Whether you need a new one-piece that fits just right, or you’re looking for a fashion bikini for your 2020 collection, there’s something on this list for you. You won’t even believe they’re eco. We’ve made sure to put together the most complete list of ethical swimwear you can buy on the web.
All the brands we’ve selected, from the handmade bikinis to inspiring feminist-made active swimsuits, are available to buy and will ship to the UK and the US. They’ll fit perfectly with your bamboo sunglasses and vegan sandals. So, don’t forget your cruelty free sunscreen, and let’s go to the beach!
Thief & Bandit – Made from Discarded crabs and shrimp cells
Thief & Bandit’s original swimwear designs are made with Chitosan, a new eco-friendly swimwear fabric made from natural biomass: discarded crab and shrimp shells. It’s currently the only anti-bacterial fabric certified by the EPA.
Each swimwear piece is made to order and sewn by hand in their studio in Canada. They also print it using a small local printshop, ensuring a fully ethical production process.
Speedo – 100% Recycled Swimwear
When you think of ethical Australian swimwear, do you picture sleek Speedo swimwear or slouchy hand-knitted hemp? We love how this Powerflex Eco Mesh One Piece Swimsuit blows that old stereotype out of the window!
The swimwear is made of econyl (recycled nylon from ocean waste like discarded fishing nets) and lycra Xtra life spandex (22%). It has a zip front closure
Vitamin A – Sustainability is sexy
Designer and founder Amahlia Stevens founded Vitamin A in 2000 with the idea that sexy meant feeling healthy and confident. Ecolux is the jersey they developed with Repreve, a company specialising in giving a second life plastic bottles. Ecolux however is not made of plastic bottles (That would be polyester.) but reclaimed nylon fiber waste.
Vitamin A is based in Southern California where looking good is of uttermost importance. They claim the fit to be hip-slimming and but-boosting.
They have a very large range of cuts to chose from: One-piece swimsuit, high Brazilian bikini and even corset and hipster bikini. If you don’t know what these last 2 are, simply have a look on the amazon shop. A picture speaks more than a thousand words.
Mondello – Reclaimed from Fast Fashion
Mondello is a small ethical brand specialising in sustainable lingerie and trying to source everything locally (in Portugal). Their swimsuits are made from Italian knit lycra jersey fabric upcycled from fast fashion industry offcuts.
They have high waist and low rise designs. Starting at 18£ it’s the most affordable option in our list.
Zogg – Made from Recycled Plastic Gathered in the Ocean
This is our favourite swimsuit for modest fun, whether you’re taking the kids to the swimming pool or just don’t feel bikini-ready this year. Not only is it made from materials recovered from our oceans like fishing nets, but it also has a tummy control panel and foam cup support.
Batoco – A more affordable option
Batoco makes sure their swimwear is both affordable and ethical, offering the best of both worlds. They are manufacturing everything in China, but only in smaller batches. They audit factories and make sure they follow the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) code of conduct.
They don’t only produce ethical swimwear, but also environmentally friendly ones. They use ecological digital prints, all products are made from recycled plastic and they offset the carbon footprint generated when importing the goods to the UK.
We must say we are fan of the Instagram claim: We’re rubbish. Literally
GymToSwim – The Best to Go Swimming
Meet Sorphea, the best active ethical swimwear one-piece named after an inspirational Cambodian female entrepreneur, rice and cassava farmer. She’s PETA-approved and made with recycled ocean plastic gathered from around the UK’s shores. This one’s for you, Sorphea!
RubyMoon is one of the most amazing sustainable swimwear brands. It’s a not-for-profit and gives 100% of net profits as microloans to business women across 14 developing countries. They produce 42% less carbon emissions than its most its competitors.
Patagonia – The best fair trade certified swimwear
Patagonia has along history pioneering ethical and sustainable fashion. Their swimwear is the only fair trade certified in our list.
But fair trade is not enough for Patagonia, most material (nylon/spandex) is recycled.
Everything is made for a perfect fit:
- Their nanogrip fabric allows for less scratching skin while keeping it from slipping when wet.
- The soft cups are removable
- The back straps are thick and strong (with some original designs)
- This bikini can fit all sizes from XXS to XXL
Bikinibean – Handmade and eco-friendly dye
Like pineapple on pizza, you’ll love or hate this Hawaiian red bikini top. Too risque or just right for your girls getaway? You decide. No one can deny that 100% recycled materials and eco-friendly dye are completely sexy.
Mia Luna Designs – Made in Italy from used plastic bottles
The Sun Salutation bikini designed by Mia Luna Designs is perfect for a spot of yoga on the beach, or just pairing with cut-off jeans. Made for women with 100% recycled plastic bottle fabric. Namaste.
Mangia – Best for Surfing
Originally made for surfing, Mangia tested the bikini in the waves. Run, cycle, play volleyball, build sandcastles… whatever holiday life throws at you, this active, regenerated nylon swimwear will keep up! You even help cleaning the sea as most of this regenerated plastic comes from fishnets.
Designed and made in Italy, it’s available in black, navy blue or electric blue.
Deakin & Blue – Look good and feel great
This ethical swimwear brand is produced in a small London factory as well as Oeko-tex certified suppliers.
They make sure the packaging is 100% reusable and recyclable… something that easily gets forgotten. Their care for the environment goes that far that even their paper is soja based and acid-free FSC certified.
But being ethical and eco-friendly is not enough for Deakin & Blue. All their swimpieces come with a CoppaFeel! #BraHijack labels to remind women to get checked for breast cancer.
But what about their swimsuit? Well, Deakin Blue wants their pieces to feel transformational. Their founder Rosie Cook wanted to avoid fear of being judged coming in the way of women wanting to swim.
They come in three bust sizes (Hepburn, Monroe & Hendricks), up to an 18-20. They have neck swimsuit, high waister bikinis and even long sleeve swimsuit. Everything to make sure you look great and feel even better in your swimsuit.
Davy J – Aiming a Circular Economy
“Designed to survive a dive pull off a cliff jum or handle a waterfall”
Pretty bold claim for this sustainable brand, but clear objective . You can wear your swimsuit without worries. Their waste collection is made of recycled nyon yarn (econyl). It will last very long, but when you eventually reach “very long”, you’ll be able to send your suit back to Davy J, you’ll get 20% off your next purchase and your swimsuit will be recycled and transformed into a new… swimsuit (hence the circular economy).
The eye catching swimsuit has a beautiful cross-back design and an original cut-out silhouette that will get you noticed.
Primark – Handmade in the UK
This looks like a bikini you’d pick up in Primark or Topshop, not a handmade bikini crafted with eco-friendly swimwear fabric! Shout-out to Karen at FabBikini for sewing these herself in Leicestershire. Support UK crafts!
Mara Hoffman’s Luxury Sustainable Swimsuits
Whoo, go Mara! At first glance and even second glance, you wouldn’t know that these luxury swimsuits were produced ethically… but they are! Mara’s leading the way to an ethical future for women where using eco-friendly fabrics (specifically econyl) is standard and doesn’t even need to be advertised. Mara, you’re an inspiration.
Zoggs – A lifetime warranty
Zoggs’ ethical swimwear collection Ecolast is made from recycled fishing nets. Ecolast+ is made using fibre produced from recycled plastic bottles and consumer waste.
They claim it is chlorine proof and to prove it, they offer a lifetime guarantee if it wears out… As we always say, not buying (refuse) is even better than buying eco-friendly. So if your Zoggs’ swimsuit lasts longer than others and avoids to have to buy a new suit every year, that’s a pretty good selling point. Slow fashion rules!
If you live in the UK, you’ll have a 30 day returns guarantee Free with Royal Mail.
A few more points to note:
- You’ll find a wide range of colours and designs
- It is available in UK women’s size 10-26 (34”-50”)
- It provides extra support around the belly to show a flatter tummy when at the pool
- The cups are made of foam
Seafolly’s Fabulously Floral Eco-Friendly Bikini Top
Seafolly’s Water Garden Bandeau bikini top is very summery and British, made with 68% recycled nylon. If you want something comfortable but still flattering, you should check this one out.
Finisterre – 17th centry naturalist design
UK based Finisterre has an extremely transparent production process. You’ll find on their website a list of their factories with descriptions and pictures of each of them. The women’s swimwear for example is made in Portugal (although based on the same website, it seems to be pending an internal audit…).
They are an all-around ethical fashion brand, producing not only swimwear, but all types of clothing. They focus on renewable and recyclable textiles and biodegradable natural fibres and finishes. The swimsuits however are made of econyl (recycled plastic like nylon waste or carpet offcuts). Nobody would want to have a swimwear in cotton weighing 5 times as much as soon as it’s wet!
Even their packaging has been thought in an environmentally friendly way.
Their bags are water soluble, breaking down into non-toxic biomass in soil and see. Even the kimbles are not in plastic (why use plastic when you can use an elegant string?).
Last but not least, the mailbags are made from unbleached kraft pulp, sourced from renewable FSC/PEFC compliant paper mills.
An example of companies not only thinking about the visible part of the eco-iceberg but about the complete process from manufacturing to shipping.
But it’s not only about sustainability and ethical practice, isn’t it? You want to look nice on the beach.
Finisterre worked with the Natural History Museum selecting illustrations from the work of pioneering 17th century naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian. Speak about unique designs!
A few more details about the bikini itself:
- It is reversible! Yes, you get 2 swimsuits for the price of one. Each side has a different print.
- The back straps are adjustable
- It’s machine washable
Ode & Rae – Ethical Thongs
Ode & Rae is manufacturing in Bali and claim to offer at least twice the minimal wage to their Balinese employees. They even offer free medical insurance to both the employee and its close family (spouses and children).
As many others in our list, the swimsuits are made of Econyl. A few noteworthy points:
- They offer many mid thong cuts
- Many models have adjustable side straps
- Some scoop neck tops also have adjustable straps.
- You can buy the top or bottom separately
Adidas – Perfect if you like classics
Adidas is a brand that needs to be in the top when you speak about good active sportswear. It’s often synonym with quality. This 2-pieces swimwear is made mostly of econyl and has a classic design.
For the rest of your summer holiday wardrobe, take a look at…
All products ship to the UK, most of them for free!