It's no secret that the fashion industry contributes to the pollution and devastation of the environment. In recent years, outcries from workers, shoppers, and environmentalists alike have demanded new standards for a better-regulated system. Now, more and more brands are stepping up to the plate to do their part in fashion's sustainability efforts, and those in the swimwear category are no different. Though the industry still has ways to go, these sustainable swimwear brands are pushing progress forward.
While many buyers like to prioritize ethical shopping practices, the high demand for eco-friendly fashion has counter-productively made the waters somewhat murky. Terms like 'sustainable' and 'eco-safe' have become buzzy words that brands can easily take advantage of via greenwashing: The fashion industry still lacks standards and regulations for brands to abide by in order to claim a pro-environment initiative, so it's still largely the shoppers’ responsibility to verify any purchases intent — no matter how products are marketed.
Jade Swim founder Brittany Kozerski is one designer fighting for a better practice with more transparency. "A lot of sustainability talk stops at fabric and packaging," she tells TZR. "But there are so many other conscious decisions from office operations, factory choice, packaging, and trend-less design to sustainable operations that can help a brand maintain its sustainability goals.”
And because swimwear is innately made for enjoying nature's beauty, prioritizing your bikini's ethical factor is just as important. To help make that research process a touch easier for you, TZR found swimsuit lines that are doing their part to minimize their eco-harm. These brands are leading the Earth-friendly party in a number of ways, from cleaning up the oceans and using recycled materials for its apparel to making every aspect of production processes as safe for the planet as possible. Even better: The designs are far from the outdated, crunchy connotations that used to haunt all "eco-friendly" fashion.
Ahead, 14 sustainable swim brands doing their part for the environment, below.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Sustainable Swimwear: Castamira
Founded by model Chantel Davis, the brand specializes in one-pieces inspired by the idea that all living things are connected. The founder's love for nature is clearly shown through the brand's use of eco-friendly fabrics for its suits. In partnership with Econyl, Castamira uses regenerated nylon fabric made from waste found in the ocean like fishing nets for its high-end suits. Its recyclable Poly mailers are sourced from Ecoenclose, a company specializing in eco-friendly shipping supplies.
Sustainable Swimwear: Vitamin A
Founder Amahlia Stevens spent three years perfecting its EcoLux fabric, a seamless and soft texture made of recycled nylon fibers. Vitamin A also uses recycled and organic textiles for its packaging, opts for energy-efficient factories, and all of its materials meet the OEKO-Tex safety standards. The brand also donates to organizations like Plastic Oceans, Oceana, and more.
Sustainable Swimwear: Follow Suit
Ethically focused brand Follow Suit takes every step of its production process with the environment in mind. It's ECONYL textile is made of 100 percent regenerated nylon fibers made from post-consumer waste. Plus, it opts for digital printing its suits which uses around 90 percent less dye and saves about 40 liters of water than typical methods like rotary screen printing.
Sustainable Swimwear: Avid Swim
Founded by designer Gionna Nicole, Avid is committed to minimizing its carbon footprint in a number of ways: First, its carefully chosen manufacturers use Vito and Econyl fabrics which are made using recycled materials from landfills and oceans; its dyes follow OEKO-Tex Standard 100 which ensures the use of non-toxic ingredients and also requires less rinsing in the production process effectively using less water; and its bikinis are produced on a made-to-order system which prevents excess waste. Plus, most of its suits are reversible so you get a two for one deal — a big win all around.
Sustainable Swimwear: Frankies Bikinis Sustainable Collection
Fashion's favorite swim line just launched its first venture into planet-safe suits with its Sustainable Collection. The line is made of a special Amni Soul Eco fabric that has been proven with the Standard Test Method for Determining Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under High-Solids Anaerobic-Digestion Conditions to be the first decomposing nylon fabric that degrades over time when in conditions like that of a landfill (i.e. high humidity, lack of oxygen, high bacteria, etc.). Most importantly, your suit won't lose quality from plenty of washing or wearing but will safely biodegrade when discarded.
Sustainable Swimwear: Hulya Swim
Hulya Swim is founded on the mission to make the ocean cleaner and healthier. Its fabric is produced from recycled ocean debris like fishing nets, carpet fibers, and other up-cycled textiles found in the ocean. The brand also uses its sustainably sourced fabric to make reusable bags and scrunchies to match their cute suits for an adorable beach outfit.
Sustainable Swimwear: Capittana
Capittana keeps a strong focus on sustainability and female empowerment which is seen throughout its ethical practices. Its fabrics are produced in a factory that recycles its water, uses solar panels, and even plants a tree in its plantation to neutralize its carbon footprint. Furthermore, each piece is handcrafted by women artisans in Lima, Peru, providing a safe working environment and supporting its local economy.
Sustainable Swimwear: Andie
Andie's Eco Collection consists of the brands best-selling suits in a special Eco fabric made of post-consumer plastic as well as recycled fabric. Up-cycled polyester and a bit of Spandex provides a comfy compressive feel you expect from swimsuit fabric.
Sustainable Swimwear: Cynthia Rowley
Sustainability is also at Cynthia Rowley's core. All of its garments are produced in limited quantities and new styles don't get made until the current batch sells out. Its textiles makes use of natural and recycled materials like limestone and scrap rubber tires to replace petrochemicals in its neoprene. The brands fabric dying plant is also certified by the Bluesign System which verifies resource productivity, consumer safety, worked health and safe disposal of waste.
Sustainable Swimwear: Londre Bodywear
Londre isn't feigning its dedication to making the lowest possible impact on the planet. So far, it's taken more than 90,000 littered plastic bottles in Taiwan to make its swimwear (at least six bottles go in to one suit). Its textile factory is OEKO-TEX certified meaning it's doing all it can to be ethically conscious like reducing water, producing small batch to minimize wasted material and its sewers are all paid above living wage. Plus, its packaging is compostable (made from corn) and the brand offers repairs and recycling for its suits so your purchase can have the longest life possible.
Sustainable Swimwear: Faherty x Albertine
Sustainably-minded brand Faherty partnered with French swim brand Albertine for a sustainable collaboration. The special capsule collection is made in Italy from recycled fabrics found in the ocean which is adorably commemorated with little details, such as the mother-of-pearl snap buttons.
Sustainable Swimwear: Strange Bikinis
Created by Ali Conway, Strange Bikinis partners with Amni Soul Eco which manufactures biodegradable fabrics that only break down in conditions like landfills - meaning your suit won't break down in the wash or stored away. The size-inclusive brand even has bike shorts to match its suit prints.
Sustainable Swimwear: La Porte
Designed by Jo Davenport, La Porte uses Carvico's Xlance Eco fabric which consists of 80 percent recycled polyamide and 20 percent elastolefin which is recycled yarn. Plus, its suits are sunscreen-resistant (won't stain from oil), UV protective, pilling-proof, and have two-way stretch allowing for the comfiest fit possible. And to sweeten the pot even more, 50 percent of the brands sales go to the NAACP and Minnesota Freedom Fund.
Sustainable Swimwear: Jade Swim
For Jade Swim's founder Brittany Kozerski, sustainability means “the process of fostering change towards greater ecological integrity” which is rooted in the brand DNA. It uses regenerated nylon ECONYL fabric and is also certified by OEKO-TEX's safety and sustainability standards. The brand only produces enough for pre-ordered stock so that no unit goes to waste, and its minimalist and timeless designs will outlast trends and are super ideal for summers big trend of dressing up swim in your wardrobe.