The Ultimate Guide to Ethical and Sustainable Bikinis - Good On You
colourful econyl bikini by Bower
03 Aug
colourful econyl bikini by Bower

The Ultimate Guide to Ethical and Sustainable Bikinis

I’m not sure why, but when it comes to swimsuits—particularly bikinis—I tend to pick favourites. This bottom always gets loose in the water, that one doesn’t cover me up enough, this other one squeezes me in all the wrong places… as you can imagine, the list can get quite extensive, and is something most people go through on their quest to find their Goldilocks set. Like lingerie, a bikini doesn’t need to be perfect, but it should make you feel good. From taking a dip in the pool to snorkelling to simply lounging around, a bikini can fulfil many purposes. But along with style and practicality, it is equally important to consider the ethical impacts of our swimwear, which is why we’ve tracked down the best sustainable bikinis for you.

Common sustainability problems in swimwear

For those of us who live in the sun year-round, perhaps we can get carried away (myself included), filling our drawers with the newest statement trend or print. Aside from succumbing to a fast fashion cycle, swimwear also presents another problem when it comes to sustainability: plastic. Synthetic fabrics—like nylon, polyester, and spandex—are perfectly suited for swimwear because they wick moisture and stretch across the body, reducing friction in the water. They are also versatile and inexpensive to make, so the fashion industry relies on them heavily: not just for swimwear, but also activewear, outerwear, and other cheap fast fashion garments. This is a major problem because plastic is not biodegradable, meaning it never decomposes, which is an issue from the production phase, through to the release of microfibres when washing, all the way to disposal of the garment at the end of its life. Luckily the best way to look after your swimwear—gentle hand washing—is the best way to reduce microfibre releases, too. It also makes the most sense, since swimwear is most often worn for a very short period of time and should rarely require a machine wash!

Eco-friendly bikini materials

Thankfully, there are alternatives to these polluting plastics most swimwear is made from. Eco-friendly materials such as ECONYL, created by Italian firm Aquafil, uses synthetic waste like industrial plastic, waste fabric, and fishing nets from oceans, then recycles and regenerates them into a new nylon yarn that is exactly the same quality as virgin nylon. Even better, other swimwear brands are meeting this need, innovating in their own capacity, and creating their own luxe materials from recycled nylon fibres or other natural alternatives.

So, without further ado, read up on this ultimate guide for the brands that are making the biggest splash in sustainable bikinis!

Elle Evans

Rated: Great
Sustainable floral bikini set by elle evans

Tyra Bikini Top -Never Never/Moss Green – Ships internationally from Australia

Two for the price of one? I’m there! Elle Evans designs, prints, and creates its beautiful pieces in Melbourne, Australia. Overwhelmed by the impact of the industry they had worked in and loved for years, the team at Elle Evans decided they’d be doing things a bit differently. Since day one, the brand has been using luxurious Vita ECONYL®—regenerated nylon made from 100% nylon waste from oceans and landfills. Attention to detail, innovative cuts, and its signature nature-inspired prints come together to create magic in every collection, including sustainable bikinis galore!

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Shop Elle Evans.

allSisters

Rated: Good
Colour blocked black and white ethical bikini by allSisters brand

EUTERPE TOP BATHING SUIT – Ships internationally from Spain

Never sacrifice sexy for sustainability again! Created for all types of goddesses, this two-tone black and white sports-inspired ethical bikini with thick shoulder straps, square neckline, and longline shape offers complete coverage, support, and comfort. Consciously created using luxury recycled fabrics that carry the OEKO-TEX® certificate, wear it to the beach, gym, or even as a fashion statement. The Barcelona based brand also raises money for biodiversity protecting non-profit Surfers Against Sewage, tackling plastic pollution and working to keep our oceans clean.

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Shop allSisters.

Stay Wild

Rated: Good
Light blue simple sustainable bikini by Stay Wild

The Nomad Bikini Top in Ocean Blue – Ships internationally from the UK

If you’re looking to add to your capsule wardrobe, you’ve come to the right place. Stay Wild is a London-based swim brand founded by Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk. Designed to be flattering, feminine, and functional, the brand’s capsule collection features a sports luxe style with a thick strapped bikini top and a high waist bottom for a firm fit and feel. The slightly cheeky cut means you get all the coverage with plenty of confidence!

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Shop Stay Wild.

La fille d’O

Rated: Good
Pink lingerie and swim set plus size by la fille d'O

CHANGES in pink – Ships internationally from Belgium

La fille d’O, or “the daughter of O,” is the voice of a generation. In 2003, designer Murielle Scherre created this lingerie and swim brand with the vision of being a role model. The brand produces long-lasting products, adhering to the principles of slow-fashion and manufactures locally. Designed as swimwear and lingerie, CHANGES offers the best support and look in or out of the water.

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Shop la fille d’O.

Natasha Tonic

Rated: Good
red and white striped eco-friendly bikini by Natasha Tonic

Destiny, Top – Ships internationally from the US

Swimwear made out of hemp? Yes please. For decades, swimsuits have been made out of polyester, which is non-biodegradable and bad for the skin. Natasha Tonic’s hemp swimwear fabric is based around a unique, natural hemp fibre that is antimicrobial, UV resistant, durable, and a healthier choice for your skin and our oceans. Even better, each piece is slightly different since it is printed by hand, allowing for each sustainable bikini to be tailored for the most gorgeous you!

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Shop Natasha Tonic.

Sage Larock

Rated: Good
Classic sustainable string bikini in brown by Sage Larock

SERENAS BIKINI BOTTOM – DRIFTWOOD – Ships within the US

Made in-house by a small team in L.A., sustainable luxury brand Sage Larock produces timeless swimwear that is sure to turn heads. Its stunning pieces are made from an Italian recycled plastic fabric that is high-quality and long-lasting—and a percentage of profits from each sale goes directly to marine conservation non-profits!

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Shop Sage Larock.

Vitamin A

Rated: Great
Black ring sustainable bikini set by Vitamin A ethical brand

Misty Top – Ships internationally from the US

Sexy, classy, and good for the environment? You got it. Made locally in California, Vitamin A has revolutionized sustainable swimwear. Founder Amahlia Stevens realized the need for creating swimwear out of recycled plastics. However, when she began to research the options, she was told by fabric suppliers that there was “no market” for swimwear made from recycled fibres—so she decided to design the fabric herself, working with the top mills in Italy, Canada, and California to create EcoLux™—the first premium swim fabric made from recycled nylon fibres. Since then, the company has incorporated several more sustainable high-performance fabrics along with eco-conscious textiles like organic cotton, linen, recycled cotton, and Tencel®. All materials are certified to meet the global Oeko-Tex standard for safe textiles!

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Shop Vitamin A.

Patagonia

Rated: Good
Sport style ethical bikini top by Patagonia

Women’s Reversible Seaglass Bay Bikini Top – Ships internationally from the US

Patagonia is a brand which truly lives and breathes the great outdoors. Offered in a range of colours, this reversible sustainable bikini surf top features ruching at the bust and elegant straps in the back, ensuring a cute look with active support all day. Patagonia has strong labour rights and uses recycled, rather than virgin, polyester. It has also committed to reducing its energy use and emissions.

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Shop Patagonia.

Conscious Swimwear

Rated: Good
white spotted sustainable bikini by Conscious Swimwear brand

KAYA WHITE SPOTTED – Ships internationally from Portugal

All the trends and no nasties. Every Conscious Swimwear piece is cut and sewn by hand in the brand’s Lisbon atelier. As such, all of its models are limited due to fabric availability. Shipped in sustainable packaging and made of 78% recycled plastic from ocean waste, Conscious Swimwear is raising the bar in sustainable swimwear.

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Shop Conscious Swimwear.

Bower

Rated: Good
Purple sustainable bikini set by Bower

Vreeland Bikini Top in Violet – Ships internationally from the UK

Launched in early 2015, Bower is a sustainable swimwear and resort wear brand. Bower aims to create design-led swimwear with a focus on the now with a nod to the past. The designs utilise luxury Italian fabrics, partnered with complex construction and considered details. With components sourced from Italy and France, the final product is constructed at a small, specialised factory in Italy. Along with the brand’s commitment to the Earth, Bower has dedicated 1% of all orders to be donated to the Healthy Seas initiative. 

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Shop Bower.

Finisterre

Rated: Good
Blue patterned active bikini set by Finisterre

Blasius Bikini Set – Ships internationally from the UK

Born from the needs of hardy British surfers, Finisterre designs functional and sustainable products for those that share our love of the sea. Whether paddleboarding or going out for a surf, the Blasius sustainable bikini set is specifically designed for active use. Fashioned with a secure racer back design and supported moulded cups, this set made from premium ECONYL® recycled yarn, is sure to keep you mobile and comfortable in any wave.

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Shop Finisterre.

Spell

Rated: Good
Floral pattern sustainable bikini set by Spell

Posy Knot Cheeky Pant – Ships internationally from Australia

Spell is a modern-bohemian fashion brand inspired by far-off places, vintage treasures, and childhood memories. The brand’s adorable Posy Knot Cheeky Pant in peach is a feminine, medium coverage swim style with a dash of seaside sass. Pair with the Posy Knot Tri Top for a joyful and easy-wear sustainable swim set that is perfect for both ocean dwellers and banana lounge devotees.

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Shop Spell.

LONDRĖ

Rated: Good
Modern white ethical bikini top by LONDRE

THE NEW CLASSIC TOP in FLAT WHITE – Ships internationally from Canada

LONDRĖ is a Canadian minimalist sustainable swimwear brand making pieces from recycled plastic bottles. So far, LONDRĖ has recycled 90,000 plastic bottles from the streets and beaches of Taiwan! Looking to create the smallest impact possible, all water used in the brand’s process is able to be reused and recycled. The brand is also creating positive change in our global community, using the business to raise awareness and funds for women’s health and environmental initiatives, donating over $10,000 to organizations such as Amazon Watch and the Yellow Hammer Fund. Swoon!

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Shop LONDRĖ.

Mara Hoffman

Rated: Good
Printed ethical bikini set by ethical brand Mara Hoffman

Goldie Bikini Bottom – Ships internationally from the US

Create to empower, transform with care. With a focus on mindful and conscious practices, Mara Hoffman uses eco-friendly materials including GOTS certified organic cotton, recycled nylon, and recycled polyester, so you can feel good about every piece you purchase. This gorgeous printed high-rise bikini set is no exception. Pair with the balconette-style Lua bikini top for moderate coverage and a stunning look that will surely turn heads.

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Shop Mara Hoffman @ Reve en Vert.

Shop Mara Hoffman @ Farfetch.

Underprotection

Rated: Good
woman wearing lime green sustainable bikini top by Underprotection

Adrianna Bikini Bra – Ships internationally from Denmark

Offers

woman wearing patterned gold and white loungewear set by ethical brand underprotection

Underprotection – Loungewear

Slip into something comfortable and chic: loungewear you want to wear all week. Extra 20% off on discounted loungewear with code goodsale. (Ends: 30 SEP)

Checkout code: goodsale
Shop now
woman wearing sustainable blue frilled swimwear by brand Underprotection

Underprotection – Swimwear

Combining ethics with aesthetics, this Danish brand makes glamorous swimwear for all women. Extra 20% off on discounted swimwear with code goodsale. (Ends: 30 SEP)

Checkout code: goodsale
Shop now
woman wearing sustainable pink shell lingerie by brand Underprotection

Underprotection – Lingerie

Feminine. Sexy. Fun. Bras, bralettes and briefs made from sustainable materials like recycled Italian lace. Extra 20% off on discounted lingerie with code goodsale. (Ends: 30 SEP)

Checkout code: goodsale
Shop now

Underprotection is a Danish brand combining ethics and aesthetics, creating underwear, loungewear and swimwear from sustainable materials. Underprotection limits the amount of water used in production and has adopted the Fair Wear Foundation Code of Conduct to address the risk of labour abuse in its manufacturing countries. The Adrianna Bikini Bra is made in soft recycled polyester fabric with a ribbed texture and in a fresh lime colour. The bra has removable padding, and two adjustable straps so it stays up nicely.

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Shop Underprotection.

BAYTHE

Rated: Good
BAYTHE clay active sustainable bikini bra top

CLAY ACTIVE BIKINI CROP – Ships internationally from Australia

BAYTHE is a premium swimwear-meets-activewear label designed in Bondi Beach, providing women of all shapes and sizes the confidence, comfort, and understated sexiness they’ve always wanted in a swimsuit. This active bikini crop is an easy summer staple made to be multi-functional and move with you throughout your day. Despite being designed without wires, this bra top still provides full bust support and is quick-drying, so you can also wear it as a bra for yoga, Pilates, barre, and walking!

See the rating.

Shop BAYTHE.

 

That’s all folks! We hope this guide allows you to find a sustainable bikini that works for your lifestyle and summer aesthetic, without needing to sacrifice your ethics.

Editor's note

Feature image via Bower, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 2,500 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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