PSA: Madewell Introduces Eco-Friendly Swimwear Made From Recycled Water Bottles

February 28, 2019

This month draws to a close with an ethical fashion win! On Feb. 26, Madewell launched their first eco-friendly swimwear line: Second Wave.

Madewell Second Wave Retro High-Waisted Bikini Bottom

Each item in this 32-piece collection is made from recycled plastic. One bikini equals four water bottles while a one-piece equals eight—50,920 bottles were recycled across the entire collection. And, they’ve included a true range of sizes from XXS-3X.


In true Madewell fashion, this line includes such timeless designs as gem-tone stripes and understated florals. I’m not mad at the price tag either—a one-piece crafted with ethical intention for less than $99? Sign me up. Pieces like these splash fast-fashion suits straight out of the water.


Madewell Second Wave Straight One-Piece Swimsuit in Hillside Daisies

To see the swimwear in action, check out Madewell’s announcement video (featuring on-point synchronized swimming that I’m already aspiring to learn):

While Madewell and its parent company J.Crew are still mainstream retailers, this move shows that they are responding to the demand for sustainable fashion. Last week, J.Crew and Madewell announced their first Fair Trade Certified denim collections that use 75% less water, 65% fewer chemicals, and substantially less energy. That collection managed to produce a single pair of jeans using just 1 liter of water—compare that to a typical pair of jeans that require a whopping 140 liters of water!


Of course, retail production almost always comes at a cost and true zero-waste fashion is practically impossible. Even recycled-plastic swimwear is made with dyes, releases emissions, and leaches microfibers into the oceans each time it’s washed or dipped in to the sea. Still, it is still far better than the alternative: plastic bottles littering the oceans or piling up in landfills. The most eco-friendly option is to re-use and re-wear your items as much as possible. But, when it’s time to find something new for utility or style, eco-friendly fashion lines allow us to make the next-best choice.

How do you like the Second Wave line?

Also by Holly: I Set Out To Read 52 Books A Year. These 6 Audiobooks Are What I Recommend

3 Tips For Curating Your Ideal Eco-Friendly Makeup Bag

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Photo: Madewell

Holly studied poetry at Texas State University and applied her passion for veganism and sustainability through her research in ecocriticism: “‘Too much water hast thou, poor Ophelia’: An Object-Oriented Reading of Hamlet.” Follow Holly on Twitter or Instagram @HollytheHare for plenty of pup, plant, and literary content.


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