Whether your summer holiday’s approaching or you want to get some laps in at your local pool, finding swimwear you feel great in is a must. But the eco-conscious swimmer (or sunbather) will also want a swimsuit that creates as little negative impact on the environment as possible. So where to start? We’ve answered some of your most common questions on sustainable swimwear and have put together a list of amazing swimwear brands with a focus on sustainability. And you can get hold of all of them right here in the UK.
Just for the record, this article does contain some affiliate links – meaning we’ll receive a small commission if you follow the link and make a purchase. However, all our recommendations are based on research and third-party verification of each brand’s sustainable credentials. We’d never recommend a brand whose ethics we didn’t agree with!
Can swimwear be eco-friendly?
When people think of sustainable clothing, they might think of natural, organic fabrics. But swimwear tends to be made of plastic-based fibres, so how exactly does that work when it comes to being eco-friendly? Well, there are some pretty clever solutions out there that try to make swimwear as kind to the planet as possible. From innovative fabrics to circular production models, the brands below have some pretty cool solutions to make swimwear sustainable.
What is the most sustainable swimwear fabric?
There are a few different ways to source sustainable fabric for swimwear. It’s possible to make it out of natural fibres like hemp, but probably the most popular sustainable swimwear fabric is ECONYL – an alternative to nylon that’s made from waste products such as old carpets, fishing nets and industrial plastic. Quite a few of the brands in our list use ECONYL for their swimwear.
How can I make my swimsuit sustainable?
It can be tricky to source sustainable swimwear and buying from an ethical brand does tend to be more expensive. However, if you can afford it, buying a good quality swimsuit that you’ll wear for a long time could be much kinder to your budget than buying a new, cheaper swimsuit every year. We know that not everyone can afford the higher price tag that often comes with buying new from a sustainable brand, but if you’re in a position to do so, the planet (and your purse) will thank you.
Our top UK sustainable swimwear brands Here’s a rundown of our favourite swimwear brands – they’re the cream of the crop when it comes to minimising any negative impacts on people and the planet.
Hunza G offer their trademark crinkle-fabric designs in a range of captivating colours. The brand became famous when Julia Roberts wore one of their dresses in the iconic Pretty Woman, and ever since then they’ve been popular for their contemporary take on 80s and 90s-influenced style. They’ve made our sustainable swimwear list because all their garments are produced ethically in the UK, with zero waste.
We Are We Wear
Proving that sustainable doesn’t mean stuffy, We Are We Wear have tons of chic, contemporary and colourful swimwear designs. They’re a Black-owned business who prioritise size inclusivity with their sizing and models, and they have a collection of swimsuits made exclusively from recycled materials.
RubyMoon is a not-for-profit whose mission is to clear up ocean plastic and repurpose it as stylish swimwear and activewear. They also focus on empowering women, with 100% of their profits going towards microloans for female entrepreneurs across the world. We love that most of their products are “Gym to Swim”, meaning you can wear them for both land and sea-based workouts!
Away That Day
Away That Day offer sustainable swimsuits for those with bigger budgets. Their tastefully-coloured swimwear, complementary sarongs and oversized shirts are designed and made in their London studio. As well as using repurposed materials to make their swimwear out of ECONYL, Away That Day also have a really cool recycling scheme where your old swimming costumes and bikinis can be returned to them to be repurposed into something new!
Bower is a small swimwear and resort-wear brand with some gorgeous pieces. All their garments are produced in Italy using ECONYL yarn, ethically-produced linen from Portugal, and wires and fixtures from France. As well as using more sustainable fabrics and reducing waste, the founders Rupert and Fiona have deliberately kept all their suppliers and producers within the EU so as to keep shipping to a minimum and reduce their carbon footprint.
Finisterre are an outdoor brand who produce swimwear alongside a range of other sustainably produced garments. Their clothes are built to last which, as we know, is a key tenet of sustainability. Their swimsuits have a sportier look than some of the other brands and are ideal for sea swimming.
If you’re looking for bold, bright patterns then Batoko is for you. Their swimwear boasts eye-catching designs of sea animals, flowers and more. Based on the northwest coast of England, Batoko are a microbusiness and say they want to stay that way. They challenge the idea of growth for growth’s sake and simply want to provide swimsuits made from recycled plastics for a handful of eco-conscious buyers.
One for the serious swimmers, Davy J offer minimal, block colour swimwear, including long-sleeved and extra coverage items that are perfect for outdoor swimming. They tout their products as “real swimwear”, “designed to survive a dive, pull off a cliff jump or handle a waterfall.” Their products are already made from ECONYL, and the brand are also working towards a circular model where customers will be able to return their old swimsuits for recycling too.
As the name suggests, Loop Swim are all about the circular economy – stamping out waste by using it to create new products, and designing products so that they can be reused at the end of their lives. So not only are their swimsuits made of recycled fabrics, but they can also be recycled when you’re done with them, too!
Sniff out even more sustainable brands
Figuring out which brands are doing all the right things can be exhausting – we get it. But Beagle Button is here to help! We’ve created a handy little browser extension that shows you ethical and sustainable alternatives when you’re shopping online. Why not try it out on your next online shopping session?