Best Sustainable & Ethical Bathing Suit Brands

Best Sustainable & Ethical Bathing Suit Brands

We all want to be conscious of the environment and live a sustainable lifestyle. But we also want to look good and feel confident in our bathing suit this summer. 

You don't have to sacrifice one for the other, though! Here are some great brands that make an effort to use sustainable materials and ethical practices when sourcing their products.

The summer is just around the corner, which means that it's time to start thinking about bathing suits. This may mean hitting up Target for a cheap one-piece or ordering off the internet for some people. However, there are so many ethical and sustainable options out there!

Where do you go to find the best sustainable & ethical bathing suit brands? We've done all of the work for you and found some truly amazing companies that are worth your time.

Several sustainable bathing suit brands on the market are more ethical than others. But, of course, there's a lot of controversy about what makes one brand more sustainable or ethical than another. Still, some brands have very clear standards and intentions for sustainability & ethics.  

Here are some sustainable, ethical bathing suit companies you can check out to find your perfect match! Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list, so if there's a company not listed here that you think should be included, please let us know! 

Bathing suit shopping is a tricky business. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to find one that fits your needs and desires. 

Luckily, there are some sustainable bathing suit brands out there who care about what they're doing to help protect our environment!  Here are my top picks for sustainable and ethical bathing suit brands

You might think that the best bathing suit is the one that looks good on you, but what about what it does to our environment? The choices we make in clothing can have a big impact on us and on generations to come. So what are some of the best sustainable and ethical bathing suit brands?

Is your bathing suit turning green from the chlorinated water? Are you looking for a sustainable and ethical bathing suit brand? Then, you have come to the right place. This blog post will show you some of my favourite brands that are friendly to your body and our planet! 

In addition to being good for the environment, these companies also offer comfortable suits with cute patterns. If you're still not sure which one is best for you, then keep scrolling down to find out more about each company or click here to see all their styles in one place!

Bathing suits are a summertime staple, but they can be difficult to find that are sustainable and ethical. Here's a list of brands you can check out for your next shopping trip.

Let's get started! 

The Most Flattering Swimwear For Every Body Type

We've resolved to end the fear and frustration that come with swimsuits and bikini shopping

From curvier frames to athletic body types, we're helping to make sense of the endless swimwear options and narrowing them down to the picks that were made to fit and flatter your frame. Want to know what you should be looking for?

Shopping for swimsuits can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and mentally taxing, especially in the age of overabundance. 

Just the thought of so many styles, shapes, trends, price points, in-store and online destinations—it can make your heads explode without even stepping foot in the dressing room (or opening all of those online orders). 

But imagine if wearing a bathing suit was your job. Would that make the process any easier? If it's any consolation…apparently, no.

We asked this question of some of the most experienced, on-the-front-lines—or more accurately, on-gorgeous-white-sand-beaches—professionals: a bunch of Sports Illustrated swimsuit models (mic drop). And spoiler, shopping for a bikini can be an endeavour for them too.

“Honestly, I think swimwear is one of the hardest things to do,” Kate Upton tells Glamour during the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit on Location event in Miami, celebrating its 2019 issue. “I always say, emotionally, jeans and swimwear are the hardest things to try on.”

"Just go in with an open mind," says Danielle Herrington, last year's Swimsuit Issue cover star. "Be nice to yourself!" Body-positivity activist, swim designer, and model Tara Lynn agrees: "It's best to just go for what you're most comfortable in and try as many things on as possible. You might surprise yourself with what you feel most gorgeous in."

Sports Illustrated’s 2019 class of swimsuit models are diverse in age, shape, size, and background. Halima Aden made history as the first model to appear in modest swimwear in the issue; Tyra Banks came out of retirement to appear on its cover. 

And having spent cumulative hundreds of hours (if not more) in bikinis, one-pieces, and burkinis, they know a thing or two about the swim. So we asked them to share their expert advice about trying on and finding the perfect fit and style to look our personal best and, most importantly, feel most confident.

The next time you’re out shopping for bathing suits and feel frozen by indecision or overwhelmed by too many options, just ask yourself: What would Upton or Banks or Lynn or Lais Ribiero or Kelsey Merritt or Winnie Harlow do?

1. Straps can make or break your suit

Banks made history in 1997 as the first African American solo cover model. And over the years, she's developed a preference for a swim top with strong shoulder straps. 

“I’m busty, so when there’s a string at the back of my neck, it’s digging, and sometimes it can create chafing,” she says. (A wider tie at the neck works too.) 

Upton, three-time Swimsuit Issue cover model, suggests a tieless halter top: “So I can actually enjoy my beach day. I can go swimming; I can snorkel; I can be with my daughter.”

2. Same goes for the edges of a swimsuit

Lynn recommends paying attention to what your one- or two-piece is made of and how it sits on the body. “Anything with a really rigid edge is going to cut into any soft spots and cause some discomfort,” she says.

3. Not all one-pieces are created equal

“I honestly think I look better in a one-piece than a two-piece,” says Banks. “There’s something about a one-piece…. I feel stronger.” Plus, having one in the arsenal brings versatility for, say, going from beach to cocktails. 

But not all one-piece trends—low back, strapless, super strappy—will work on all bodies. “Cute one-pieces with open backs for big-boobed ladies...that doesn’t roll with us,” warns Upton. But there are options. 

For instance, Banks advises finding a one-piece with a covered-back or high-back detail to balance out support in the front. Instead of a tie around the neck, Straps on each shoulder also help when you have a big bust. 

If you want to highlight the waist, Kelsey Merritt, the first Filipino model to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway and appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, recommends suits with a belt or a wrap tie at the waist to create dimension.

4. Everyone can benefit from an underwire, regardless of bust size

An underwire-lined top can offer some additional support, maybe even a little boost, no matter your bra size. Herrington likes light padding, too, "just because my boobs get all over the place." Visible underwires are also a huge trend in swim right now. Merritt suggests "trying a corset style, especially with tiny little straps."

5. With separates, try (and buy) different sizes

Banks makes it a point to “find a bottom that’s slightly too big in size, because I have hips and I’m not super muscular, so when suits are too tight, they dig into my flesh and cut off my blood circulation,” she says. 

She suggests finding a bikini bottom with ties on the side, which you can adjust to rest right on top of—and not cut into—your hips.

6. Consider modest swimwear to cover up beyond SPF

Whether it's for cultural reasons or because sun damage is real, modest swimwear—or some variation on it—could make sense for you. Aden says to "really treat it like a bikini," picking colours, prints, and other style elements that fit your tastes and also needs. 

She recommends looking for a stretchier, flexible material that won't contrast too much in the water. Oh, and don't be afraid of the accessories: Layer up with colourful scarves, overalls, or cover-ups, throw on some jewellery, play with hats, plus go high drama with the sunglasses.

"They will transform it from a bodysuit to 'Oh, she did not come to play,'" Aden says.

7. Don’t fear the high-cut leg…

That eighties-style hipbone-revealing silhouette has made a comeback in recent years. The look makes Banks think, “Elle Macpherson,” she says. “That for me is everything, and it makes the legs longer.” Even Merritt, who’s petite, recommends trying one that’s “not super high but has a low back” for that elongating effect.

8. …or the neon trend.

Victoria's Secret Angel Ribeiro cites neon as the swimwear trend she's most excited to try this summer. "It makes your tan pop, so it seems like you've been in the sun a long time already." 

But, of course, Upton, like everyone else we talked to, can't wait to cop the trend, either: "It's so fun, especially with a spray tan." But, of course, Merritt wants green and pink—maybe with leopard print thrown in for some extra fire.

9. Keep an eye on the details

These models are exposed to any trends that have touched swimwear over the years. And they're not afraid to embrace some of the fun, playful elements that are now all over your bikinis and one-pieces. 

And you shouldn’t be either. Winnie Harlow’s recommendation? “Ruching always makes the butt look cute,” she says.

10. Make swimsuit shopping a group activity

If you’re buying your swimsuit IRL, bring along “one of your best girlfriends, who can hype you up and get you trying things on that are outside the box,” says Lynn. Make sure she’s someone you trust to give honest, but always encouraging, feedback, like “‘This looks good’ or ‘No, don’t buy that,’” says Herrington.

11. If you prefer to shop online, patience is key

Online shopping is underrated,” says Lynn. Over the years, online-only swim brands have offered more options to shoppers who felt they weren’t being catered to—either because of their budget, their size, and so forth. 

It can be harder to gauge what will fit you and what won't, though. So Lynn suggests "finding a retailer who uses models with your body type [online] so you can really visualize yourself in the suit." 

Upton normally “gets a million different sizes [to try on],” she says. She’ll “start with the biggest size and go down” and recommends always reading the fine print and return policy.

Greenwashing: Ethical Fashion Says NO To Greenwash

What is Greenwashing?

With trends coming and going, it would seem natural that the ‘green trend’ would eventually hit the top. 

Films, documentaries, and street movements helped advertise the urgency of changing perspectives towards our planet, health, and a better life for our children and grandchildren.

Suddenly celebrities started shouting about the planet's health while coming out of a vegan restaurant, dressing in a less known eco-friendly brand.  And the world went crazy!

The trend started, and the brands acknowledged the urge to implement this new trend in their products. However, marketing was the principal agent of this announcement, expressing their abrupt change in introducing sustainable and ethical etiquettes

However, most of this change never happened in the product's production, which ultimately becomes false publicity or 'greenwashing'.

Be alert!

When looking at an eco-friendly brand, you should ask yourself about the veracity of the claim, questioning everything before you buy it. Eco-friendly products and ethical fashion brands can be more expensive, and you should be certain that you are paying the fair and correct price.

Customers must become aware of spotting the truth behind this misleading publicity to distress the brand by attacking their values, reputation, and sales.

Becoming aware of fast fashion, climate crisis, and animal harvesting issues are wonderful and life-changing, but always be aware of dishonest propaganda that looks to deceive and encourage you to buy environmentally unethical products.

Sustainable and ethical practices should be a way of living and not a trend.

Eco-Friendly Swimwear Brands (20+)

Here’s the thing you should know about shopping for sustainable bathing suits….

Sustainable swimwear is often hard to find, which is why many shoppers end up getting fast fashion alternatives.

It's tempting to do that since they're made of (supposedly) great materials and will last for multiple holidays…right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I know that, and so do you.

Most swimwear in fast fashion stores isn't built to last. Made from low-quality materials and bad for the environment to boot, it ends up being an unwise purchase.

So rather than purchasing swimwear destined for a landfill after a few uses, why not look for some sustainable alternatives?

Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge, there are lots of great sustainable swimwear brands out there.

No, you can't get ones made without petrochemical-based synthetics. I'm sorry. There are a few brands listed below that are mostly natural materials like hemp and modal. But they still contain some synthetic fibres to provide stretch.

I know you've seen some crocheted bikinis made with cotton, but unfortunately, it stretches out once that crochet cotton gets wet. Believe me. I had one, and when I complained to the brand, they answered that it's not supposed to get wet. Oh! OK. It's just decorative, then?

So, many conscious bathing suit brands have turned to synthetic textiles made from recycled plastics. The most popular fabric is ECONYL, a high-quality Italian fibre made from upcycled nylon fishing nets, textile waste, and old carpets. Others are made with polyester from recycled PET plastic bottles.

You also want to look at where the textile is printed (in Europe or the United States is best), where the bathing suit is sewn (in a certified fair factory is ideal), and what kind of packaging the company uses, like polybags made of compostable or recycled materials. 

Some brands also have OEKO-TEX certification, which means the bathing suit has been tested and certified free of toxins.

Lucky for you, more brands are popping up all the time that use recycled textiles and other sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices. So there's no need to compromise on your style.

1. Remnant

Remnant is an L.A.-based high-quality, sustainable swimwear brand that creates designs out of upcycled nylon. 

Its rescued nylon comes from ghost fishing nets, ocean-bound plastic, and textile remnants that undergo a complex regeneration process to become a soft, sustainable fabric. Remnant's bikinis are manufactured in Bali. 

Its seamstresses are paid double the minimum wage, receive free health insurance for themselves and their families and free meals at work. In addition, remnant's products and shipping bags are biodegradable and home compostable certified. 

All dyes used in the production of the fabric and packaging are toxin-free and are environmentally friendly. Instead of being petroleum-based, these dyes are water or soy-based and do not emit harmful gases when they break down.

2. REVVV SWIM

Designed and made in New York City, REVVV SWIM is a sustainable active swimwear brand created by fashion industry veteran Cristina Aguayo. 

A swimmer since childhood and a lover of the outdoors, Aguayo’s idea emerged from seeking a go-to sustainable, fashionable, and athletic swimsuit she couldn’t find. REVVV SWIM blends style and athleticism to create a versatile one-piece suit that suits the beach and the city. 

Its one-piece suit is timeless, classic, and made from 100% recycled nylon.

3. Bower

Launched in 2015, Bower is an ethical and sustainable swim & resort wear brand. Since 2019,  1% of Bower's orders have been donated to the Healthy Seas initiative to remove waste from the seas. 

The brand chooses to produce in Europe to regularly visit and guarantee that all employees are paid under EU guidelines and safe working conditions. In addition, all of its swim fabric is produced using ECONYL yarn. 

Its shipping boxes are made from 70% recycled fibres and are 100% recyclable. In addition, its tissue paper is certified by the Eco Packaging Alliance, meaning its supplier plants trees to contribute to global reforestation in areas of need.

4. Wolven

Wolven swimwear and athleisure are made from OEKO-TEX-certified, recycled PET plastic bottles and carbon-neutral modal fabric. 

It also partners with NativeEnergy to carbon offset its operations footprint and choose more eco-conscious packaging to ship products. 

Its Chinese manufacturing partner is certified by WCA for labour, wages, work hours, health, safety, and environmental practices.

5. Ansea

Ansea is a brand specializing in eco-friendly apparel for women who love the sea. Its collection includes wetsuits, swimsuits, and premium loungewear, all from sustainable materials. 

The wetsuits are made of a plant-based alternative to Neoprene called Yulex, producing 80% less CO2 during manufacturing. Meanwhile, the swimsuits are made from ECONYL, regenerated nylon made from industrial plastic, waste fabric, and fishing nets from the oceans. 

The brand produces its collections in New York City, abiding by strict labour regulations and water-conscious practices.

6. Girlfriend Collective

Known for its inclusive and sustainable activewear, Girlfriend Collective makes swimwear out of ECONYL, regenerated nylon, and elastane. 

Its packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable. Its core factory is in Hanoi, Vietnam, and it's SA8000 certified, guaranteeing fair wages, safe and healthy conditions, and zero forced or child labour.

7. For the Dreamers

For the Dreamers, swimwear is made mostly out of ECONYL, which is regenerated nylon is made from pre and post-consumer waste such as fishing nets from the oceans and aquaculture, fabric scraps from mills, old carpets destined for landfills, and other nylon waste. 

It works with a carbon-neutral shipping company and uses more environmentally friendly printing machines for labels, recycled wrapping, and compostable shipping bags to decrease its environmental impact. 

Plus, 5% of every purchase is donated to an organization that provides clean water to those without access to it.

8. Lively

For 2020, Lively created its first-ever eco-conscious swimwear line, with suits made primarily out of recycled polyester. The styles are timeless and mix and match, and sizes go up to XXL/DDD.

9. Patagonia

A leader in sustainability for the past four decades, Patagonia's swimwear is made from a soft and durable 83% recycled polyester/ 17% spandex blend. All the sewing is done in Fair Trade certified factories.

10. Vitamin A

Made in California, many of Vitamin A's super sexy swimsuits are made with EcoLux™ fabric, a blend of Repreve® RECYCLED nylon fibre, and LYCRA® XTRA LIFE™ fibre for a subtle sheen and gorgeous, long-lasting fit.

11. Noize

Noize creates inclusive swimwear using Italian Econyl. The brand’s styles are designed for every body type, with the option for more or less coverage. Customers can choose designs from size XS-XL and a plus-size collection that goes up to 3X.

12. Mara Hoffman

Made in the US of Italian recycled polyester/spandex fabric, these bathing suits have SPF50 built into their colourful, patterned fabrics.

13. OOKIOH

OOKIOH makes "modern swimwear with a splash of nostalgia." The materials are sourced from an Italian mill and are 100% regenerated (meaning they come from the ocean and post-consumer waste). The brand is currently working toward eliminating virgin plastic from its entire system in the next two years.

14. Miga Swimwear

MIGA’s one and two-piece bathing suits are inspired by the disability, chronic illness, and disfigurement community (but meant to be worn by all!). 

The MIGA team consults with community members to craft its vibrant swimwear with ease in mind during the design process. Its Italian-made fabric is woven from regenerated polyamide yarn, resistant to chlorine, and is SPF50. In addition, MIGA uses 100% recycled packaging.

15. Vivida

Vivida’s swimwear is transparently made using mostly post-consumer recycled waste (along with some spandex) and shipped in biodegradable bags. Its name is derived from ‘Viva la Vida’, which “serves as a daily reminder to be grateful for this precious, beautiful life.” 

16. Carolina K

Carolina K is a Latin American lifestyle brand created by Argentinian designer Carolina Kleinman. Known for unique prints and inspired by a desire to preserve the artisanal traditions of indigenous peoples, her pieces are handmade by artisans in remote areas of Mexico, Peru, and India. Carolina K bathing suits are made from ECONYL, which is 100% recycled nylon.

17. Jade Swim

Jade Swim is a sustainable swimwear line using both deadstock fibres and Econyl, regenerated nylon from plastic waste such as fishnets taken out of the ocean and remade into new nylon fabric. Inspired by New York City and made in Los Angeles, the brand combines both minimal and sensual aesthetics that can easily transition into ready-to-wear

18. Hunza G

Hunza G’s crinkle seersucker nylon and elastane fabric is knitted in a local mill in the Midlands, UK, where it’s dyed, processed, and dried before it’s sent to the brand’s Central London studio where each garment is cut and made—limiting any possible unnecessary fabric consumption.

19. Medina Swimwear

Medina Swimwear’s luxury designs are made from ECONYL and can be used repeatedly without losing their integrity. Its pieces are also UV-proof, sun cream, oil, and chlorine resistant. Medina Swimwear donates a percentage of each collection’s sales to nonprofit organizations committed to protecting the oceans.

20. Casa Raki

Casa Raki's designs are South American inspired, designed in London, and made ethically in Portugal. The brand only uses sustainable materials and processes while focusing on improving and extending garment life.  

Its pieces are made from ECONYL, regenerated nylon made from industrial plastic, waste fabric, and fishing nets from the oceans.

21. Ayla Swim

Ayla Swim uses ECONYL to create its versatile designs. It works with two small boutique factories in Bali that allow the brand to be flexible with its order sizes to avoid wasting stock.

22. Fisch

Launched in 2017, FISCH was one of the first brands to use ECONYL. The brand was inspired by the Creative Director's childhood spent on Saint Barthélemy snorkelling and exploring the island's wildlife. Each piece is handmade in Italy from fabric woven in Lombardy to ensure the highest quality possible while helping to minimize its carbon footprint.

23. Galamaar

Founded in 2017, Galamaar is a timeless swimwear brand for the contemporary woman. Made from environmentally sound fabrics, such as ECONYL, and produced in Los Angeles, CA.

24. Arrow + Phoenix

Established in 2012, Arrow + Phoenix is a 90's influenced sustainable swimwear line based in Los Angeles. It focuses on diversity and size inclusivity with bra cups ranging from A-H. The brand's designs are made out of ECONYL, an Italian eco-luxe fibre made from regenerated nylon.

25. Natasha Tonic

Natasha Tonic’s swimwear is made out of a natural, eco-friendly hemp fabric that is antimicrobial, UV resistant, durable, and better for your skin and the planet. Its suits also can do double duty as lingerie, bodysuits, or activewear. They are designed, dyed, and sewn locally in Los Angeles, California.

Read more

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