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Where can I buy sustainable swimwear? 7 of the best brands for women

Buy sustainable for your next summer holiday
Buy sustainable for your next summer holiday   -   Copyright  Canva
By Rosie Frost  & Shannon McDonagh

One of the most exciting parts of holiday planning is, arguably, choosing the right swimwear to accompany you.

Whether you're a swimming pool sunbather or a coastal surfer, treating yourself to some gorgeous bikinis or swimsuits can be a fun treat.

But often the choices we make with our purchases can be harmful to the environment.

Lots of leading brands make their garments out of petroleum oil-based synthetic materials which take up natural resources and are difficult to dispose of.

Heading into the water wearing swimwear made from these materials contributes to microplastic pollution in the ocean, too.

It doesn't have to be a difficult choice to make - many brands are innovating to create swimwear that isn't harmful to our oceans. A lot of single-use plastic waste can be turned into recycled fibres that can be woven into fabrics with qualities perfect for swimwear.

We're in no way endorsing the practice of "fast fashion", either. These high-quality fabrics are long-lasting and create timeless looks that will last well into the next season and beyond. A perfect example of buying less and using for longer.

Here are seven brands using sustainable fabrics to put their own twist on swimwear.

For innovative luxury: Stay Wild

Stay Wild is a swimwear brand that has committed to both preventing further pollution and also finding a solution to help remove the 14 million tonnes of plastic that end up in the ocean each year.

Selfridges previously welcomed them to the Bright New Things collective of sustainable brands, as the first swimwear company represented.

Its bikinis and one-pieces use Econyl®, a regenerated nylon created from plastic waste found in oceans and landfill.

Made to last, the material is durable and high quality. Stay Wild also stocks the GuppyFriend bag on its website - which captures the micro-plastic shed from synthetic fibres when washed.

They are also at the helm of The Circularity Project, where they pledge to take on any disposed of swimwear you've bought from any other brand. It can even be broken or worn down.

Stay Wild's capsule collection, designed by founders Natalie Glaze and Zanna van Dijk, includes premium pieces such as The Odyssey one-piece for £170 (€199)and the Tula bikini top and bottoms at £50 (€58) apiece.

For affordable personality: Monki

Good materials are at the core of Monki's commitment to sustainability. Assortments of eco-friendly swimsuits and bikinis come at some of the most affordable prices on this list.

Alongside promises of 100 per cent sustainable cotton, the brand's swimwear line is made from recycled polyamides and polyester sourced from PET bottles and waste fibres.

Monki is working toward using only durable recycled materials for all of its clothes in 2030 and the materials chosen for this collection indicate its commitment to this promise.

The collection has a retro flare with frills, high-waisted bikini bottoms and bold patterns.

This floral pairing can be purchased in a number of styles, from sporty to high-waisted. A complete outfit should set you back no further than £25 (€30).

For nostalgic beachwear: Lilliput & Felix

London based brand Lilliput & Felix creates sustainable pieces with a romantic sense of nostalgia in its designs.

Using vintage shapes, its swimwear seeks to appeal to all body types as it features ties that can be used to adjust pieces for a unique fit.

The brand is committed to using fabrics that are recycled or recyclable from local suppliers.

Like many of the brands on this list, Lilliput & Felix sources most of the recycled material for its fabrics from ocean waste, with off-cuts being donated to schools and charities.

They don't include paperwork in your delivery unless absolutely necessary and produce stock based on pre-orders to not waste materials.

Many of the bikinis and one pieces in the collection have matching cover up items available, allowing you to coordinate on and off the beach.

The Anastasia Ruffle Bikini can also be paired with a hair wrap, dress, skirt and trousers among other items. You can find the whole look here for £210 (€245).

For 100 per cent recycled: Tide and Seek

PET plastic bottles are a common choice for packaging soft drinks with around 1,000,000 bought around the world each minute.

Whilst these are widely recycled, very little of the material goes back into the production of bottles and many end up in landfill.

Tide and Seek uses REPREVE fabrics to make its swimwear, a polyester fibre that is usually 100 per cent made from recycled PET bottles.

As well as this, REPREVE conserves both water and energy throughout the production process, in order to keep greenhouse gas emissions as low as possible.

The fabric is chlorine resistant and has a sun protection of factor 50, making it perfect for swimwear.

Tide and Seek's one piece bathing suits are designed with activity in mind, so will stay put throughout any surf or swim.

With colourful prints and unique flourishes, the Tropic Rave swimsuit (€89.95) and the Sea Sparkle Bikini (€41.95) are equally suited to lounging around the pool with a cocktail in hand.

For every body shape: Deakin and Blue

Yet another brand using ECONYL®, the fabric made from post-consumer plastic waste, is Deakin and Blue. No body type is left ignored with its sculptable, fully-customisable ranges that can be purchased up to a UK size 24.

Handmade in a small factory in London, the brand prides itself on its appreciation for workers craftsmanship, aiming to have a positive social and ethical impact, alongside sustainability goals.

Each piece comes packaged in 100 per cent reusable or recyclable materials, using tissue that is acid-free FSC® certified and printed with soy-based ink.

Outside of its own manufacturing practices, Deakin and Blue regularly donates a portion of its profits to marine conservation and beach cleanup charities.

Founder, Rosie Cook, founded the brand to be both environmentally conscious but also to offer a stylish and substantial alternative for women who wanted functional swimwear.

Deakin and Blue claim its pieces are "transformational" and feature different cuts for a range of cup sizes from AA-HH. We love the Swimcrop Bikini set in the style Monroe, which retails for €140.

For empowering other women: Ruby Moon

Ruby Moon's philosophy is deeply oriented in the circle of sustainability - from applying environmentally friendly fabric dyes to advocating for zero-waste manufacturing.

The brand describes itself as "activewear for activists", and the proof is in the pudding. Ruby Moon invest 100 per cent of its profits into micro-loans for aspiring businesswomen.

Over 1200 people have been helped since its creation in 2010.

This is combined with a return scheme for the re-use of its fabrics to reduce costs so that more profit can be invested in schemes that encourage female empowerment. Sounds good to us.

Once the money from these investments is returned it goes straight back into investing in starting the circular production cycle again.

Ruby Moon use ECONYL® fabrics for its GymToSwim® range and have certified that its products generate 42 per cent less carbon emissions in comparison to similar products.

From swim to yoga, the Vanna Swim to Gym Crop Top (€83) offers support for low impact sports alongside saltwater and chlorine resistance and can be paired with bottoms in a wide selection of styles.

For energised sporty types: League Collective

League Collective's founder, Lily Richardson, founded the brand in an attempt to create hi-tech, multipurpose sportswear that doesn't sacrifice sustainability.

Pieces ranging from leggings to multipurpose swimsuits are made from Green Soul Recycled fabrics' high performance range, the non-recycled equivalent of which is used for technical cycling equipment.

Green Soul offers three recycled options: post-consumer polyester yarn, sustainable nylon from industrial wastage, and partially recycled elastane from industrial processes.

These options allow League Collective to choose fabrics for a wide range of sportswear, with appropriate moisture-wicking or abrasion resistant properties.

The One-Piece (£95/€111) offered as part of this collection is ideal, not only for swimming but, for dance or hot yoga with its wide shoulder straps for increased support. The polyamide is quick to dry too, giving high performance in and out of the water.