Make a splash in sustainable swimwear this summer, that’s as environmentally friendly as it is elegantly stylish. With an estimated 12 million tonnes of plastic polluting our oceans every year, investing in ethically-made and -sourced swimwear has never been so important. From printed one-pieces by Peony and Casa Raki’s mix-and-match bikinis to Davy J’s ‘Zero Trace Swimsuit’, these are the sustainable swimwear brands for a feel-good season ahead.
Synthetic oil-based fibres, such as nylon or Lycra, have long been the basic components of bikinis and one-piece swimsuits, but not only does their production need a large amount of water and energy, they also don’t biodegrade. The result is that they end up adding to the vast amounts of plastic on the planet and contributing to the accumulation of microplastics clogging up our shorelines, poisoning marine life and infecting the food chain.
Thankfully, an ever-increasing number of swimwear designers are making the change to stem this tidal wave of damage, using recycled and sustainable materials, and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques. One popular solution lies in Econyl®, a regenerated nylon yarn made entirely from waste products, including the ‘ghost’ nets littering our oceans. Not only does this help remove deep-sea plastic waste, it also cuts down on the use of water, oil and energy used during the manufacturing process.
As swimwear takes its place in the fight against plastic pollution, we highlight the innovative brands paving the way for a cleaner, greener future with their covetable, sustainable designs.
Known for her flattering, retro shapes and beloved by the fashion set, Hoffman is well and truly committed to reducing her environmental impact – and in 2015, her eponymous label shifted its strategy to build – and operate within – a framework of sustainability, including responsible fabric and material selection. Every item of swimwear is made using recycled nylon or recycled polyester, with the solid pieces cut from Econyl® and the textured styles made from Repreve, a fibre made from upcycled plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in landfill or in our oceans.
Founded in 2016, this sustainable swimwear line is inspired by founder Georgia Thompson’s love of the ocean, from the designs through to the production process. Every elegant swimsuit is cut from regenerated fabric that is infinitely recyclable and made using nylon-waste from the ocean and landfill. The range comes in sophisticated designs and colourways, with gorgeous detailing including ruffles, cutouts and ruching. Round out your beachwear with the brand’s range of maxi dresses, skirts and cropped tops, all made from sustainably sourced materials such as linen and Lyocell Tencel™.
When it comes to Oceanus swimwear, nothing goes to waste. Cut from Econyl®, the bold brand exclusively uses biodegradable embroidery and never includes animal derived materials. Plus, as part of their effort to be zero waste, the brand is committed to reusing all beading from damaged or defective items, and uses cut-offs from swimwear production and leftover stock from past collections to make smaller accessories. All of which means you can shop their statement 80s glamour-inspired swimwear – think geometric prints, Swarovski-embellished bikini tops and retro embroidery – with a good eco conscience.
Founded by former fashion editor and stylist Brittany Kozerski, US sustainable swimwear brand Jade Swim is a go-to for minimalist styles with built-in UV protection . All pieces are made from responsibly sourced organic, recycled and regenerated materials for a smooth, sleek fit, with many styles made from Econyl®. And no hazardous chemicals are used in the dyeing process. Designed to take you from the sea to the beach bar, the slinky silhouettes and colour palettes echo the LA-cool of the brand’s production base, where leftover fabrics are always upcycled and purchases are packed in recyclable or biodegradable bags.
Since launching her brand in May 2019, founder Arielle Baril has been on a mission to create a sustainable swimwear line that brings out the confidence in every woman, without costing the planet. The zero-waste label offers a capsule collection of modern designs in crinkled fabric, with each piece made-to-order to ensure that nothing goes to waste and the small business only produces what is needed. Asymmetric one-pieces and Rio-inspired high cut styles can all be ordered to fit your measurements, guaranteeing the perfect fit every time.
Originally launched in 1984, British swimwear label Hunza G has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity under the creative direction of Georgiana Huddart, sported by stylish women in sunny spots across Instagram. Notably Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who, when she shared a photo of herself wearing the Domino Blush one-piece in 2019, it broke the internet. Indeed, the supermodel has recently collaborated on a capsule with the brand, whose signature crinkle fabric is made and turned into swimwear all in the UK, keeping the production process small and local. They also use excess fabric to create small runs off scrunchies, and the colourful swimwear is delivered in biodegradable, recycled and recyclable poly bags. Even better, Hunza G donates a portion of its profits to charities like Street Smart.
Casa Raki was founded by Argentinean fashion photographer Josefina Alazraki, inspired by her childhood on the Uruguayan coast. After several years working with brands including Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion, she decided to make a career pivot and launch her own luxury label – the result is her elegant, refined take on sustainable swimwear. The pieces are all ethically made in a female-only couture factory in Portugal using high-tech but ecological fabrics, including Econyl® and a renewable yarn made from castor beans. Expect minimalist one-pieces and mix-and-match bikinis in bold block colours and modern silhouettes. Look out for Casa Raki’s new 26-piece resortwear collaboration with photographer-designer-model Candice Lake, currently also available at Matches Fashion.
Ayla’s playful, feminine designs instantly conjure up feel-good holiday vibes and memories of cocktails on the beach, which was exactly the aim when London-based founders Kirsty Ames and Heidi Sommerau started the label. The idea was dreamed up while they were on the beach in Tobago, and many of their collections are inspired by the Caribbean islands. Bikinis and one-pieces feature signature clashing colour frills and metallic thread detailing to contrast soft, tie-dye patterns, with their new Throwback Collection sure to sell out fast. All of their sustainable swimwear range is created from recycled fibres, while their sarongs are made with Cupro, a by-product of cotton that would normally be thrown away.
Founded in October 2019 by Australian designer Patreece Botheras, this environmentally conscious collection has already had its fair share of celebrity fans, with Elle Macpherson, Karlie Kloss and Kendall Jenner all having been spotted in the sports-luxe pieces that flatter and sculpt the body. The high performance active wear for the water is aimed at surfers, swimmers, divers or sun loungers who can mix-and-match swimsuits and separates that are simultaneously light, warm, supple and stretchy. The entire range is crafted from Repreve and every purchase is sent out in 100% compostable, zero waste shipping bags.
Growing up on St Barths, Swedish designer Agnes Fischer has always had an affinity with the ocean. Horrified at the rapidly diminishing health of the planet’s coral reefs, she pledged to create a luxury sustainable swimwear brand handmade in Italy using only fibres from regenerated fishing nets and ocean waste. The brand’s fabric mill is just two hours from its factory, meaning that their carbon footprint is as minimal as possible. The collection comes in bold colours and retro-inspired prints – the new St Barth’s print is perfect for wearing from the beach to the bar.
Stay Wild Swim
London-based sports-luxe swimwear brand Stay Wild Swim was co-founded by Natalie Glaze and Zanna van Dijk, and frames its ‘buy less, buy better’ approach with thoughtfully cut, block-colour one and two-piece designs made from recycled nylon. Tags and packaging are fully recyclable, the label’s shipping is 100% carbon neutral and they’re currently working on the technology to recycle old swimwear into new pieces. In the meanwhile, send them your worn down or broken swimwear (from any brand) and they will send it on to their recycling partner to be recycled and repurposed into eco industrial products such as eco-carpet underlay.
Family-run Australian swimwear label Peony takes its name from the blooming peonies in founder Becky Jack’s garden. With a nostalgic bohemian aesthetic, the capsule collection features Capri-inspired floral prints and soft colour palettes across swimwear, cover-ups and floaty ruffled dresses. Printed designs are made with Econyl®, while the lining of each piece is created entirely from recycled and sustainable fabrics, developed in-house, with all meeting Oeko Tex Standard 100.
Away That Day
Sustainable practices are at the heart of this UK-based swimwear brand, from the fabrics through to the packaging. Each style is ethically made by a small manufacturer in the heart of London (where workers are paid above minimum wage) using Econyl®, drastically lowering the carbon footprint of the production process. The silhouettes range from simple to sultry with a range of bikinis, one pieces and cover-ups cut in sumptuous tones and prints. As an added bonus, Away That Day has also set up a recycling initiative, ‘Recycle your swim’, where you can send them your old swimwear from any brand, and they’ll pass it on to their trusted recycling partner who’ll turn it into industrial materials that will be used in a plethora of different ways.
Monte & Lou
Originally launched in Australia in 2018, this sophisticated swimwear line is from veteran swimwear designers Lynne Tramonte and Kay Howitt. The playful, eclectic collection features a variety of prints and styles, all of which carry a slight bohemian vibe. Inspired by their life by the ocean and surrounded by nature, the design duo have focused on sustainability by using fabrics made from recycled post-consumer material, with every fabric used meeting the strict OEKO-TEX® Standard 100. The colourful prints are all made with digital techniques, cutting out any damaging inks, and all packaging used across the supply chain is 100% compostable and biodegradable, made from natural plant-based materials such as cornstarch.
Tona’s founder, Tona Stell, is a fashion stylist and a champion of inclusivity and sustainability, who has created a range of chic swimwear where all the samples are based on a UK women’s size 16 and FF bra cup. Having worked in the fashion industry for ten years she has a unique understanding of the female form and from her own experience realised there was a lack of swimwear that looked modern, while having an exceptional fit for varying shapes and sizes. The designs are brilliantly on trend, from classic monochromatic sets to nostalgic, retro prints. All printed styles are made using Econyl®, while the plain sets are cut from Tona’s own bespoke organic cotton towelling fabric, which was specifically developed for the brand and cuts out any toxic chemicals. The fabrics are all shipped by boat to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, and the final products are delivered to your door in organic cotton towelling bags and a recyclable box.
The celebrity-approved brand creates tempting styles that are built to last and offer the perfect fit – all while exclusively using cutting-edge sustainable materials and production processes. The brand’s latest collection centres around the colours red, white and blue, across smoothing, sculpting pieces that mould to the body for a second skin fit. The innovative styles are made from Biosculpt, which is quick drying and super supportive, as well as their proprietary material EcoLux – the first premium swim fabric made from recycled nylon fibres – while also incorporating other high-performance sustainable fabrics, organic and recycled cotton, linen and Tencel.
This standout British brand is focused on creating swimwear that’s built to last, both in terms of style and function, eliminating the need to throw away and replace your swimsuit each season. Made from Econyl®, the strong fabrication sculpts and supports the body’s curves in a style that’s both athletic and sexy — think Baywatch for 2023. And for those who like to brave the cold waters of the English coast, Davy J has a line of neoprene-free watersuits, made using a thin, bonded recycled fabric which helps protect against the chill while removing the struggle of pulling on a wetsuit. New for this year is ‘The Zero Trace Swimsuit’; made using an innovative biodegradable fabric, at the end of its life the whole swimsuit will decompose into harmless organic matter and biogas within just five years.