits in collaboration with a factory in China which scores 87 percent overall as a facility, meaning that workers are paid fairly and treated well in a safe environment.