The fashion and textile industry is one of the most toxic and polluting industries in the world, falling just below Big Oil and into the second place slot. When it comes to the mess that is our current administration and the pressing concerns of climate change, living as eco-friendly as possible is more important than ever—and making a switch to sustainable clothing we wear is a great first step.
While we’ve highlighted the earth-friendly designers, brands, and retailers to know in the past, we felt it was appropriate to pay special focus to those making waves in the world of sustainable swimwear. ‘Tis the season, after all.
Below, learn more about 10 ethical and sustainable brands that are changing the swimwear game. From keeping production local and reducing carbon footprints to choosing to source only organic and/or recycled materials, these are the labels—both pioneers and newcomers—to watch.
Her. The Label
Aussie swim label Her. offers chic, simple swimwear for the minimalist at heart. Locally made, the brand is dedicated to staying observant about the manufacturing and production process to allow for more transparency and ensure they maintain a fair and ethical workforce; materials are sourced from Italian mills that are up to date with their CSR practices. Its timeless shapes and silhouettes allow for a longer life, too, as each style can be worn season after season.
We’re longtime fans of eco-conscious label Reformation, so when we found out in April that it was finally launching a swimwear line, we were beyond excited. The vintage-inspired silhouettes cut from summery prints and hues are just what we need this summer, and being that the full line is made from 85 percent recycled materials, how could we resist?
We love fashion designer Mara Hoffman for her focus on transparency and her desire to always stay improving and moving forward in terms of environmental responsibility and sustainability. Currently, her line of swim is made using recycled fabrics, ECONYL (a material generated from post-consumer waste) and rPET (a material made from recycled plastic water bottles).
NYC-based label Vaute is known for its full-range line of 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-conscious clothing (especially its incredible coats), and the swimwear, made of recycled materials, does not disappoint. Founder, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, is committed to “taking animals out of the equation,” creating garments that use high-tech sustainable textiles that are cut and sewn in Manhattan's Garment District.
Vege Threads is a small, independent Australian-based label, providing simple basics, swimwear, and activewear to the eco-conscious individual. The brand prides itself on keeping things local and simple while embracing a shift toward slower living. All of its pieces are manufactured in Australia, with the brand working closely with local knitting mills and dye houses and using organic and natural textiles and dyes, which you can learn more about here.
We can’t deny that we’re pretty obsessed with L.A.-based clothing, swim, and intimates label Hot-As-Hell—we even carry our favorites on NYLONshop. But what we love more than its laid-back, breezy cover-ups and sexy, inclusive swim styles are its sustainable efforts. They use innovative, environmentally friendly processes, such as eco-friendly digital and sublimation printing techniques, work to minimize waste, and have even partnered with their Sri Lankan manufacturer to co-launch EFL, an innovative and high-performance fabric that is also sustainable.
Araks takes luxury swim to the next level. The NYC-based label produces its swimwear, lingerie, and sleepwear locally in Manhattan’s Garment District and uses organic fabric whenever possible. Its commitment to quality garments that last and managing overproduction and waste (and recycling and reselling any unused fabric) are also noteworthy. Additionally, its philanthropic efforts include donations throughout the years to global initiatives such as Planned Parenthood and Sierra Club.
Tulum-based eco-conscious swimwear label Amara is perfect for the versatility enthusiast. Its reversible, convertible, and mix-and-match-able styles that all exude a ‘60s flair are created with an Italian fabric made up of 78 percent recycled plastics, on top of other sustainable and long-lasting fibers. It uses only biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable packaging and ensures its production facilities are ethical and treat employees well, like by paying livable wages.
Liar The Label
Liar the Label founders, Nisha Abey and Alex Wales, launched their Australian-based ethical swimwear label back in 2014 with an aim to end customers’ needs for low-quality, unethically made garments, while bringing sustainable fashion to the forefront in an affordable, appealing way. They keep the manufacturing process local to Australia, reducing the brand’s carbon footprint, and produce both sporty swimwear and activewear pieces out of Italian recycled polyester.
SoCal-based swimwear label Vitamin A has been at the forefront of the sustainable swimwear movement for nearly two decades. The brand seeks to lower its environmental footprint, “one bikini at a time.” Styles are produced with its patented, premium swim fabric, EcoLux (which uses recycled nylon fibers), and waterless digital printing technologies in sustainable factories, proving that we don't need to sacrifice style for the planet.