Who doesn't love a good beach day? We're all about hitting up the surf, pool, or even just the backyard in the summer, but if we want to keep enjoying the cool summer waters and warm sunny weather, we have to do all we can to keep the blues blue and the planet rotating. One easy way: investing in an eco-friendly swimsuit! If you're going to enjoy nature's bounty, you might as well enjoy it in clothing that doesn't put that nature in harm's way. We rounded up some of our favorite sustainable swimwear brands to help you find a suit you can feel good about this year.
Summersalt prides itself on making eco-friendly suits for every body (yes, two words). The brand took over 1.5 million body measurements from 100,000 women to create its sizing guide based on real bodies. That means you'll get a good fit and a sustainable suit. All Summersalt suits are made of a compressive fabric that comes from products like recycled plastics, old fishing nets, and other things "literally pulled from our oceans." The material offers UPF 50+ protection and is proven to retain its shape even after over 100 hours of wear. The most popular style is the one-shoulder Sidestroke ($95), but don’t sleep on the ultra-flattering Causeway!
As a frequent beachgoer, Philippa Brenninkmeyer felt a strong urge to create something that would help keep her beloved sea free of debris. She started Indigo Swimwear in 2018 with the goal of producing sustainable swimwear that gives back to environmental organizations. The brand's suits are made from a special yarn that recycles old fishing nets and ocean waste, and a portion of each sale supports organizations like Surfrider and the R.O.L.E Foundation—groups committed to keeping beaches clean and safe. The Traveler ($20) is new to the spring line this year and has an all-ages appeal, with a block-cut fit on top and cheeky bottom. PSA: The brand also just launched kids suits.
"As a swimwear brand we're creating garments, in essence, to experience nature in," Galamaar's site says. "Causing undue harm in the process seems, well...wrong." That sums up Galamaar's goal: do no harm while creating a great product. Their no-harm goal extends both to the environment and the people making the products. All suits are made with recycled nylon fabric that uses fishing nets pulled from the ocean, and every piece of the products is locally made in a small factory in LA. The site's got a wide range of tops and bottoms to mix and match, plus plenty of stylish one-piece suits. We love this Simone Retro Top ($158) with High Bottoms ($124) in a vibrant daisy print.
Carve Designs began over 15 years ago with one goal: to create apparel for real women with real bodies who have a real passion for adventure. With a dedication to ethical production practices, Carve is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which is the leading alliance for sustainability in the fashion industry. If you like brands that give back, you'll be happy to know Carve also collaborates with the Send It Foundation to send young adult cancer survivors on surf trips. It also works with SheJumps, a group that motivates women and girls to get outside. There are tons of swim and surf options to pick from. The one-piece Alana ($98) is great for people who want a stylish, functional suit with plenty of coverage. The long-sleeved Kalani Sunshirt ($56) keeps the transition from sand-to-sea seamless and offers a bit of extra protection from the sun.
Ris-k is focused on limiting waste, period. The brand uses small-batch production to prevent unsold suits from ending up in landfills, and it opts for digital printing instead of dyeing to limit water, ink, and fabric waste. The brand also uses biodegradable packaging made from chemically recycled materials to give back even more to the planet.There are tons of super-stylish two-piece and one-piece options at pretty affordable prices—you can get tops and bottoms for around $40 each and one-piece suits for around $60. We like the Starboard ($60), which is technically a one-piece suit but has a bikini feel thanks to an asymmetrical cut-out on one side.
BOLD Swim's suits use soft, environmentally friendly fabric manufactured and sourced from Brazil, but that's not where its sustainability efforts end. Leftover material and scraps are donated to local artisans who, in turn, are able to establish businesses of their own by making household goods. The suits are minimal but, well, bold, with simple designs and vivid colors. The bright-orange Humming Bird ($225) one-piece has high-waisted bottoms and a deep-plunge top that's sure to flatter anyone.
As Hawaii's first sustainable, ethical swimwear brand, Manakai Swimwear is here to break barriers. The suits are made with techno-fabric from regenerated nylon, which reduces crude oil use and pollution, requires less energy and water, and recovers nylon waste around the world. Beyond the suit, Manakai focuses on ethical production in US factories where workers make livable wages and have quality working conditions. That's all awesome, obviously, but one of the coolest things of Manakai is that you can contact the staff and they'll talk you through the process of finding a suit that best fits your body and lifestyle! We're absolutely in love with the She’s Solid 2020 Attar Bottoms ($78)—they've got amazing coverage but plenty of flair.
United By Blue
United By Blue is a certified B-corporation focused on ending ocean pollution. Along with regular community cleanups to remove trash from oceans and waterways (to date, the corporation has cleared two million pounds of trash!), United Blue produces sustainable products aimed at reducing waste—things like reusable coffee mugs, take-it-with-you utensil kits, and more. They also have a nice selection of eco-chic apparel that lets you spread the group's message. When summer hits, there's a selection of swimwear well suited to an adventurous day on the beach, like these men's Recycled Performance Board Shorts ($68).