Want to find a way to help solve the plastic problem effecting the world's oceans? Start with buying sustainable swimwear. By swapping synthetics for ethical options, you could help reduce the release of micro-plastics that damage marine life when they enter the food chain. Although there are few natural substitutes to stretchable materials such as Lycra, a growing number of fashion brands are now investing in eco-friendly alternatives. Read on to discover our favourites.
After seeing so much plastic floating in the Mediterranean sea, sisters Helaina and Chloe Thomas founded Tucca Swim. Tucca Bikinis, swimsuits and hair accessories are made primarily from recycled fabrics and can last up to 3 months longer than normal swimwear. All items are delivered in an eco-conscious manner too, using minimal packaging made from biodegradable materials. To help promote the principles of slow fashion, Tucca Swim offers a small range of styles, with designs inspired by the nature of Mallorca island in the Balearics. Tucca swimwear is also reversible, meaning each purchase is actually two swimsuits for the price of one.
From £88, tuccaswim.co.uk
Activewear-focused British brand Davy J began life by trying to fill a gap in the market for those who wanted swimwear in which they could actually swim. Made entirely in the UK, its new Waste Collection is made using Econyl – an increasingly popular fabric among sustainable brands that is used to replace traditional nylon and created entirely from recycled plastic waste such as used fishing nets and textiles. Davy J estimates that for every 100 swimsuits sold 9kg of waste is recycled - with the added benefit that no raw materials are used – while its partnership with the Healthy Seas Initiative sees volunteers in coastal communities collecting used and ghost fishing nets to feed into the recycling system.
From £95, davyj.org
Another Econyl advocate, Holiday Romance was founded as part of the slow fashion movement with its ethos firmly grounded in sustainable and ethical principles. While every piece of its swimwear is made from Econyl and packaged using recycled materials, Holiday Romance recognises this is not a perfect solution as even recycled plastic fibres damage the oceans. Instead it focuses on longevity through high quality construction and educating consumers in the most sustainable way to care for their swimwear as well as collaborating with influential figures to raise awareness. Its latest collaboration with London-based DJs and presenters Loanne and Jordan Collyer is perfect for long days on the beach club.
From £42, holidayromancestore.com
A newcomer to the swimwear business, Neaco was founded by kitesurfer and scuba diver Zak Johnson with the sole aim of tackling the plastic pollution crisis. Still in its youth, Naeco currently offers two pairs of tailored swim shorts in four colours, with each pair made using an eco-friendly fabric woven with 15 recycled plastic bottles salvaged directly from the ocean. Each pair also comes with a five-year guarantee to help prevent over consumption while the brand also hosts regular beach cleans and donates 5% of its profits to marine charities.
While not strictly just a swimwear brand - it also does a strong line in ready-to-wear and accessories - Outerknown is one of the biggest names in sustainable fashion and was an early proponent of Econyl. Founded by pro surfer Kelly Slater and designer John Moore, Outerknown tackles the dual problems of textile waste and ocean plastic by creating recyclable clothing from abandoned fishing nets made entirely in the USA to stringent ethical guidelines. Its swimwear offering includes colourful board shorts and trunks.
From £66, outerknown.com
Australian swimwear brand Jets has built a cult following for its interesting shapes, pretty prints and focus on fit and construction. Now it is turning its focus to sustainability with the use of two new environmentally-friendly fabrics aimed at reducing ocean plastic waste. The first, Renew Plus, combines 80% Econyl with 20% Lycra Xtra Life, a tougher version of traditional Lycra that promises to retain its shape and fit longer that its standard counterpart as well as being chlorine, heat and sunscreen resistant. The second, Naia, is a fabric made using wood pulp from certified and sustainably managed forests which Jets uses to create its range of beach and resortwear. Jets' sustainable swimsuits are currently available in two patterns and three colour ways while its Mirage resortwear line made with Naia currently comprises a sarong, kaftan and maxi dress so you can relax on the beach club completely guilt free.
From £57, jetsswimwear.co.uk
Two friends came together on a mission to create beautiful, fashionable pieces with a minimal human footprint. Muzungu Sisters uses recycled polyester to reduce waste in line with the brand’s sustainability credentials. Each piece in their collection is handmade and ethically sourced, offering a range of beautiful bikinis and swimsuits.
From £65, Matches Fashion
Mara Hoffman has been championing sustainability since its inception in 2000. The brand is focused on reshaping the way we shop, with a focus on more conscious, sustainable pieces. The sustainability ethos extends across not only the materials used but to the processes and production of each piece to ensure it is producing top-quality, sustainable pieces.
From £145, Net-A-Porter
Fisch is a luxury, sustainable swimwear brand committed to minimising waste. The Italian brand uses regenerated nylon fibre from repurposed fishing nets to create its beautiful, 80's inspired swimwear pieces. The conscious brand has also partnered with Healthy Seas, a company that removes ghost nets from the oceans.
From £90, Net A Porter