7 Sustainable Swimwear Brands to Float Your Boat This Summer
Shopping for sustainable swimwear, whether it’s a one-piece, two-piece, board shorts or trunks, can be a bit overwhelming.
I don’t know about you, but the purchase has lots of excitement and anticipation. Perhaps it’s for a summer holiday, or looking forward to re-visiting the lido, or for an upcoming triathlon. But for the conscious shopper, the quest for ethically made swimwear can also be incredibly frustrating.
The uncomfortable truth is that pretty much all swimwear is made from plastic-based fabrics. Polyurethane (Lycra, Spandex or Elastane), Polyester, Nylon or blended synthetic fibers such as Poly PBT or XLA are your usual suspects. These materials are great for swimwear, because they wick moisture and stretch across the body to reduce friction in the water. But boy are they bad news for the environment. Being plastic, they do not biodegrade and instead sit in landfills or oceans forever. This adds to the estimated 8 billion tons of plastic that already exists on this Earth!
A lot more work needs to be done to find an alternative, sustainable fabric for swim and activewear that carries the same performance qualities as the ones mentioned above.
In the meantime, we can look to eco- and ethically-conscious brands who use recycled materials and a sustainable processes. They are producing stunning, ethical swimwear that you’ll be proud to walk out onto the beach / lido / triathlon start line!
Our favourite sustainable swimwear brands for 2019:
RubyMoon makes its ethical and fabulously versatile ‘Gym To Swim’ collection from used fishing nets and other waste materials. Helping them produce 42% fewer emissions in their production process than other high street swimwear retailers. As well as creating sustainable swimwear and activewear, RubyMoon are not-for-profit and use 100% of their net profits to provide small loans to women entrepreneurs across 11 nations.
Handmade to order in London, UK, Stidston creates incredibly stylish, sustainable swimwear from recycled polyester and Lycra. Their velvet swimsuits are particularly lust-worthy and double up as a bodysuit you can pair with jeans away from the pool or beach, too! Beautiful ethical swimwear from the UK.
If you’re looking for ethically produced swim shorts, look no further than Riz Boardshorts. Each pair is crafted from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and are digitally printed using earth-friendly inks. They also encourage their customers to return their old unwanted shorts for them to repair, recycle or re-home by offering a 25% discount on a new pair of shorts.
Their moniker of ‘tailors of sunshine’ sets the tone of their beautiful, bold, bright designs (which also incorporate topical themes such as endangered fish, flowers and insects to help raise awareness of environmental issues) and their shorts come in a range of lengths and fit. What’s more, for every pair sold, £1 gets donated to the Marine Conservation Society.
We Are Nativ bring some seriously sexy designs to the ethical swimwear party with deep V necks and high leg cuts. Each piece is sustainably made using regenerated yarn from Nylon waste, which is soft, durable and perfect for vegan swimwear.
Colombian brand Maaji is committed to preserving our Oceans and Seas and has launched a campaign called ‘Planting an Ocean of Trees’. This campaign involves planting trees in areas in Colombia chosen specifically for their high water potential that have been hit by violence. They also participate in ocean and beach clean-ups and engage with local communities in Colombia to promote healthy eco-systems and healthy living.
Maaji offers a large range of swimsuit designs and styles for women, with each piece being completely reversible to give you two styles in one! There’s also a really good range of men’s swim shorts in colourful, fun designs.
Tide + Seek make sustainable bikinis and swimsuits with youthful, fun designs. They use a fabric called Repreve, a polyester fibre made from 100% recycled plastic (mostly post-consumer plastic bottles). The production of Repreve fabric also cuts the use of new petroleum, meaning fewer greenhouse gases are emitted and less water and energy is used throughout the process. Also, affordable ethical swimwear makes it a double win!
This brand doesn’t just have a great name; their ethics and swimwear designs are spot on, too. The production process for each pair of swim shorts is fully traceable, working with SEAQUAL™, an organisation that turns plastic marine waste into recycled polymer clothing which is then used as the fabric for their gorgeous swim pieces. Their brand new ‘all-terrain travel short’ is available for men and women and is designed with adventurers and intrepid travellers in mind. Another great sustainable mens swimwear brand to add to the list.
Sustainable Swimwear For Good Times
There is still so much to do when it comes to cleaning up the oceans. Sustainable swimwear is a strong step in the right direction and it keeps going strength to strength. Through taking waste and turning it into our favorite swimwear pieces, we are literally moving trash into treasures. There is still a long road ahead but it is amazing to see strong brands tackle the challenge head on.
At Compare Ethics, we are committed to bringing sustainable swim into the mainstream. It should be standard that businesses innovate and provide new ways to tackle ocean waste. It was consumerism that got us into this mess. Its about time we got ourselves out it. The power is in our hands, we just have to protest with our purchases.
Disclaimer: we may receive small commission for sales made from some of the brands listed here. We are proud to work with ethical brands that are committed to a new way and a better world.