Many of us live in our swimwear year-round. We paddle great distances in our suits and find joy in discovering the one perfect style that hugs our curves without slipping. Unfortunately, there's a blatant problem within the industry that produces these suits we love: making them isn't eco-friendly. Most swimsuit material is petroleum-based which is bad for the environment. Swimsuits' harsh dyes and chemical treatments are equally toxic for your skin. To fix that problem, simply do your homework as a responsible consumer and avoid these harmful products. Below are six brands that will keep both you and the environment happy and safe. —Shari Coble
From material that's made of post consumer recycled plastic bottles and recycled fishing nets, to hangtags crafted from recycled post consumer cotton, and paper goods (like catalogs and postcards) coming from 100% recycled paper, Odina is passionate about minimizing their footprint while putting out stylish swimsuits for the active female. Tested and approved by water women and active females, Odina strives for function, fit, and fashion, with the ongoing commitment to run a sustainable business, and promote respect for each other—as well as the planet. The swimwear brand also supports earth-loving charities like Reef Check Foundation, eXXpedition, and Ocean Girl Project.
Surfer, model, and designer Hanalei Reponty was born a water woman and takes her passion for the ocean serious; her stunning collection of wetsuits and bikinis is designed with 100% Japanese limestone neoprene (versus regular petroleum-based neoprene), which is a more eco-friendly option that the norm. Her activewear too is made with the environment in-mind, as all pieces are crafted from luxurious Italian fabric that's completely recycled. Through Abysse, Reponty also raises awareness and funds for various environmental issues by partnering with charities and philanthropic efforts like Sirens for the Sea, Project Reef, The Seven Seas, and Talkin' Trash.
Inspired by the Kiwi lifestyle, Koru (meaning 'spiral' in Maori) is eco-responsible in their production practices and uses only sustainable fabrics to make their fun styles. The fabric Koru uses is made from discarded fish nets found in the ocean, which are recycled to create yarn that's then used to make the sustainable material. The trio of bikini brand owners go the distance to make sure that hangtags are made from only recycled paper, and that their packaging is compostable, crafted from plants. Oh, and they're also partnered with 1% for the Planet and a partner of Healthy Seas, so every swimsuit purchased is giving back to the earth.
Two Maui women and ocean lovers came together to create an edgy and wild swimwear brand to empower females while celebrating the spirit of the ocean. Utilizing recycled nylon in each of their designs, Manakai Swimwear strives to promote change within the high-end swimwear industry by promoting more sustainable practices and the utilization of eco-friendly materials, as most swimwear is created with petroleum-based polyester. The recycled nylon in Manakai designs offer UV50+ protection, chlorine-resistance, and shape retention, proving that quality doesn't have to be surrendered when doing good for the environment.
The Southern California brand built by SoCal native, Amahlia Stevens, utilizes recycled fabrics exclusive to her swimsuit company, Vitamin A, and produced locally in her home state. The brand's exclusive EcoLux—a superfine jersey swim fabric, made of recycled nylon fiber—and LYCRA XTRA LIFE®—designed to extend the longevity of each swimsuit beyond that of regular spandex products—help reduce existing pollution as well as the creation of further pollution. Vitamin A's designs are also manufactured in like-minded factories that are doing their part to conserve both water and energy usage. And, the company gives back too, by donating a percentage of its profits to environmental organizations.
Elle Evans Swimwear
Australian brand Elle Evans Swimwear has unique designs, on top of a different mindset: the company is striving to implement a take back program in an attempt to be responsible for the entire life cycle of each of their products, so that they aren't contributing to pollution or additional waste. Whew! Not impressed? Elle Evans Swimwear uses only post consumer waste fabrics (which is material discarded by other companies that would otherwise end up in landfills) or recycled lycra, which uses up to 80% less energy in production than that of new, 'virgin' lycra.
The brand also has awesome eco-friendly activewear—as well as a kids line—so your minis can sport smart fashions, too.