Most swimsuits are made from synthetics materials like polyurethane, polyester, and nylon which are not biodegradable and historically contribute to plastic waste. But a few swimsuit brands are trying to change that by making stylish swimwear from recycled fabrics. Two of these fabrics are ECONYL which recycles nylon waste into new nylon, and REPREVE which makes new polyester from recycled plastic bottles. Although the materials will never biodegrade, they can be upcycled again and again.
ECONYL® is a fabric made from waste such as old fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans. This synthetic plastic waste is regenerated into a nylon fabric which can be used again and again to make new products like swimsuits and workout gear. ECONYL is made by Aquafil, a leading nylon producer.
REPREVE® is a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are upcycled into materials like the cloth seats in the electric Ford focus and Patagonia’s fleece. Today more than 16 billion plastic bottles have been recycled into REPREVE fabrics.
The only truly circular swimwear company I could find. Loop Swim uses REPREVE fabrics to make their line of sustainable swimwear. They close the loop by taking back swimsuits to be upcycled.
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Bare Beach uses REPREVE fabric to make its sustainable swimsuits. Their Double Strap Bikini Top has customizable straps for those of us who need a little more support and lift. Their bikinis come in prints and solids so you can mix and match.
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The SEEA uses REPREVE and ECONYL fabrics to make their swimsuits sustainable. They also make eco-friendly wetsuits out of Yulex natural rubber. Their swim collection has a range of styles from teeny bikinis to full-coverage rash guards and surf suits. Picture the below surf suit with tan linen pants for after swim drinks by the pool.
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Koru uses ECONYL nylon fabric for their swimsuit collection. This is another swim collection with a variety of styles and a nice collection of long-sleeved rash guards. I love the hand coverage on the below suit.
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Mara Hoffman is a leader in the sustainable fashion movement. The Mara Hoffman swimwear collection is made with ECONYL and REPREVE recycled fabrics.
“In 2017 alone, our use of ECONYL® fabric diverted a total of 10,797 lbs of waste from landfills, including 2,744 lbs of fishing nets,” according to the company.
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Reformations claim to fame is they are the most sustainable option after being naked. If you’re interested in seeing a brand with sustainability and circularity truly at its heart, check out their website. They break down each detail that goes into creating a sustainable company, from materials to packaging. In regards to their swimsuits, most of the swim collection is made using ECONYL® fibers according to the company.
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11 time World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater and designer John Moore started Outerknown because they wanted to create surf-style clothing in a more conscious way. Today their line includes fashion that appeals to more than just surfers. Outerknown uses fabrics like ECONYL nylon, merino wool, and recycled polyester to make their board shorts.
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Anowi uses REPREVE fabric to make sustainable swimsuits. Their collection includes a swimsuit sports bra top (this is genius!), surf skin leggings, rash guards, and high waisted bikini bottoms so there’s a perfect fit for active women with every type of body.
Learn more about Anowi Surf