Confession: despite being vegan for almost 11 years, I’ve only begun conscious shopping in earnest relatively recently–as in, the past year! Before that, I was aware of the toll that retail was taking on the environment but figured that my relatively low-level of fashion consumption put me in the clear. (Plus I was like, “I’m vegan so that buys me some points!”)
But I have since then decided to step things up a notch. One big shocker for me was the recent news that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050. Not only does that mean plastic bottles and bags that get dumped into the oceans, it also includes micro bits of plastic fiber that get leached into our water systems every time we wash synthetic clothes.
Since I’d go naked without leggings that include a cotton-synthetic blend, I don’t have all the answers to everything. (Look, this body was *not* made for jeans without stretch). But! I think the more we try to individually minimize our impact, the greater chance we have of leaving a sustainable and beautiful Earth behind us.
And also, I’m going to the Amalfi Coast this summer! What the what?! So I currently just have 1 (mismatched) bikini that I like: the bottom was purchased at Ross about 15 years ago, I kid you not. (I wasn’t lying about minimal consumption, right?) The top was an H&M purchase circa 2011 which, compared to the bottom, sounds practically fresh. I am definitely going to still wear these on the trip, but if I buy another swimsuit (probably should, huh?), I’ll definitely make it a sustainable one. Since I tend to wear my suits for 10+ years on the reg, it would be a justifiable purchase!
A favorite of Rihanna, Jungle Gurl uses vintage and reclaimed materials, which means the water and energy that’s spent to make new fabrics is saved. It’s also produced in CA, so if you live in the state, you’ll be getting bonus points for some mailing carbon footprint! Look at this gorgeous print though–perfect for a vacay in Hawaii!
Auria is a London-based brand that makes swimsuits out of discarded fishnets. This cheeky suit is made from recycled polyamide and elastane. Now, I know we’ve just said nylon and plastic ends up leaching into the oceans, but this suit is also making use of discarded nylon–so I think it’s all in all a positive net sum game here, especially if your alternative is conventional fast fashion suit made of *new* petro material.
Greenlee bikini in various colors, Top $ 38
$108, Bottom $38 $99
Born in 2013, this California-based label uses 82-83% recycled materials in its suits and partners with environmental charities such as The Rainforest Partnership. Beyonce, Camilla Alves, and Brooklyn Decker have worn their suits. I love the classic cuts and lovely saturated colors that fit pretty much anywhere you go!
Celebrity favorite (Sofia Coppola, SJP, Michelle Williams) Araks is made in NYC with Italian fabrics, using organic materials when possible. Alas, I couldn’t find more gung-ho sustainable stance from this notably high-fashion brand. Still, if money were no object, I would tots get this gasp-inducing stunner. So very la dolce vita! I actually don’t think there is a more Positano-appropriate suit (judging based on my imagination). One could throw on a maxi skirt over this and go straight to dinner, couldn’t one?!
I found this beauty on Azura Bay, a Canadian online boutique that specializes in sustainable swimwear. Not only do they only sell eco-friendly suits (this one made from recycled fabric is even certified eco-friendly by Fair Wear Foundation!), they also use 100% recycled boxes, polymailers, and tissue paper, plus biodegradable tapes for shipping. Too much shipping is a really serious concern for the environment, so I salute their attention to detail! <3
giejo Red Aztec, Top $60 Bottom $50
giejo is another NYC-based brand that has more high fashion cred (blessed by Vogue) and makes everything in the Garment District. It goes farther than Araks, however, by using vintage and reclaimed materials and keeping the price very reasonable. So it’s a great pick for NYC ladies! I love this Aztec print bikini that says Costa Rica or Mexico, if ya know what I mean?
We’ve made no secret of our admiration for Vaute, an NYC-based label that earned its bona fides with vegan coats. Its swim collection is made of recycled carpet fibers and is made in the Garment District. It also says it will proudly feature many different shapes and sizes, which is actually very cool.
Vitamin A produces its very own EcoLuxe matte jersey fabric in California using recycled nylon fiber and digital printing (less water wastage). It also picks factories that conserve energy and water and donates a part of its proceeds to environmental nonprofits. A bright coral-red bikini is always a do in my book!
Which of these sustainable swimsuits speak to your heart?
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Photo: Pixabay; respective brands