Ready to shape up your summer wardrobe with some sustainable swimmers? These Australian brands are opting for ethical production and sustainable fabrics such as recycled nylon to create their quality swimwear. 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.
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 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.
Designed by an ex-firefighter and lifeguard from Bondi, along with a swimwear designer, Sunrise at Bondi is firmly about utility in design and sun protection. Choose from a range of bikinis, rashies, and compression leggings, all ethically made here in Australia.
Got buns, hon? Then LE BUNS has you covered. Its 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.
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.
Melbourne’s Obus Clothing has dropped some sweet swimwear this season too. All of its swimwear is ethically manufactured in Sydney using a blend of upcycled polyester and lycra to ensure extra longevity in the life of the elastine so your swimwear will continue to fit and flatter for many seasons despite contact with chlorinated or salt water.
It sounds cute because it is cute. Bimby and Roy makes versatile undergarments in lovely prints for your butt and bosom. That’s right, none of this ‘swimwear only’ or ‘intimates only’ BS… these bottoms and bralettes can be worn from the bed, to the beach, to the bar (the latter option with clothes on over the top, I would hope). It’s a one-size-fits-all-occasions type of staple, and we like-y.
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.
Fancy your bathers up-cycled? Inspired by the mass amount of textile waste produced by the fashion industry, Re-Swim Club makes all of its swimwear entirely from offcuts, remnants, surplus, dead stock, vintage fabric and recycled fabrics. They are all ethically produced in Adelaide, and look like the saucy goods you could imagine your mum would have worn in the late 70s. Can I get a hell-yeah?
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.
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 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.
Brisbane’s NICO Underwear has a sweet range of swimwear. The brand opts for a small range of one and two pieces in staple colours and modest designs with subtle details. The pieces are cut from premium Italian recycled nylon/lycra, and chlorine resistant. They’re all ethically made here in Australia.
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.