When it comes to swimwear, it’s all synthetic in one way, shape or form. For something to be water, chlorine and salt resistant.. it kinda has to be. Especially when it is being mass produced for millions of people around the world. In this post I will break down better options and what to look for when you’re shopping for more “sustainable” swimwear options.
The big issue we’re dealing with
Did you know over 640,000 tons (TONS) of fishing gear like nets, buoys and lines end up in our ocean each year? Besides that fact that this is completely irresponsible, they are devastating ocean habitats and reef environments. Do a quick google search, it’s not hard to see.
Trust me, I fish in Alaska for a living. I see the waste that happens in the fish yard, the boats and in the canneries. I SEE IT FIRST HAND. We’ve got to stop this problem and support brands who are coming in for the clean up.
Outside of waste, there are major issues with fair trade standards like work environment, wage, living conditions, work hours and the list goes on. If you claim to be a healthy living conscious member of society, buying a cheap Walmart bathing suit isn’t cutting it. People’s lives are at stake for your bathing suit that you likely throw in the garbage can. Ignorance isn’t bliss.
Labels to look for
The brands I list below are either recycled, Oeko-Tex 100, certified non-toxic, GOTS, fair-trade, B-Corp or Bluesign Partners. Many of them use ECONYL which is yarn made from old nylon found in the trash and oceans. Think fishing nets and nylon clothes but the get a second, third and fourth life. No new resources or waste! But make sure you do your part and recycle what is no longer usable.
100 by Oeko-Tex; the leader in testing fabrics to regulate harmful substances.
ECONYL; Regenerated Nylon.No waste. No new resources. Just endless possibilities. Made from waste, it is infinitely recyclable .
Fair-trade; changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.
Bluesign®; SYSTEM PARTNERS meet strict criteria with regard to resource efficiency, work safety, environmental and consumer protection and exclude the use of the substances in the bluesign® SYSTEM SUBSTANCES LIST (BSSL) from their production process.
B-Corp; More than 500 BCorps publicly commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by the year 2030—20 years ahead of the targets set in the Paris Agreement.
GOTS; Comprehensive Rules for Ecological and Socially Responsible Textile Production. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed through collaboration by leading standard setters with the aim of defining requirements that are recognised world-wide and that ensure the organic status of textiles from harvesting of the raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible …
Ethical and sustainable swimwear options
Before I get rolling, one product you must have is a Guppy Bag. This bag was created to catch the micro plastics coming off your clothing when you wash them. All you do is put your bathing suit, clothes or whatever else you wash into this bag and it will do the rest. I got mine at REI.
Pronounced “bai-ah”. Meaning: one who has the capacity to change the world for the better. Amber – the founder – is all in. All fabrics are made from Italy where they recycle industrial and post-consumer recycled waste like fishnets, carpets, bottles and textiles. + certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex
2) Vitamin A
1% for the Planet, proprietary fabric EcoLux™ which is the first premium swim fabric made with recycled nylon, 95% of products (including fabrics) are made in Southern California, partners with Oceana and Surfrider Foundation which is one of my favorite organizations!
They use ECONYL and EVO (yarn from castor bean oil). + they are partnering with 1% for the Planet. In addition, they use hygiene liners made from wood pulp and non-toxic ink. Talk about an ethical and sustainable swimwear brand!
4) Sensi Graves
1% for the Planet + they use high quality recycled fabric from Spain, Italy and the US (like REPREVE and ECONYL). I met Sensi at a conference a few years ago and she’s a totally rad girl. She’s a professional kite boarder and she is obsessed with the water and planet just like me! In addition, all packaging is compostable. No plastic here!
Everyone knows about Patagonia but most don’t know they are actually a very sustainable brand that’s leading and paving the way for many others. They support 1% for the Planet, use organic and recycled materials and are onboard with whatever step they can take to reduce their footprint. Of course, they use recycled Nylon, recycled Polyester and fair trade materials.
This ones for the men in your life! Made out of 100% recycled bottles and recycled materials. Additionally, they work with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and offer 25% off your next pair of shorts if you send in your loved and worn ones!
7) Amara Tulum
Recycled, Lycra Xtra Life materials. This Lycra Xtra Life makes clothing last 2x as long as normal so you don’t have to buy as often as you used to. Basically, they’re trying to prevent waste from bathing suits that fall apart within a few wears.
No petroleum products, Oeko-Tex 100% certified non-toxic materials. They are committed to protecting what they love.
“With every swimsuit we produce, we up-cycle up to 300grs of marine debris and other nylon waste as well as reducing our environmental footprint thanks to an eco production process.”
Swimwear are intimate garments in direct contact with your skin. All our fabrics and components are Oekotex® 100 Standard certified, which means that they are free of harmful and toxic chemicals.Now_Then
9) Davy J
Waste collection and 100% ECONYL material. Best of all, they use 100% regenerated nylon yarn from consumer waste.
10) Woodlike Ocean
Durable, long-lasting swimwear. + they ship their products in a dirt bag that is completely compostable. The result; ocean-friendly swimwear made out of 100% sustainable luxury Italian fabric.
I hope this guide to ethical and sustainable swimwear brands will help you to make educated and responsible buying decisions when you’re out looking for a new suit! Until then, make sure you check out my post on recycling clothing so you can make the most of your loved and worn outfits! Then, you can see my guide to sustainable camping gear!