Day 145 / 365
When it comes to our summer frolics most of us sport some sort of swimwear. Though the party people of Las Vegas and other such pool bound places might disagree, swimwear was actually invented so us humans could enjoy nature with our ‘modesty’ intact without fear of drowning from the weight of clothing fabrics.
Despite this fact, since their conception, swimsuits have been made without nature in mind, from manmade synthetic fibres like rayon, latex, polyester and nylon, each one derived from optimum evil, oil. The negative effects on the environment in the production of these fabrics are vast. From the mining of the oil, to the greenhouse gasses (nitrous oxide) omitted during production, and finally to the inability these fabrics have to decompose. To top it off, conventional swimwear (including Victoria's Secret, H&M, ect ... ) is created by workers being paid slave wages in unsafe working conditions too.
The last time I shopped for eco bathing suits was about seven years ago. I found a brand online that had started making swimsuits from deadstock fabrics that had been thrown out. But there were about two styles and the swimsuit cost over $400. I simply couldn’t afford it at the time, so I made excuses to myself and bought 4 bathing suits from Victoria Secret instead, which, in all fairness, have lasted me until now. I’ve used them for lap swimming in chlorine pools, surfing, beachy adventures, and city sunbathing on various travels and at home. But they’re starting to give up on the life they once lived and beg for a happy retirement.
As the summer sun began to creep up this year, I started searching for sustainable swimwear brands again and was overjoyed to see how wide the selections now are. Brands are using deadstock, vintage, recycled, organic, or Oeko-tex certified textiles; eco-friendly dyes; soy, organic cotton, bamboo, and other natural fibers. These companies are also producing their collections ethically, donating portions of their profits to charities, and producing in factories which use renewable energy. Change for good.
There are hundreds of sustainable swimwear brands now, which are aesthetically en par with their less conscious counterparts. I compiled a list of my favourite brands for ladies and gents to give you a taste, some direction, and hopefully some inspiration for the next time you need to modify your beachy modesty maker.
Eco + Ethical How? These swimsuits are made from deadstock and reclaimed materials by workers paid fair wages in NYC
Who’s A Fan? Faye from Sustaining Life has one of their high waisted bottom and bandeau top bikinis and says they fit perfectly.
(from Sustaining Life’s ethical swimwear post)
Eco + Ethical How? EcoLux fabric is made in California with recycled nylon fibers, while their trademarked Lycra Xtra Life fiber is used to extend the life of all their swimsuits. In addition, Vitamin A utilizes waterless digital printing technology and manufactures everything at California factories who work to conserve electricity and water.”
Who’s A Fan? Celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rihanna
Eco + Ethical How? Crochet Swimwear handmade in limited numbers by Australian designer Chloé Dunlop. Each one is made with natural materials meaning it can biodegrade at the end of its lifecycle.
Who’s A Fan? Me, I’ve been eyeing her swimwear for years but am working on wearing out a crochet bikini my mum passed down to me
Eco + Ethical How? This handmade collection of beautiful crochet bathing suits and accessories is created by workers paid fair wages in safe working conditions. The materials used are natural fibres and none are chemically treated.
Who’s A Fan? Gwyneth Paltrow, and me.
*they have euro swimwear for dudes too
Eco + Ethical How? The fabric used to create these bathing suits is manufactured in Italy ecologically made out of PA (Polyamid), and 20% EA (Elasthan) certified by the Öko-Tex Standard 100. The collection is prodced in Stuttgart, Germany and all the patterns and designs are developed in Hamburg.
Who’s A Fan? Me, I’m totally regretting not getting one of their sea bodies before I went out to Costa Rica for our surf trip. Bikini’s are cool and all til you’ve spent a day chest down on a board and get yourself a board rash. I’ve yet to find an eco friendly rash guard so this brand is really the best of both worlds!
Eco + Ethical How? (from their site) Their fabric is manufactured in a green energy facility that is dedicated to the reduction and prevention of pollution, protection and preservation of green spaces, water treatment and monitoring of gas emissions. They use biodegradable, recyclable or reusable packaging. Their ITALIAN fabric is made up of 78% RECYCLED post-consumer materials as well as XTRALIFE LYCRA® fibers to extend the life of each piece far beyond that of traditional spandex products. Each bikini they make is built to last with quality and sustainability in mind. Cut, printed and sewn in the USA.
Eco + Ethical How? Colombian made swimwear produced through ethical fair trade standards. The collection is made with Oeko Tex certified printed fabrics and in 2015 they began using recycled spandex swimwear fabric for some of their swimwear and bikinis. They also donate to charitable organizations including the , and .
Eco + Ethical How? This collection of vintage inspired printed men’s swimwear (they do woman’s stuff too) is made from recycled plastic bottles and is sewn in ethical family-run factories.
Eco + Ethical How? (from Elizabeth at The Notepassser’s Ethical Swimwear Post) UK based brand Riz creates colorful board shorts from 100 percent recycled and recyclable polyester, print with water-based, earth-friendly inks, and run a recycling program called "Rizcycling".
Eco + Ethical How? They have partnered with the Fair Labor Association to ensure they are upheld in protecting and promoting working conditions along their supply change, they’ve also partnered with Bluesign, which eliminates harmful substances from the beginning of the manufacturing process where the biggest environmental impact is made. They use products such as ECONYL (made of continuously recyclable fishing nets) and Hemp Organic Cotton, amongst other sustainable sources.
photo: Shane Woodward (other photos from brand's instagram profiles)