I'm sure it's not just me who's dreaming of being in my bikini by the pool somewhere exotic, although it's more likely to be sunbathing in my garden again. It has been so long since we have been able to show them off that many of us will be searching for new swimwear this summer. I've been looking out for some sustainable and ethical brands that will have you feeling hot, while keeping the planet cool! This post goes over a few of my favourite finds for both women and men, and why you should choose them.
Why Buy Sustainable?
There is so much pressure to wear new clothes but this is amplified further with items we don't wear as often. Swimwear is normally saved for the summer, when you are on holiday, enjoying the sun and probably taking the most pictures. Fashion trends are constantly changing, and with roughly a year between wears, the chances are the bikini you loved last year isn't giving you the same feeling anymore... plus you already posted a picture in it so? Getting out and strutting your stuff on the beach can be hard and that new bikini gives you an extra confidence boost, so what's the harm?
The mindset described above is deep rooted in a lot of our minds and feeds into fast fashion, waste and inequality. These brands are spitting out thousands of cheap bikini styles, telling you that you NEED this new 'summer essential', all the while they are profiting of our insecurities, exploiting their workers and destroying our planet! Many of these fast fashion giants are now releasing 'eco' lines, greenwashing their negative impact. An easy way to check if a brand is sustainable is to use an App like Good On You. Using a rating system, the app quickly gives you an indication of the companies ethics, with a 1-5 rating for planet, people and animals, then a final overall rating. Here's an example...
Shopping sustainably is the way out and the brands I've listed below are some of my favourites that I have discovered over the last year. Sustainable fashion can be expensive, and initially puts a lot of people off, but these brands are creating timeless pieces that you can wear year on year, that will last as long as you love them. Of course it's not always that simple, but sites like Depop and Vinted are another great way to reduce waste while saving dollar; one of my favourite bikinis is from Depop, the lovely lady had never worn it but was unable to send it back!
You don't need new clothes to look, feel or be amazing, and each of these brands highlights that fact. Most fast fashion brands heavily edit their images, choosing a very small range of women with seemingly perfect, flawless bodies; it's time to normalise normal bodies and re-wearing clothes!!! And guys, I leave you out too much! Here is a list of some amazing brands for both girls and guys...
Stay Wild Swim is a relatively new company founded by Zanna Van Dijk and Natalie Glaze. A friend of mine recently introduced me to Zanna's socials, she has become the vegan fitness guru whose home workouts are the only reason I'm not rolling out of lockdown. When I saw that she had her own sustainable swimwear brand, it was the icing on the cake.
The swimwear is designed and made in London, and the ECONYL used to create it is sourced from Italy. ECONYL is produced from unwanted waste including discarded fishing nets and fabric scraps left from industry. It reduces waste and emissions for a happier planet. On top of this they have a limited collection of timeless styles that will stand the test of time, advocating against the fast fashion industry. You can grab their signature towel or beach-to-office shirt to go with your swimwear and they just realised an essentials underwear collection focused on comfort and sustainability.
Average Price: Bikini, £140, One piece, £160 (most expensive on the list today, don't worry)
If you are a Love Island fan then you might have already heard of this one. Montana Rose Brown, the 2017 constant, founded Swim Society, the sustainable swimwear company that pledges to be inclusive by default:
"Swim Society is and shall continuously be the first of its kind in that we promote absolutely no categorisation in our designs. No ‘Plus’ ‘Petite’ or ‘Tall’, just every design for every size, no variation."
Each piece of swimwear has an average of 3 recycled bottles, made up of 97% post consumer plastic. Every order plants a tree and includes a garment bag made from offcuts of production, arriving in recyclable packaging. So, if you fancy being sustainable and sexy this summer, Swim Society might be the brand for you.
Average Price: Bikini, £50, One piece, £60
I have talked about this wonderful brand before in my Sustainable Sex post, if you missed it find out more about the brain in the sustainable lingerie section! We Are We Wear also have a host of eco friendly swimwear on offer. Their designs are made out of recycled polyester, which is repurposed from marine waste such as fishing nets. They come in a host of colourful and sexy designs for all body shapes, which is now available from well known retailers like UO and ASOS, as well as their own website.
Average Price: Bikini, £40, One piece, £40
AYM Studio is a brand where you can get the sleekest, highest quality items that are handmade to order in the UK and they have just started a swimwear line. Although AYM don't actually advertise themselves as a sustainable company, they are constantly striving to be responsible and ethical in their production methods.
You can meet every worker who makes your clothes on their website - 80% of their products are made to order to reduce waste, and the remaining 20% are either custom made or pre-ordered to ensure the correct quantities with only a few select lines being pre-made if they have been extremely popular. AYM are part of several programmes, including Ecologi for a climate positive workforce, 1% for the planet and Living Wage Brighton. Most of their fabrics are just standard, but they do have a Natural Collection with organic garments from plant based materials. A lot companies would think this is enough to claim to be 'Sustainable' but AYM believe they haven't quite got there yet. However, their clothing is made in the UK with 0 waste, they are ethically produced, pay fair wages, provide high quality products that are made to last and most importantly, they are transparent and honest with their consumers. Overall, it's a yes from me.
Average price: Bikini, £60, One piece, £50
Ecoalf is a sustainable company that provides both men's and women's clothing. Their sustainable swimwear line is created using 100% ECONYL® nylon, which is made from unwanted waste including discarded fishing nets and fabric scraps left from industry. Focusing upon high quality and timeless design, their trunks will last you a lifetime!
Price: Shorts, £60-90
Bluebuck is a mens clothing brand that prides itself on creating clothes that support the planet, rather than take from it. Their swimwear is made using 100% SEAQUALTM, which works with fishermen and small charities to clean up our ocean and remove plastic waste. This waste is then sorted and converted to yarn to deliver you stylish and sustainable swimwear. Even their factories and offices are powered by renewable energy!
Price: Shorts, £75
Finisterre are a walking and surfing based brand who provide sustainability as standard. Promoting transparency, you can see who has made your clothes and the journey they have been on to get to you. Alongside outdoor clothing and wetsuits, their swimwear is made from 100% recycled nylon which is quick drying and durable. Available in a few select styles that range from sleek to colourful, there is something for everyone!
Let's all keep our fingers crossed for a sunny summer and who knows, maybe even a holiday! Although all these brands are wonderfully sustainable and ethical, the most important thing they represent is that you will look amazing whatever you wear, wherever you are and no matter what your body shape! Also, remember that places like vinted and depop can provide a sustainable and cheap alternative - you don't need to turn to the fast fashion giants if brands like these will break the bank (student life).
As always, thanks for reading!