11 Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands
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How To Choose The Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands
In the midst of #love, #photography, and #outfitoftheday, #sustainability is certainly putting the hot in hot topic when it comes to clothing. Spun from the outrage of fast fashion brands such as Zara and Artizia, most of us are asking big-name corporations to do better.
Now more than ever, shoppers are developing what we call an ‘environmental filter.’ It’s basically a pass or fail test. If you don’t meet the standards of sustainability, you’re out. In encouraging news, The Business Research Company predicted that ethical fashion is currently worth over $6.35 billion in the United States—and is estimated to triple in the next coming years.
With shoes, tops, dresses, and even sustainable purses reaching an all-time high in the market, we’re also seeing a spike in the swimwear category. It makes sense since the industry is known to use toxic materials such as nylon and polyester. Today, brands like Wolven and Left On Friday only source ‘green’ fabrics such as hemp and econyl.
While most articles cover green-led companies that make shoes, purses, and recycled tops, we’ll be focusing on the best sustainable swimwear brands out there. In this review, we’ll cover their company missions and how they aim to change the problematic nature of fast fashion.
And for those new to the eco-friendly world of fashion, we commend you. The transition from cheap, widely available clothing to a much slower movement isn’t easy, but it’s the right thing to do.
11 Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands
While it may be close to winter, this article will help guide you towards those end-of-season deals to get ready for the next swimming season. We’ve put together our top 11 list of the best sustainable swimwear brands in 2021.
Let’s be honest; comfort usually entails an unsavory image. From baggy sweatpants to ill-fitting t-shirts, we usually put the ‘cherry on top’ by finishing it off with an unwashed hair bun and junk food stains. I’m certainly not calling you out; I’m just saying that there are other ways to look refined without sacrificing that unergonomic couch crease. Let me introduce you to Summersalt.
Founded by Lori Coulter and Reshma Chamberlin, this online boutique puts an elegant spin on casualwear, ranging from sweats to swimwear. Summersalt offers ‘bs-free’ pricing, which means that they cut out the middleman in order to give customers the best value for their money.
In other news, they’re also known for their data-backed fit—as the brand holds a total of 1.5 million body measurements from countless women.
Ever since its establishment in 2017, this Missouri-based brand has upswept the fashion industry through its creative designs. They now hold a following of over 295k on Instagram and are also featured in countless magazines such as Refinery29 and Forbes.
Regarding sustainability, Summersalt uses a unique blend of recycled polyamide and lycra for the collection. These materials are sourced through post-consumer waste and old fishnets. They also use other eco-friendly fabrics like Tencel, Modal, and Cupro. Best of all, their swimwear line is designed to have UPF+50 protection.
With a company this promising, here’s to hoping that we won’t get disappointed when it comes to pricing. For a better view, this Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands review will provide an estimated ballpark regarding price:
- The Diagonal Mid Rise Bottom: $45
- The String Bikini Top: $50
- The Sidestroke one-piece: $95
- The Halter Plunge: $125
2. Faithfull the Brand
There’s no use in hiding it. We all share the common ‘cottage-core’ fantasy of billowing summer dresses, fruit baskets, and running amok in tall prairie grasses.
While it may seem like a fictional reality to others, clothing companies like Faithful the Brand are banking on this daydream. This apparel brand was founded by friends Sarah Jane Abrahams and Helle Them-Enger, who happened to meet on a serendipitous trip to Bali.
With a passion for nostalgic fashion, Faithful the Brand produces hand-made garments sewn by the best artisans in Bali. They ensure that they work closely with local communities in order to ensure ethical manufacturing practices.
Related: Check out the full Faithfull the Brand Review to learn more.
Since its debut in 2012, this Wales-based company has taken the internet by storm through its stunning collection. Their designs are also worn by countless celebrities, such as Kristen Bell and Olivia Rodrigo.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands review without looking at the brand’s involvement in the environment. Unfortunately, this company doesn’t share much on material usage, or if they believe in recycling practices. According to GoodonYou, they rank an average of 3 out of 5 stars.
If you’re still around after that tidbit of information, it’s time to take a look at the pricing range for some of the brand’s swimwear products. Keep in mind that they also produce other garments such as dresses, tops, and bottoms.
- The Toulon Bottoms Vionette Floral Pink: $23 (originally priced at $85)
- The Fonda Bikini Top Plain White Textured: $95
- The Mumbai One Piece Padma Paisley Print: $107 (originally priced at $179)
- The Bea One Piece Gingham Marigold: $189
3. Carve Designs
If you’ve been stuck scrolling through the websites of bathing suit brands that are tailored to fit teeny-tiny bikini bodies yet promote themselves as “size inclusive”, your eyes are probably tired by now. More specifically, you’re probably exasperated at how hard it is to find well-fitting outdoor apparel.
Luckily, Carve Designs has made it clear that things don’t have to be that way anymore. This is a swim, surf and lifestyle brand that’s truly made to fit every body, including especially tall women and women with D/DD cups.
Created by two friends, Jennifer Hinton and Thayer Sylvester, Carve Designs began selling rash guards and boardshorts in 2003. For nearly 20 years, the duo has kept their promise of making silhouettes to fit “real women”.
Related: View our Carve Designs Review for a detailed breakdown.
Nowadays, they’re increasing their already supreme efforts to clean up our oceans too. Each one of Carve’s swimsuits are made with 100% recycled plastic bottles and 85% of them are made completely from sustainable materials like organic denim, organic corduroy, and organic cotton. They’ve also come up with sun-protective fabrics up to UPF50+.
If you’re interested in trying out one of the brand’s “signatures”, be sure to shop for suits, boardshorts and rashguards that are made from Carve’s proprietary textiles: Coconut Balsa™ (a lightweight, fast-drying fabric), and FlyWeight™ (their “comfiest, lightest fabric yet”).
In terms of affordability, pieces from Carve Designs fall into the middle to moderately expensive price range for outdoor apparel, mostly because the brand uses quality fabrics that are made to last. Bikini tops and bottoms can be found for as low as $44, while rash guards and boardshorts will cost you anywhere from $54-$168.
- Female-led, women-owned company
- Great for those who like to be active on land or in the water
- Form-fitting swimwear and outdoor apparel for all body types
- Size chart offered
- Made with recycled fabrics and sustainable materials
In a world of eastern patterns, luxurious fabric, and a shared love of fashion, you can say that founder Kiran Jade had a colorful childhood growing up. Of course, it was only natural that she would pursue a career in the clothing industry—which ultimately led to the establishment of Wolven Threads in 2015.
Headquartered in the starlet valley of Los Angeles, California, this clothing company is on a mission to make “sustainability sexy.” Wolven Threads is actively involved in several environmentally-led causes, as they’ve partnered with Carbon Neutral in order to better measure their ecological footprint. The brand also uses Oeko-Tex Certified Recycled P.E.T fabric as its sustainable alternative to fabric.
Over the years, Wolven has amassed a positive reputation for its company mission and designs. Don’t believe us? Take a look at their following on Instagram, which holds an audience of 504k. They’re also headlined by several media outlets, including Vogue, The New York Times, and Forbes.
Related: View our Wolven Review for more information.
Just by looking at their website, it’s easy to get a feel of Wolven’s core aesthetic. Coupled with Jade’s colorful background in fashion, most of their garments feature vibrant hues and interesting cut-outs. Currently, they produce leggings, crop tops, biker shorts, loungewear, and of course, Sustainable Swimwear.
Ahem, now it’s time to address the dealbreaker: What’s the price range for Wolven Threads? For a better view, this Best Sustainable Swimwear brands review will provide an estimated range for some of their products:
- The Echo Reversible French Cut Bikini Bottom: $28 (originally priced at $34)
- The Oasis Bandeau: $52 (originally priced at $64)
- The Aquarius Cropped Rash Guard: $65 (originally priced at $81)
- The Jungle Cage One Piece: $127 (originally priced at $159)
Patagonia’s origin story can be best summarized by pure elbow grease and a love for climbing. Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, this sporting goods company was formerly known as Chouinard Equipment.
In its early days, they sold rugby shirts, rappelling gear, and boiled-wool gloves for outdoor enthusiasts. It wasn’t until a few years later when Patagonia began its deep dive into environmental activism.
Today, this Californian-based brand is widely known for its conservationist efforts. This includes the Patagonia Action Works program, which connects volunteers to environmentally-led groups.
They also impose a 1% earth tax to help support green-based causes. It doesn’t stop there, as Patagonia is passionate about upholding ethical labor by introducing a social responsibility program.
This sporting goods store manufactures clothing suited for outdoor life. From jackets to wetsuits, Patagonia caters to those ingrained in ‘silent sports’, including climbing, surfing, and skiing. So far, their collection has won the upvote of several customers online. This is most notably shown through its staggering 4.6 million following on Instagram.
With that out of the way, this Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands review will take a gander at the price range for its collection. It’s worth noting that they only produce designs for the women’s section:
- The Women’s Sunamee Bikini Bottoms: $59
- The Women’s Glassy Dawn Tankini: $86
- The Women’s Nanogrip Nireta Bikini Bottoms: $67
- The Women’s Reversible Extended Break One-Piece Swimsuit: $149
6. Left on Friday
Adventure is out there. But in most cases, the fun’s extinguished when it comes to adequate performance wear. No one knows this better than founders Shannon Savage and Laura Low Ah Kee, who both have collective backgrounds in the sportswear industry. They wanted to create a swimsuit that held up well during surfing, hot-tub sitting, or basic lounging.
This ultimately led to the establishment of Left On Friday in 2017. Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, this female-led brand manufactures swimwear made from high-performance fabrics. They state that they only use durable materials in order to ensure longevity. They also use recyclable packaging to help cut down on waste.
From what we’ve gathered so far, it seems that Left on Friday isn’t ‘left on read’ when it comes to customer feedback. They have a following of over 48.7k on Instagram, coupled with a few frequent mentions on online magazines such as Travel + Leisure and CNN.
It’s quite easy to get a sense of Left on Friday’s current style, as they offer vibrantly colored sets in classic silhouettes. In addition, their price range is relatively straightforward. Down below, this Best Sustainable Swimwear brands review will provide a ballpark of what to expect regarding cost:
- Pool Days Top: $100
- The Weekender Suit: $200
Founded by Michael Preysman in 2015, Everlane is considered by many as a front leader within the fashion industry. There’s a chance that you’ve already heard of them before, as they’re best known for the super-versatile Everlane heel—which is rumored to have over 15k people on its waitlist!
Everlane is best characterized for its clean and refined aesthetic, as they offer basics for men and women. From sweaters to sweatpants, this clothing company ensures that each garment is ethically and sustainably made.
Related: Check out our Everlane Clothes Review for a full analysis.
It’s what they call the ‘radical transparency’ movement, as they aim to be as open as possible regarding its manufacturing practices. This includes eliminating any virgin plastics during production while sourcing organic cotton as its main fabric. Honestly, the list goes on and on.
The audience for Everlane keeps growing bigger in every passing year, which is most notably shown through its 1 million following on Instagram. They’re also heavily featured on numerous media outlets, including Refinery29, CNN, and The Cut.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands review without taking a look at its price range. Let’s get started:
- The String Bikini Bottom: $21 (originally priced at $35)
- The Square-Neck Bikini Top: $26 (originally priced at $52)
- The Square-Neck One-Piece: $46 (originally priced $75)
- The V-Neck One-Piece: $75
8. Girlfriend Collective
Sustainability is not a passing trend. In the upsurge of green-chic companies over the years, only a few stand up to the test of accountability. Case in point, the Girlfriend Collective—an eco-conscious brand that practically bear hugs the planet in terms of recycling and zero-waste practices.
Co-founded by husband and wife team Ellie and Quang Dinh, this clothing company aims to be as transparent as possible for ethical shoppers. Most of its efforts include 100% recyclable packaging, post-consumer plastics turned into fabrics and a sparkling Fair Trade certification. We highly suggest taking a look at their sustainability report; it’s basically a college-grade essay.
Related: View our Girlfriend Collection Review for more information.
Since its establishment in 2016, the Girlfriend Collective has skyrocketed in internet fame. They have over 516k followers on Instagram, which is also coupled with several reports of the brand, including PopSugar and New York Magazine.
While the Girlfriend Collective is best known for its athleisure collection, we’ll be focusing on its ethical swimwear line. Here’s to hoping that you’ll snatch a few before hot girl summer.
- The Poolside Bikini Bottom: $38
- The Hermosa Bikini Top: $48
- The Clemente One Piece: $88
If you consider yourself a part-time mermaid but are lacking in fishtails, Ansea is here to provide customers with their water-based needs. Founded by Abigail Lorick, this swimwear brand offers classic designs for women of all shapes and sizes.
It’s relatively easy to feel the vibe of Ansea’s collection, as they lean towards the iconic, Cali-girl aesthetic through its vibrantly colored hues.
From one-piece bathing suits to the versatile bikini top, each garment is made out of sustainable fabrics to ensure conservation and longevity. Ansea uses two primary fabrics: yulex and econyl, which are both known for their small ecological footprint. It’s also worth noting that they offer other products such as wetsuits, dresses, sarongs, and fragrances.
Over the years, Ansea has grown a significant audience online. This is best shown through its appearance in several reputable magazines such as Forbes, Vogue, and WWD.
While it’s already considered one of the Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands out there, they are quite expensive compared to the companies we have covered so far. We’ll include a ballpark of what to expect regarding cost:
- The Reversible Sporty Top: $125
- The Rash Guard: $130
- The Reversible High Waisted Bikini Brief: $145
- The Tie Front One Piece: $250
10. Vitamin A
Nutritious can be delicious, and sustainability can be stylish too. At Vitamin A, customers can cop the latest fashion trends in swimwear in an eco-conscious manner. The clothing company offers a wide variety of one-pieces and bikini sets for women to choose from. It’s refined, timeless, and perfect for yacht parties, that is—when it comes to the company’s core aesthetic.
Founded by Amahlia Stevens in 2000 in the heart of California, Vitamin A prioritizes sustainability and ethical labor within its manufacturing practices. This mainly includes using fabrics like organic cotton, tencel, and the brand’s very own EcoLux knit.
If that wasn’t already enough, Vitamin A upholds its sustainability efforts down to the smallest detail. According to their main page, “every lightbulb has been replaced with LEDs, reducing our electricity demand by as much as 90%.”
Its collection is not just limited to swimwear, as customers can also shop for dresses, jumpsuits, pants, tops, and loungewear. Today, Vitamin A is widely known as a front leader in the Best Sustainable Swimwear lineup. With a following of over 240k on Instagram, their designs have also been spotlighted by numerous media outlets, including The Cut and Self Magazine.
While Vitamin A is commonly branded as one of the Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands to date, how do they fare in price? Let’s take a look at some of the company’s best-selling products for a better estimate of cost.
- The Carmen Bottom: $44 (originally priced at $88)
- The Moss Top: $55 (originally priced at $110)
- The Leah One Piece: $77 (originally priced at $154)
- The Sienna Tank: $115
11. Mara Hoffman
Hailing from the acclaimed Parson School of Design in New York City, Mara Hoffman wasted no time implementing sustainable practices within her collection. It’s easy to get a taste of what this clothing brand has to offer, as they provide a more elegant take on urbanized streetwear. From plaid-clad blazers to summer-ready swimwear, Hoffman shows us that luxury is limitless when it comes to design.
Headquartered in the bustling streets of New York City, Mara Hoffman aims to celebrate diversity and inclusion regarding women’s fashion. Ethical shoppers will also be pleased to know that its collection is comprised of recycled organic fibers such as nylon and polyester. The brand is also partnered with Art Atlas, which is an organization dedicated to uplifting local artisans.
Since 2000, Mara Hoffman’s designs have been featured in countless runways, as noted by Vogue magazine. Other reputable sources, such as InStyle, Forbes, and WWD have also spotlighted this brand’s clothing collection in the past
There’s no doubt that Mara Hoffman deserves a place within the list of Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands in the twentieth century. But do they rank high in terms of affordability versus value? Let’s take a look.
- The Sia Bikini Top: $85 (originally priced at $135)
- The Abigail Bikini Top: $120
- The Extended Jay Bikini Bottom: $150
- The Persephone One Piece: $250
Which Sustainable Swimwear Materials Have The Smallest Impact On The Environment?
In the world of sustainable fashion, there are dozens of eco-friendly materials that are available for designers to use. While some brands keep their patented blends a secret, some are generous enough to provide some insight into its construction.
In this review, we’ll go over some of the most common eco-friendly fabrics on the market, while measuring its ecological footprint as we go along. And don’t worry, we won’t go as far as explaining the chemistry of each knit. For now, let’s focus on the main three: hemp, econyl, and tencel.
- Designed to be lightweight, durable, and mold-resistant
- Uses very little water, requires no harmful substances for cultivation, and is widely renewable
- Known to absorb carbon dioxide when grown
- Stretchy and relatively tough under pressure
- Sourced from old fishing nets and post-consumer waste from the ocean
- Consumes very little water during production while saving dozens of crude oil
Tencel (also known as Lyocell):
- Soft, lightweight, and super versatile when it comes to construction
- Made out of wood pulp from trees (it’s also biodegradable)
- No harmful chemicals are used in the manufacturing process
What Are The Most Resilient Materials For Sustainable Swimwear?
When it comes to swimwear, it’s important for the fabric in question to be stretchy, form-fitting, and flexible for outdoor activity. Arguably, the materials we covered in the last segment are three of the most durable fabrics on the market. But of course, it’s only a sample from the dozens of sustainable materials out there.
Consider this a part two regarding the sustainable material lineup. We’ll cover three more fabrics that are known for their durable qualities. Psst, there’s a chance that you’ve already familiar with them from the sustainable swimwear brands we covered so far.
- Known to be great for sensitive skin
- Uses less water and energy during manufacturing (also releases fewer greenhouse gases)
- Very strong and resilient due to its weaving process
- Creates 75% less of carbon dioxide emissions compared to virgin polyester, as per Keisei Magazine
- Holds the same durability and strength as ‘regular’ polyester (reportedly wrinkle-resistant)
- Cuts down waste accumulated in landfills by reusing virgin nylon
- Uses less water and fossil fuels. It’s sourced through old fishing nets
Can You Recycle Sustainable Swimwear?
While it’s not advised that people throw their old bathing suits away, sustainable swimwear is a little more forgivable thanks to its construction. Designs that use biodegradable or recycled materials are less keen to make a big ecological footprint—as, you guessed it, can be reused to make something different. This is mostly notably towards fabrics like econyl, hemp, and second-use polyesters.
You should also know that there are several ways to creatively upcycle your old bikini set. DIY-ers recommend using it as a scrap fabric to make hair elastics or even make a patchwork tote bag. If anything, it’s best to donate them to your local thrift store to help minimize waste.
How We Chose the Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands
Before choosing any brand, we scour the web and all the biggest e-tailers to ensure we know all the available options on the market. We look at customer reviews, star ratings, brand ethos, processes, materials, accessibility, and so much more. We weigh the pros and cons, so you don’t have to, helping you make informed shopping decisions.
Looking for other top brands? Check out these curated lists below: