sustainable swimwear

Sustainable Swimwear: A Deep Dive Into Eco Friendly Choices

As we face the escalating climate change crisis, the fashion industry, long known for its notorious environmental impact, has become the subject of rigorous examination. Notoriously wasteful practices and material consumption make this multi-billion dollar industry one of the world’s major pollutants. However, in recent years, there has been a breath of fresh air in the form of sustainable fashion. This progressive sector strives to mitigate the industry’s environmental footprint, advocating for a shift to eco-friendly practices. One area in which this transformative change is becoming increasingly prevalent is the realm of sustainable swimwear.

Indeed, sustainable swimwear, in all its vibrant and varied forms, is beginning to make a splash on the fashion scene. Whether you’re a beach-goer, a competitive swimmer, or simply someone who enjoys lounging by the pool, there’s a sustainable swimwear option that will suit your style without compromising your environmental values.

What is Sustainable Swimwear?

The term ‘sustainable swimwear’ encapsulates a broad range of swimwear items produced with conscientiousness towards environmental impact and social responsibility. This swimwear category is often manufactured from eco-friendly, recycled, or organic materials. The production process is designed to minimize harmful environmental impacts and ensure the well-being and fair treatment of individuals involved in its manufacturing.

One noteworthy characteristic of sustainable swimwear is its durability. Sustainable swimwear pieces are crafted to withstand the rigors of repeated use, thereby reducing the need for continual replacement and lowering the associated carbon footprint of production. This longevity not only aids in environmental preservation but also offers consumers better value for their money, making sustainable swimwear an appealing choice.

Understanding the Materials

To fully grasp the concept and value of sustainable swimwear, it’s crucial to delve into the materials that constitute these eco-friendly pieces.

One popular material used in sustainable swimwear is ECONYL. This innovative fiber is a form of regenerated nylon made entirely from waste materials. This includes things like discarded fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring, and industrial plastic. The regeneration process that transforms these waste products into ECONYL involves rescuing, regenerating, and remaking nylon products. This process not only helps reduce waste but also lessens the demand for crude oil, which is required to produce original nylon.

Another common material used in sustainable swimwear is recycled polyester, often sourced from post-consumer products such as plastic bottles. Like ECONYL, recycled polyester production involves removing existing plastic, melting it down, and re-spinning it into new polyester fiber. This process uses significantly less energy and water than virgin polyester production, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint.

Organic cotton is also occasionally used, particularly in hybrid swimwear-clothing items. Grown without harmful chemicals, organic cotton promotes a healthier ecosystem and prevents water contamination. However, it’s worth noting that while organic cotton is more environmentally friendly than traditional cotton, it still requires significant water to grow, which can be a sustainability downside.

These materials’ inherent qualities, such as durability, elasticity, and oil resistance, make them perfect for swimwear. However, their sustainable production methods truly set them apart, enabling fashion-forward consumers to make choices that align with their values without compromising on style or performance.

Why Choose Sustainable Swimwear?

Choosing sustainable swimwear can have a profound impact, not only on the environment but also on societal norms and personal health. Here’s why you should consider making the switch.

Environmental Impact: The production of sustainable swimwear often involves recycling materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or polluting the ocean. Choosing these products can help reduce this waste while also minimizing the demand for virgin materials and the environmental impact associated with their production. Furthermore, many sustainable swimwear brands take additional steps to reduce their carbon footprint, such as using energy-efficient manufacturing processes or offsetting their emissions.

Ethical Considerations: Alongside environmental considerations, sustainable swimwear also often involves ethical considerations. Many brands are committed to ensuring fair trade practices, providing safe working conditions, and paying living wages to their workers. You contribute to a more equitable global fashion industry by supporting these brands.

Health Benefits: Traditional swimwear materials can sometimes contain harmful chemicals that may leach onto the skin. In contrast, sustainable swimwear is often made from cleaner materials and produced using safer processes. This not only benefits the environment but can also reduce potential health risks.

Economic Sustainability: Supporting sustainable swimwear brands can contribute to a more sustainable economy. As demand for these products grows, it encourages more brands to adopt sustainable practices, fostering innovation and job creation in the green economy.

Style and Variety: Today’s sustainable swimwear comes in all shapes, sizes, and styles, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice personal style for sustainability. Whether you prefer a classic one-piece, a trendy bikini, or something in between, there’s a sustainable option out there for you.

In essence, choosing sustainable swimwear is a multifaceted decision that goes beyond the call of environmental preservation. It’s a lifestyle choice that advocates for fair trade, supports personal health, and contributes to a more sustainable and resilient economy.

Sustainable Swimwear: The History

The transformation towards sustainability in the swimwear industry has been a progressive journey, inspired by a combination of growing awareness and technological advancements.

In earlier times, swimwear was primarily made from synthetic materials, with little to no regard for the detrimental effects on the environment or the social implications of production. The prevailing focus was on creating affordable, durable, and stylish pieces without much consideration of the longer-term consequences.

However, as awareness around the environmental and human rights implications of such practices grew, so too did the demand for more ethical and eco-friendly alternatives. Technological advancements also played a significant role, enabling the creation of fabrics from recycled or sustainable sources that still met swimwear’s durability and aesthetic requirements.

Today, many brands are adopting sustainable practices, actively contributing to a significant shift in the industry.

Sustainable Swimwear:  The Brands


Founded in 1973, Patagonia has been at the forefront of sustainable clothing production for many years and has extended this commitment to its swimwear line. Patagonia’s mission statement, “We’re in business to save our home planet,” underlines the brand’s deep-seated commitment to the environment.

Their sustainable swimwear collection features a range of styles, all made from recycled nylon or recycled polyester. The company’s dedication to sustainability doesn’t stop with the materials; Patagonia also ensures its products are Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. This guarantees that the workers involved in the production process are paid fair wages and work under safe conditions.

In addition to producing sustainable clothing, Patagonia is involved in various environmental initiatives. It has pledged 1% of its sales to preserving and restoring the natural environment, demonstrating a holistic approach to sustainability.


Summersalt is a newer player in the swimwear industry but has quickly made a name for itself with its vibrant designs and commitment to sustainability. The company uses recycled materials to create its swimsuits, reducing waste and lowering its carbon footprint.

Furthermore, Summersalt is committed to ethical production. It ensures fair labor practices in its factories and strives to create a positive impact on the communities where its products are made. Their company philosophy focuses on creating high-quality, designer swimwear without the designer price tag while remaining eco-conscious and responsible.

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective is a brand that believes good things come to those who don’t waste. This mantra is evident in their swimwear line, which is made from recycled fishing nets and other ocean waste, transformed into ECONYL®.

But their commitment to sustainability goes beyond the use of eco-friendly materials. Each piece of swimwear comes with a detailed account of its environmental impact, highlighting the amount of waste diverted, CO2 prevented, and water saved. This transparency allows customers to understand the real impact of their purchase.

Additionally, Girlfriend Collective emphasizes inclusivity in its designs. They offer a range of sizes to cater to all body types, reinforcing their belief that sustainability should be accessible to everyone.


Lively offers a range of swimwear made from recycled polyester, upholding its commitment to sustainability. The brand takes the eco-friendly route, recognizing that every step towards sustainability, no matter how small, is vital in making a difference.

Beyond using sustainable materials, Lively prioritizes a sense of community and empowerment. They champion diversity and inclusivity, offering various styles and sizes. Lively’s commitment to sustainability goes hand-in-hand with its belief in creating products that make women feel confident and comfortable.


Choosing sustainable swimwear represents more than a mere fashion statement; it’s a step towards supporting a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry. While it might seem like a drop in the ocean, remember that every choice counts. Each sustainable swimsuit purchased represents a vote for more environmentally and socially responsible practices in the fashion industry. Together, through these small actions, we can contribute to significant change.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here, we address some of the most common questions about sustainable swimwear to help you make a more informed decision.

What is sustainable swimwear? Sustainable swimwear refers to swimsuits made from eco-friendly or recycled materials and produced in a way that respects both the environment and the people involved in its manufacture.

Why should I choose sustainable swimwear? Choosing sustainable swimwear contributes to reducing environmental pollution and waste. Additionally, it supports brands that prioritize fair trade and ethical labor practices.

What materials are used in sustainable swimwear? Sustainable swimwear is made from various materials, including ECONYL, recycled polyester, and occasionally organic cotton. These materials are chosen for their minimal impact on the environment and their durability.

Can sustainable swimwear be stylish and comfortable? Absolutely! Many sustainable swimwear brands offer various styles, colors, and sizes. The materials used, such as ECONYL and recycled polyester, are not only eco-friendly but also comfortable and durable.

How can I take care of my sustainable swimwear to make it last longer? Taking care of sustainable swimwear involves steps like rinsing the swimsuit after each use, avoiding harsh detergents, and letting it air-dry. It’s also recommended to avoid high temperatures when washing and drying to preserve the integrity of the recycled materials.