23 SUSTAINABLE SWIMWEAR BRANDS FOR YOUR BEST SUMMER ’21

With spring well underway in my neck of the woods, I’m already day dreaming about the sunnier and warmer summer days ahead.

For me, the summer season is inextricably linked to pool time… which means investing in sustainable swimwear!

Why Purchase Sustainable Swimwear

Unlike other types of garments, there are very few fabric options for sustainable swimwear.

Synthetic materials work best since they repel water, dry quickly and are lightweight.

The most common types of synthetic materials used in swimwear are nylon and polyester… both of which are plastic based.

The issue with these fabrics is that beyond being unable to sustainably dispose of them at the end of their life, they shed microfibres which end up in our waterways (more on microfibres below).

The effects of all of our cumulative use of single use plastics, plastic packaging and synthetic fibres results in 10 million tons of plastic ending up in the ocean annually according to Ocean Plastics.

What is the Best Fabric Option for Sustainable Swimwear?

Since synthetic material is still ideal and currently there are no sustainable alternatives on the market, recycled fabric is the best option for sustainable swimwear, although it is far from perfect.

Look for fabrics made of recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets, etc.

Recycled fabrics are a great option since plastic is diverted from our oceans and landfills and requires far less resources to produce compared to virgin synthetic materials.

One popular fabric a lot of sustainable brands choose is econyl.

Econyl is made from recycled nylon and is infinitely recyclable, meaning once an econyl garment has reached the end of its life, it can infinitely be recycled into a new garment.

FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding common swimwear fabrics.

What are microfibres?

Microfibers are microscopic pieces of plastic that shed off of synthetic fabrics when they are washed.

According to Greenpeace, in a single wash, one piece of clothing can release 700,000 fibres.

When these microfibres make their way into bodies of water, they are swallowed by marine life.

Alarmingly, Plastic Oceans estimates that every year one million marine animals are killed due to plastic pollution.

What is polyamide?

Polyamide refers to fabrics made from polyamide monomers.

While they can be found naturally in fabrics such as silk and wool, they can also be made synthetically to create fabrics such as nylon.

Brands will sometimes use this term interchangeably with ‘nylon’.

Are wetsuits and neoprene sustainable?

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that is a popular wetsuit material since it provides thermal insulation and offers a snug fit.

Neoprene is not a sustainable swimwear material since it is petroleum based.

According to Reuters neoprene is a ‘thermoset’ where its molecules are locked in position. This makes it difficult to recycle.

Thankfully, there are brands that have come up with alternatives to petroleum-based neoprene such as using natural rubber.


Sustainable Swimwear Brands

Finding affordable sustainable swimwear can be difficult, which is why I’ve categorized the brands below by price range, with plenty of options under $100!

For reference, pricing is in USD, and the size range is based on US sizing unless otherwise specified.

Price Range:

$ = Typically under $75

$$ = Typically under $100

$$$ = Typically under $150

$$$$ = Typically $150+


Anekdot

Anekdot uses offers upcycled lingerie and swimwear made from production leftovers, cut-offs and deadstock fabrics.  

They carry lingerie and swimwear, loungewear and accessories.

Fabrics: deadstock fabric, econyl, B.recycled, Q-NOVA recycled lace

Certifications: OEKO-TEX, GRS

Packaging: packaging made from recycled paper or cardboard

Based in Berlin

Give Back Programs: 50 cents of every order is donated to a charitable organization. In 2020, Anekdot has supported Rainforest Rescue and Drip by Drip.

Price Range: $$$

Sizing: Bottoms XS-XL (cup AA-D)

Favourite Item: Black/ Low Versatile and Core Low

Image Anecdote


ARO

They carry luxury swimwear. 

Fabrics: ARO uses a combination upcycled fabrics from deadstock and recycled fabrics such as recycled nylon, spandex, lyrca 

Certifications: OEKO-TEX, GRS

Packaging: packaging is compostable made from PBAT and PLA made from field corn and wheat straw. 

Based in California

Price Range: $$

Sizing: Bottoms XS-L (cup A-D)

Favourite Items: Chell Top and Bottom 

Image by ARO


AYA Label

AYA carries skirts, accessories and mix-and-match swimwear 

Fabrics: Econyl, swimwear made from 78% recycled old fishing nets 

Certifications: OEKO-TEX

Packaging: bags are made from recycled cotton, compostable hygiene sticker made from wood pulp, hangtags made from recycled paper, polybag is biodegradable 

Based in Amsterdam

Give Back Programs: AYA supports Parley, Healthy Seas, 4Ocean

Price Range: $

Sizing: Bottoms XS-XL (0-10)

Favourite Item: The Thalia Bathing Suit

Image by AYA label


allSisters

allSisters carries swimwear and sportwear

Fabrics: they use upcycled garments, econyl, recycled polyamide, elastane 

Certifications: Made in Green, OEKO-TEX, GRS

Based in Barcelona

Price Range: average $$

Sizing: Bottoms XS-L (2-10)

Favourite Item: SCORPII Top Bathing Suit In Color

Image by allSisters


AMARA Tulum

AMARA carries swimwear and made to order items.  

Fabrics: Econyl, Lycra XTRA LIFE

Packaging: hangtags, hygiene liners and mailer are made from 100% recycled craft paper, labels and hang tag string are made from organic cotton, silicone pouch replaces polybag 

Based in Mexico

Give Back Programs: For every order placed, AMARA cultivates and cares for 1 tree or bamboo plant. 

Price Range: $$$

Sizing: Bottoms XS-L (2-10)

Favourite Item: Act Naturally One Piece

Image by AMARA Tulum


BAIIA

BAIIA carries swimwear and resort wear. 

Fabrics: recycled nylon, water based dyes 

Certifications: Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, GOTS, Clear to Wear

Packaging: orders are sent in compostable satchets made from biodegradble and compostable materials, polybag is made from plant-based compostable material. They use carbon-neutral shipping methods.

Based in Australia

Price Range: $$$$

Sizing: 2-14

Favourite Item: Mossman Reversible Wrapsuit

Image by BAIIA


Bower

Bower carries swimwear and resort wear. 

Fabrics: Econyl, linen, cotton

Certifications: Eco Packaging Alliance, FSC

Packaging: swing tags, tissue paper and sticker are made from cellulose fibre, they use soy based inks, shipping boxes are cardboard made from 70% recycled fibres and are recyclable. 

Based in the UK

Give Back Programs: 1% of all orders are donated to the Healthy Seas initative, tissue paper supplier plants trees in areas of need, as part of Eco Packaging Alliance certification

Price Range: average $$$$

Sizing: Bottoms XS-XL (0-12)

Favourite Item: Vreeland Bikini Top and Bottom in Neon

Image by Bower


CasaGIN

An Italian brand that manufacturs their products from dyeing to packaging in Italy. 

They carry women’s and men’s underwear, loungewear, swimwear and sportswear. 

Fabrics: eucalyptus fiber, organic cotton, econyl, recycled PET, Tencel, Tencel modal, Tencel lyocell, elastane, recycled polyamide

Based in Italy, ships worldwide

Packaging: package sachets made of cornstarch which is biodegradable as well as recyclable cardboard

Certifications: OEKO-TEX Standard 100, European Ecolabel, GOTS, GRS

Price Range: $

Sizing: S-2X

Favourite Item: One Piece Eco Swimsuit in Coral

Image by CasaGIN


Elle Evans

Elle Evans carries swimwear for women, kids and teens

Fabrics: Econyl

Packaging: they use compostable HEROPACK mailers. Orders within Australia are delivered via carbon neutral couriers SENDLE

Based in Australia

Give Back Programs: 1% of all orders are donated to the Healthy Seas Initative

Price Range: average $$

Sizing: XXS-3X (2-20)

Favourite Item: Linda Bikini Top and Bottom

Image by Elle Evans


For the Dreamers

For the Dreamers carries womens and girls swimwear. 

Fabrics: Econyl

Packaging: they use recycled wrapping and compostable shipping bags, offer carbon neutral shipping

Based in Australia

Give Back Programs: 5% of every order is donated to Water is Life

Price Range: average $$

Sizing: XXS-3X (0-14)

Favourite Item: Nenita Full Piece

Image by For the Dreamers


Isla in Bloom

Isla in Bloom carries swimwear and beach accessories.

Fabrics: Econyl, lining made from recycled polyester, they use water-based inks

Certifications: FSC

Packaging: hang tags made from 100% recycled paper, FSC-certified tissue paper, mailers are compostable and biodegradable, made from cornstarch and cassava root

Based in Australia

Price Range: average $

Sizing: XS-2X (2-12)

Favourite Item: Peony Bralette Top and Peony Full Pant

Image by Isla in Bloom


JADE Swim

JADE Swim offers minimalist women’s swimwear. 

Fabrics: Econyl, they use organic, recycled and regenerated materials whenever possible

Packaging: they use 100% recycled plastic and biodegradable shipping bags, compostable thermal labels

Certifications: OEKO-TEX, AZO tested, 1% For the Planet, Climate Neutral, Ecologi, The Eden Projects

Based in New York City

Price Range: $$$

Sizing: XS-XL (00-10)

Favourite Item: Gia Halterneck Top Terry and Lana Bottom Terry

Image by JADE Swim


Londre

Londre carries swimwear and loungewear. 

Fabrics: recycled plastic bottles

Certifications: OEKO TEX 100

Packaging: packaging is compostable and recyclable, offer carbon neutral shipping. 

Give Back Programs: customers are compensated for swimsuit repairs within the first year of purchase, raises awareness and funds to organizations such as Amazon Watch and the Yello Hammer Fund

Based in British Columbia

Price Range: $$

Sizing: XS-2X (00-18)

Favourite Item: The Minimalist

Image by Londre


Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman carries clothes, swimwear, accessories

Fabrics: Econyl, repreve hemp, organic cotton, linen, Tencel

Certifications: OEKO-TEX 100 Standard

Packaging: uses compostable plastic polybags, 100% recycled paper mailers, cardboard boxes

Based in New York City

Price Range: $$$$

Sizing: XXS-2X

Favourite Item: Lorina Bikini Top and Kay Bikini Bottom

Image by Mara Hoffman


Now_Then

Now_Then offers minimalistic swimwear and wetsuits.  

Fabrics: econyl, neoprene

Certifications: OEKO-TEX Standard 100

Based in Spain

Price Range: $$$

Sizing: XS-XL (4-14)

Favourite Item: Sylvia Wetsuit

Image by Now_Then


Patagonia

Patagonia carries men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel, swimwear and accessories.

Fabrics: hemp, organic cotton, wool, recycled nylon, recycled polyester

Certifications: 1% For the Planet, Fair Trade

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in California

Price Range: $

Sizing: XXS-XXL (00-22)

Favourite Item: Women’s Reversible Extended Break One-Piece Swimsuit

Image by Patagonia


Peony

Peony offers swimwear, resort wear and accessories 

Fabrics: econyl, repreve, lining made from recycled material, organic cotton, hemp, linen, EcoVero

Certifications: GSR, EU Ecolabel

Packaging: packaging is made from plant-based materials like cornstarch and wheat and are compostable and biodegradable. 

Based in Australia

Price Range: $$$

Sizing: XXS-L (2-10)

Favourite Item: Pear Ruffle One Shoulder One Piece

Image by Peony


Reformation

Reformation carries apparel, swimwear and underwear 

Fabrics: Tencel Lyocell, Viscose, Tencel Modal, Linen, recycled cotton, organic cotton, econyl, recycled cashmere, alpaca, deadstock fabric, recycled polyester

Certifications: Bluesign Certified facilities, OEKO-TEX 100 Standard 

Packaging: 100% recycled LDPE bags with biodegradable polymer

Based in California

Price Range: $$

Sizing: XS-3X

Favourite Items: Gulf Bikini Top and Kona Bikini Bottom

Image by Reformation


Stay Wild Swim

Stay Wild offers swimwear, clothing and accessories 

Fabrics: econyl, Tencel, linen, Ecovero

Certifications: OEKO-TEX

Packaging: packaging and hangtags is recycled and recyclable, hygiene liners are compostable, offer carbon neutral shippinh.  

Based in the UK

Price Range: $

Sizing: UK 6-18

Favourite Item: The Odyssey One Piece

Image by Stay Wild Swim


Talia Collins

Talia Collins offers swimwear, beachwear and accessories. 

Fabrics: econyl

Certifications: OEKO-TEX

Packaging: packaging is compostable and biodegradable made from corn and potato starch. Swing tags and hang tags are made from recycled paper card, hang tag string made out of jute.

Give Back Programs: 1% of every sale donated to The Healthy Seas Initative, GREENR 

Based in the UK

Price Range: $$$

Sizing: 2-10

Favourite Items: The Strapless Top and The Skirt Brief

Image by Talia Collins


Vitamin A

Vitamin A offers swimwear, coverups, loungewear and accessories. 

Fabrics: EcoLux, organic cotton, linen, recycled cotton and Tencel, recycled nylon

Certifications: OEKO-TEX

Packaging: Mailers and garment bags are 100% recycled, recyclable and biodegradable

Give Back Programs: A portion of sales are donated environmental organizations protecting oceans. 

Based in California

Price Range: $$$

Sizing: XS-XL (2-12)

Favourite Items: Demi Top and Elle Tie Side Bottom

Image by Vitamin A


Vivida Lifestyle

Vivida carries men’s and women’s apparel, swimwear, wetuits, activewear, ponchos and accessories 

Fabrics: neoprene made from post-consumer plastic bottles

Certifications: GRS, Control Union Certified, OEKO-TEX Standard 100

Packaging: Garment bags are compostable, mailing bags are made from virgin polymer, regran and a biodegradable additive, swing tags are recycled and recyclable 

Based in the UK

Price Range: $$

Sizing: XS-L (4-10)

Favourite Item: Water Warrior One-Piece Swimsuit

Image by Vivida Lifestyle


VUK

VUK carries swimwear and accessories.

Fabrics: econyl

Packaging: mailers and liners are compostable, customer shipments are offset through Less Emissions. 

Based in Ontario

Price Range: $$

Sizing: XS-2X 

Favourite Items: Hanlan’s Point Top and Hanlan’s Point Bottom

Image by VUK


How to Shop for Swimwear Online

Shopping for sustainable swimwear online can be a bit of a challenge since you’re not able to try on the swimwear before purchasing.

Below are my tips to keep in mind when shopping for swimwear online to ensure a great fit.

  • Take your measurements beforehand and always check the brand’s size guide and any fit notes

This point cannot be overstressed!

The best way to ensure a swimsuit fits you properly is to check their size guide and cross reference with your own measurements, paying particular attention to cup sizes.

  • Know which styles flatter your body type.

Think about what swimsuit styles have flattered you in the past and work well with your body shape.

For example, if high waist styles elongate your legs, consider investing in a swimsuit that is high wasted over low.

If you need more support or coverage, consider choosing a tie-halter top with cups over strapless or spaghetti straps, will offer customizable support.

  • Choose pieces that have adjustable straps.

As a petite person, I find that swimsuit straps can be a bit long on me and will tend to fall off my shoulders.

Only investing in sustainable swimwear with adjustable straps (for tops and bottoms) means I can ensure a snug fit.


Sustainable Swimwear Shopping Criteria

When shopping online, it can be difficult to determine if a sustainable swimwear brand is truly sustainable, especially with all of the greenwashing that goes on!

Below are three areas to consider when exploring a sustainable swimwear brand’s page to determine if they are actually sustainable.

For all other clothing purchases, check out this sustainable shopping guide.

Fabrics

Since natural materials aren’t an option for swimwear, most sustainable swimwear brands will use econyl as their fabric of choice.

Additionally, you might see brands using fabrics made from recycled plastics such as post-consumer plastic water bottles and other recyclable plastic items.

This is preferable over virgin synthetic materials since less resources are needed to make the swimwear and each piece will have diverted plastic from landfills and oceans, reducing plastic pollution.

This information is most commonly found under the product description. It can also be on the brand’s sustainability page.

Packaging

Support brands that use recyclable, compostable and/ or biodegradable packaging as well as carbon neutral shipping methods.

Ideally, this goes beyond a compostable poly bag and mailer bag and will include compostable hand tags and string, paper card, etc.

This information can be found either on the brand’s about page or sustainability page. It can also sometimes be found in a garment’s product description.

Certifications

To verify that recycled fabrics were used in the making of a brand’s sustainable swimwear, look for a Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification.

To ensure toxic chemicals were not used in the production of a brand’s clothing, look for an OEKO-TEX certification.

If a brand uses paper in their packaging, look for a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification which ensures the paper was responsibly sourced.

This information can be found either on the brand’s about page or sustainability page.

Note: The process of obtaining certifications can be costly, so smaller sustainable brands may not have certifications available.

If this is the case, consider how much information about a brand’s sustainability practices are available on their website.

One key difference between a sustainable brand and a brand that greenwashes, is the abundance of specific, traceable information on their sustainability practices that they offer consumers.

For example, if a brand posts vague information about using ‘recycled’ content and with virtually no other information to elaborate anywhere on their site, the brand is greenwashing.


Know of any sustainable swimwear brands I missed?

Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

1 thought on “23 Sustainable Swimwear Brands For Your Best Summer ’21”

  1. Great read, Liv! Very informative. Personally enjoyed the favourite piece recommendations chosen as well.

    High Score Apparel offers sustainable swimwear, too!

    We’re based in New Brunswick, Canada. Cheers!

    Reply

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