Sustainable Swimwear: Brand Guide to Ethical Beach Fashion

Ethical Beach Fashion: Brands Making Waves in Sustainable Swimwear

By Tess DiNapoli

When you’re lost in a sea of nylon and polyester, the idea of an economically friendly swimsuit that benefits the environment and gives you the silhouette you desire may not cross your mind. However, it’s worth giving sustainable swimsuits a second look.

Did you know you can make a huge statement in the world of swimwear fashion and be environmentally friendly at the same time? It’s the best of both worlds; you can look amazing while knowing you’re wearing sustainable (and fashionable) swimwear at the same time.

Here, you’ll learn what sustainable swimwear is, what it’s made of, why it’s worth the investment, and the best brands making all the waves in earth-friendly summer swimming suits and accessories. Ethical beach fashion: it’s a thing, and here are the brands making waves in sustainable swimwear today. Some sustainable swimming suit pieces even have a built-in SPF. How sweet is that?

What’s Sustainable Swimwear?

Sustainable swimwear, simply explained, is swimwear that is made of either natural materials or recycled materials — or both.

The goal that all sustainable swimwear brands have is to make the ocean a safer and cleaner place by lessening their carbon footprint and using materials that don’t heavily impact the earth’s already depleting resources. This means getting creative in what goes into their swimwear, from fishing nets to landfill plastics to scrap fabrics and creating pieces that look and feel amazing.

What’s Sustainable Swimwear Made of?

Believe it or not, swimwear made via sustainable means is made from a variety of surprising materials that churn out beautiful and functional pieces.

Imagine wearing a swimming suit made from recycled plastic bottles or made from organic cotton that has never seen pesticides. Or, envision a swimsuit designed from eco-friendly and renewable bamboo that is both comfortable and earth-friendly to wear.

Brands are getting creative in what goes into their swimwear, from fishing nets to landfill plastics to scrap fabrics, and creating pieces that look and feel amazing.

Depending on the brand you buy and the style of swimsuit you choose, you’ll find that sustainable swimwear is designed from a variety of interesting and unique materials and natural fibers that result in beautiful and comfortable pieces.

Nets and plastic as waste on a beach - Sustainable Swimwear: Brand Guide to Ethical Beach Fashion
Trash found on a beach.
Photo by Angela Compagnone on Unsplash
See more of Angela’s work.

Why Invest in Sustainable Swimwear?

The benefits of sustainable clothing in general and swimwear in particular are many.

For starters, think about your current swimwear made of man-made materials like nylon and polyester. These materials release fibers with every contact with water, which means that every time you take a swim in your non-sustainable swimsuit, you’re releasing micro bits of plastic into the water. When you make the switch to sustainable options, you’re doing the earth a favor by not only wearing recyclable or renewable materials but also by not polluting the waves you love.

Another reason to invest in sustainable swimwear is your own health. Some sustainable materials, such as bamboo, are hypoallergenic and naturally antibacterial, making them great for you to wear when you have sensitive skin. In general, however, when you invest in sustainable clothing — including your swimwear — you do your part to lessen your impact on the environment and support the businesses who care about it.

If you’re hesitant to give sustainable swimwear a try, discover what some of the brand’s rocking earth-friendly swimsuits and cover-ups have to offer. You’ll be surprised (and pleasantly so) to discover that going sustainable is not only affordable, it’s fashionable.

Swimming turtle tangles amongst nets

Brands Rocking Sustainable Swimwear

Ready to commit to some beautiful swimming suits that you’ll love? Here are brands on the market that you can find online and in stores with beautiful pieces in a variety of styles to try — all made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials you’ll be thrilled to try.

Buy online or check out local available department stores to try beautiful pieces on before making a purchase. Explore the following brands on the earth-friendly radar that can help you feel great about a new beach look. You just may never go back to your traditional — and earth-damaging — man-made swimsuits as a result. And that’s not a bad thing.

Megan Mae Miami®

Don’t sleep on this brand. Megan Mae Miami® creates sustainable luxury swimwear. Here’s the best part — their suits are made from a high-quality fabric that is comprised of ECONYL®. This is a fiber made from recycled fishing nets and other reclaimed plastics, making Megan Mae Miami® suits not only earth and ocean-friendly but totally unique in design and creation.

Choose from several collections to suit your personal style and silhouette, whether you’re looking for a bikini top or bottom or a cover-up. Made in the U.S. with super–soft and durable Italian materials and eco-conscious production practices, this brand will bring your sexy vibes to a whole new level. You’ll look stunning and be doing your part to save the environment at the same time.


Patagonia is another brand that uses recycled fishing nets and transparent production practices to create beautiful and durable swimwear pieces you’ll love. If you’re an active swimmer, this fair trade company has a suit that can meet your comfort and style needs in swimwear at once. Select from long-sleeved body suits or reversible swim tops that help you get the most out of your water adventures.

What’s even better about sustainable swimwear by this and other brands is how versatile the pieces can be; consider wearing a sexy bikini top made of recyclable materials as a layering piece for festival or concert wear or out on the town for some fun. Express yourself and your love of nature in more ways than one!


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It’s more than just a month — it’s a minimalist swimwear brand that helps you get full coverage and support while supporting the earth, too. September features recycled Italian materials in its swimwear, along with materials made from landfill plastics, fishing nets, scrap materials, and other recycled matter. Even better, suits have a high SPF as well to keep the sun’s rays at bay.

Choose from basic and silhouette-pleasing sustainable swimwear that gives you the free movement and comfort you desire, or go with more daring pieces that allow you to show off the curves you love. Made for real bodies, this is a swimwear brand you can love for many reasons, above and beyond its dedication to the environment.


This brand uses recycled bottles in their sustainable swimwear creations, resulting in stunning one-pieces in bold and beautiful patterns and other styles you can love. Artists and activists work together to create beautiful swimwear that you can love to wear.

With several prints to choose from in a variety of color themes and patterns, Wolven shows that you don’t have to give up fashion in order to save the environment. Sleek and sexy options make it difficult to choose just one suit for your needs. Even better — this brand places its sustainability reports on its website so you can be transparently informed as to how exactly they’re making a positive impact on the environment.

Jade Swim

This female-run swimwear company takes eco-friendly and sustainable to heart.

Earth tones and visually appealing silhouettes make their eco-friendly suits really make waves. They make their stunning swimwear pieces out of recycled landfill plastics, scrap fabrics, and fishing nets. Choose from swimwear coverups and accessories to sexy and expressional tops to cheeky bottoms.

Or, mix and match and not only support a sustainable brand but a woman-owned one as well. The brand even steps up its eco-sound game by using biodegradable packaging in its product line. What’s not to love?

Is Sustainable Swimwear, Well, Sustainable?

Black and white photo of lady on beach
Photo by Konstantinos Papadopoulos on Unsplash

If the thought of wearing recycled fishing nets and landfill plastics makes it hard to believe swimwear can be not only comfortable but long-lasting, guess again. Fibers are expertly crafted and woven together for a superior fit in both comfort and flexibility, so whether you need adjustable straps to support your bust or bottoms that won’t go cheeky on you, your sustainable wear is going to have your back.

Here’s another consideration: nylon, spandex, and polyester all wear out with time and lose not just their shape but their actual construction. Have you ever worn threadbare swimwear and wondered where all the fiber went? Those microplastics ended up right in the very ocean you’re trying to catch waves on. You won’t have that happen to you with sustainable swimming suits made expertly from eco-friendly brands you love.

Why Go Sustainable Today

There are several ways you can benefit the earth, from reusing products you already have to recycle products you don’t want to keep. You can shop second-hand, buy misshapen fruits and vegetables, and walk to more destinations than drive to lessen your global impact. What you wear is simply another fun and expressional way to make a positive statement and support the planet you live on.

Sustainable swimwear is on the rise, gaining popularity as global awareness is not just trending but a reality new generations are serious about. The planet today is full of people who are self-aware of their carbon footprint and want to make the earth a better place, one fashion choice at a time. Protecting the planet and giving back is what sustainable clothing is all about, and from your jeans to your bikini bottoms, you can make a positive impact on the environment you serve by being as green as possible. Once you go sustainable, you won’t be going back.