Ready to shape up your summer wardrobe with some sustainable swimwear? These Australian brands are opting for ethical production and sustainable fabrics such as recycled nylon to create their quality swimmers. Whether you’re looking for a one-piece, bikini, rashie, board shorts or even surfwear, these brands have your sustainable swimwear covered.
Why recycled fabrics?
Because swimwear requires stretch and quick dry qualities, synthetic fabrics have historically been the go-to for these garments. As awareness around plastic pollution and especially shedding of microfibres from synthetic fabrics has increased, brands have been looking to more sustainable fabrics for their swimwear. We’ve since seen the creation of recycled nylon and polyester, and fabric manufacturers are going as far as salvaging ocean waste to repurpose into these recycled fabrics. It’s a great solution for reducing waste and the resources required for otherwise virgin fabrics. However, it’s worth nothing that it’s not a perfect solution as far as fashion waste goes, but it’s a start and one of the best options we have in the industry so far. You can help reduce the impact of your swimwear even further by washing your garments in a microfibre wash bag and taking good care of them to extend their life.
What do you get when you cross one of Australia’s best surfing towns with a slow-living and sustainable mindset? Sustainable surfwear of course. Salt Gypsy makes women’s surfwear from 100% regenerated nylon yarn called ECONYL® which is a long-lasting, durable recycled nylon lycra that is responsibly manufactured here in Australia. All of its practical pieces are ethically made on the Gold Coast.
Sun safety and style – that was the focus of the Brisbane-based designer who started the sustainable swimwear label Shade Swim. After struggling to find a fashionable one-piece that was sun safe, Alyshia Morris decided she would make one herself. The Shade Swim garments are ethically made in Australia and the fabrics feature at least 80% recycled nylon.
For the Dreamers uses fashion as a vehicle to turn the tide and change the conversation around fashion consumption and social issues. The brand’s luxury swimwear is made from regenerated nylon Econyl® and includes reversible and adjustable pieces so you can get more out of each piece. For the Dreamers donates 5% of every purchase to Water is Life – an organisation that delivers safe drinking water to people around the world.
Got buns, hon? Then Le Buns has you covered. The brand’s swim collection is produced with the use of reconstructed recycled fibres such as discarded fishing nets, saving them from otherwise polluting oceans and endangering wildlife. So you can have a little happy dance while you’re swimming in the ocean knowing you’ve saved a few animals with your swimmers. Le Buns says it has complete transparency in its supply chain and the team visits factories often to ensure compliancy with safe working conditions and fair pay.
Made with sun protection in mind, Bombshell Bay makes rashies in short and long sleeves as well as your classic swimwear in one- and two-piece styles. The patterns are a range of glorious greenery but the best part about them is the lycra they’re made from – it’s all recycled plastic! Design your own swimwear or pick and mix your pair on the site.
Shapes in the Sand’s swimwear is range of bikinis and one pieces in nature-inspired designs. As an ‘eco conscious’ swimwear label, Shapes in the Sand uses regenerated fabrics from recycled materials in its swimwear which is all handmade in Australia. The brand teams up with not-for-profit organisations and individuals to help create positive change for the environment and its inhabitants – include helping fund organised beach clean ups for our oceans as well as care facilities for Australian native wildlife.
Nobody puts these babies in the corner. This luxury Australian swimwear label out of Melbourne is 100% ethically produced right here in Australia at the Baaby studio. The bathing suits – which are a classic range of retro one- and two-pieces – are made from the finest Italian fabrics, woven from recycled fibres. It’s your go-to for a classic Baywatch one-piece in a pretty pastel.
Camp Cove Swim launched in October 2013 by Katherine Hampton, with the first collection being completely sewn by the designer’s mum. The 70s-inspired swimwear label has since grown but is still made locally, with the collection including pretty one-pieces, singles, rashies and board shorts. Camp Cove’s swimwear is ethically made in NSW, with the fabric printing happening in Sydney and the production in Jervis Bay.
Sydney-based brand Charlie Mae creates high quality sustainable swimwear, defined by flattering cuts and a love of comfort. For its eco-friendly swimwear, the brand uses Vita PL – a revolutionary recycled fabric made from recycled fishing nets and ocean waste. Charlie Mae swimwear is ethically made in Hong Kong where the brand says they work with a small factory and staff are paid over award wage. The brand also supports causes close to its team’s hearts – with 5% of each sale going to animal welfare charities.
Known for its unique, printed and ethically made underwear, NZ’s Thunderpants has a cool collection of swimwear too. The brand sticks with its trademark design for the bottoms and has a nice swim shirt and dress as well. Thunderpants is committed to ethical and sustainable production and explains all of its processes and accreditations in depth on its website.
Baiia has created the ‘world’s first’ three piece swimsuit that is adjustable to suit your shape. The brand uses quality recycled synthetic fabric constructed in Italy from post-consumer waste, using a process that takes 90% less water to create than virgin polyester. Baiia is committed to paying well above the minimum wage to its employees in China and offers other benefits like paid sick leave, annual leave and more. Find out more here.
New Zealand-based brand Nisa is helping refugee women from the bottom up. The brand’s products are lovingly sewn by women from a refugee background in its sunny studio in Wellington, New Zealand, with a mission to provide staff with meaningful and interesting paid work, while making kick-ass underwear, basics and swimwear. Nisa’s swimwear range includes one-pieces and seperates made from ECONYL, a regenerated nylon fibre.