Recent interest in the impact of single use plastics on marine life has drawn significant attention to just how much of this pollution ends up in the ocean. Greenpeace estimate that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic from bottles and bags to more minuscule and pervasive micro beads end up in the ocean each year. Much of this waste can be turned into recycled fibres that can be woven into fabrics with qualities perfect for swimwear. These high quality fabrics are long lasting prompting designers to look to classic styles for inspiration creating timeless styles that will last well into next season and beyond. Here are 7 sustainable brands using these recycled fabrics to put their own twist on swimwear.
Stay Wild is a swimwear brand that have committed to both preventing further plastic pollution and also finding a solution to help remove the 14 million tonnes of plastic that end up in the ocean each year. Recently, Selfridges welcomed Stay Wild to the Bright New Things collective of sustainable brands, as the only swimwear brand represented. Their 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 stock the GuppyFriend bag on its website - which captures the micro-plastic shed from synthetic fibres when washed.
The Nomad Bikini is a part of Stay Wild's capsule collection, designed by founders Natalie Glaze and Zanna van Dijk to be both fashionable and functional.
Encouraging a process Monki calls the Lazy Loop, good materials are at the core of the brand's commitment to sustainability. Alongside promises of 100% 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 their commitment to this promise. The collection has a retro flare with frills, high-waisted bikini bottoms and bold patterns.
The deep back swimsuit comes in array of different bold patterns and is made from 80% recycled polyamide.
Lilliput & Felix
London based brand Lilliput & Felix create sustainable pieces with a romantic sense of nostalgia in their design. Using vintage shapes, their 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 source most of the recycled material for their fabrics from ocean waste, with off-cuts being donated to schools and charities.
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.
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 recycled 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 polyster fibre that is usually 100% made from recycled PET bottles. As well as this, REPREVE conserve 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 its colourful prints and unique flourishes, the Palm Shimmer One Piece is equally suited to lounging around the pool with a cocktail in hand!
Deakin and Blue
Yet another brand using ECONYL®, the fabric made from post consumer plastic waste, is Deakin and Blue. Handmade in a small factory in London, the brand pride themselves on their appreciation for workers craftsmanship, aiming to have a positive social and ethical impact, alongside sustainability goals. Each piece comes packaged in 100% 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.
Ruby Moon's approach to sustainability follows the path of a circular economy. From cleaning the oceans to encouraging slow fashion, this circle of sustainability follows uses environmentally friendly dying and adopts a zero waste approach to manufacturing. This is combined with a return scheme for the re-use of their fabrics to reduce costs, so that 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 their sustainable manufacturing processes - starting the cycle again.
Ruby Moon use ECONYL® fabrics for their GymToSwim® range and have certified that its products generate 42% less carbon emissions in comparison to similar products.
From swim to yoga, the Vanna Multi Sports Crop Top offers support for low impact sports alongside saltwater and chlorine resistance and can be paired with bottoms in a wide selection of styles.
League Collective's founder, Lily Richardson, created the brand in an attempt to combine technical performance, essential to long lasting sportswear, with recycled materials. 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 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 dry too, offering high performance in and out of the water.