13 Most Sustainable Bikini Brands: The Conscious Consumer’s Guide

13 Most Sustainable Bikini Brands: The Conscious Consumer’s Guide

By
Quynh Nguyen

Read Time:35 Minutes

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Stay impactful,

Amid growing concerns about the textile industry’s environmental impact, there is pressure to find greener clothes for your wardrobe, from winter coats to summer bikinis. Unfortunately, fashion greenwashing makes it harder for you and all other consumers to figure out which clothing brands offer the most eco-friendly garments. So, we had to ask: Which are the most sustainable bikini brands?

The most sustainable bikini brands include Vitamin A, lemlem, and Stay Wild, which use recycled materials, minimize waste, and give back to environmental causes. In addition, Underprotection and NATASHA TONIC commit to reducing their carbon footprints and strive for circularity. 

Whether you are searching for a bikini set or just some mix-match tops to add to your wardrobe without negatively impacting the soil, the water, the animals, and other people, there is a brand for you. So, let’s keep reading to learn more about the most sustainable bikini brands and how they ensure sustainable, ethical practices. 

Here’s How We Selected the Most Sustainable Bikini Brands

Bikinis can be among the highest-impact and least sustainable clothing items you own because the high performance requirement is often better met by using synthetic fabrics, which don’t biodegrade and release microplastics when used and washed. 

Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”

Oxford Dictionary

The brands on this list were chosen based on their commitment and actions to promote sustainable practices while reducing the environmental impacts of the textile industry. 

They are transparent about their materials, processes, and workforce management within their supply chain. 

Some brands focus their efforts on reducing waste and optimizing natural resources while others strive to reduce the carbon footprint of their clothes. 

All of these brands share the commitment to reshape the textile industry toward a more sustainable and Earth-friendly sector. 

These Are the 13 Most Sustainable Bikini Brands

Overall, these bikini brands are sustainable. Yet, they take various approaches to reduce environmental impacts and uphold ethical standards. Let’s dive into each brand and find out more. 

1

Vitamin A: Swimwear and Beachwear Made Sustainably With Recycled Nylon 

Logo for Vitamin A
Screenshot of the Vitamin A front page

“We focus on the intersection of flawless fit, high quality, continuous innovation, and elegant designs… Every one of our pieces is designed by women, for women.

Amahlia Stevens, founder of Vitamin A

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Vitamin A ensures their sustainability by sourcing recycled synthetic materials for their products and manufacturing them locally using low-impact technologies. They use recycled nylon in place of virgin nylon to create fabric blends for their bikinis, swimsuits, and beachwear lines, saving 77% water usage. The brand also incorporates sustainable natural fabrics and high-performing plant-based textiles into their products, including GOTS-certified organic cotton, linen, recycled cotton, and TENCEL™. All materials used by Vitamin A are certified to meet the global OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 for safe textiles. On top of that, the majority of their swimwear is crafted locally in Californian vertically integrated facilities (and the rest in the US), reducing the transporting carbon footprint. Regarding production, they use mostly digital printing, which requires less water and creates less fabric waste than traditional wet printing. Other measures used at their headquarters and warehouse to reduce their environmental footprint include all paper products made with 100% recycled post-consumer waste, no disposable plastic water bottles, a heat reclamation system, and working-from-home support to avoid unnecessary travel

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Vitamin A ensures their ethical and responsible production by keeping production locally in California, which has the strictest environmental laws in the nation. They also visit their factories regularly to ensure employees are being treated and paid fairly and that the working conditions are clean and safe.

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Vitamin A is a proud member of 1% for the Planet. They give back to organizations that work to protect the oceans. Additionally, they host beach cleanups

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear 
  • Product range: swim tops, swim bottoms, beach tops, beach bottoms, one-pieces, dresses, rompers, shirts, pants, overalls, hoodies, shorts, accessories 
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XS–XXL
2

lemlem: Artisan-Driven Fashion Label With a Social Mission 

Logo for Lemlem
Screenshot of the lemlem front page

By employing traditional weavers, we’re trying to break their cycle of poverty, while preserving the art of weaving, to create modern, casual, comfortable clothes that we really want to wear.

Liya Kebede, Founder of lemlem

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

lemlem takes the slow fashion approach to sustainability. Their collections are handmade by local artisans, which takes longer but helps to reduce the climate impact of manufacturing. Specifically, the cotton fabrics used in their dresses and pants are hand-spun and hand-woven in Ethiopia. Furthermore, they have a limited production run to minimize textile waste and fight against fast fashion. Regarding materials, lemlem makes their swimwear with recycled synthetic fabrics, specifically REPREVE® (recycled polyester) and ECONYL® (recycled nylon). Using these recycled materials helps divert plastic waste from landfills and oceans while lessening the pressure on nonrenewable resources used to make virgin synthetic fabrics. They also upcycle excess fabric into accessories or donations to sewing schools, cutting down waste further. Lastly, their garments are packed in 100% biodegradable bags.

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

lemlem partners with independent artisans in Africa, creating jobs and safe workplaces. They state that they provide fair wages and benefits alongside worker rights and social protection. They also trace most of their supply chain, including all suppliers in the final production stage. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

lemlem pledges 5% of all online sales to lemlem Foundation, a philanthropic organization promoting better access to healthcare and job opportunities for African female artisans

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear 
  • Product range: swimwear, dresses, tops, blouses, pants, shorts, accessories 
  • Price range: $$$ 
  • Size range: XS–L
3

Stay Wild: London-Based Swimwear Brand Fighting the Plastic Problem in the Oceans

Logo for Stay Wild
Screenshot of the Stay Wild Front page

 “Designed and made in London, our pieces have a purpose with every element considering people and the planet.”

Stay Wild

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Stay Wild ensures their sustainability by sourcing low-impact textile and packaging materials. Specifically, they use ECONYL® yarn, a 100% regenerated nylon fiber made from nylon waste, to make swimwear, contributing to reducing ocean plastic waste and lowering the impact of using synthetic fabrics. Stay Wild also sources low-impact plant-based fabrics, including linen, TENCELTM, and EcoveroTM. Furthermore, their linen and EcoVeroTM fabrics are certified by OEKO-TEX®. Their TENCELTM fabrics are produced in a closed-loop system that recycles and reuses process chemicals. On top of that, Stay Wild ensures that the trims and components of their garment are as sustainable as possible. For example, they use thread made from rPET (repurposed from recycled plastic bottles), biodegradable buttons (made from sustainably sourced and renewable nuts), and compostable plant-based hygiene liners. Regarding packaging materials, their hang tags and outer packages are recycled and recyclable. Alongside using recycled fabrics, Stay Wild also works toward being fully circular via several initiatives, including facilitating proper care of swimwear, correct recycling once an item is worn out, and taking back worn down and broken swimwear from any brand. Lastly, they work with carbon-neutral shipping partners to reduce the climate impact of their transportation. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Stay Wild partly traces their supply chain, including the final production stage. As well, some of their suppliers are certified by the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit – SMETA Best Practice Guidance

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Stay Wild is not known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: swimwear, shirts, shorts, accessories 
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: XS–XL
4

Underprotection: Fashionable and Sustainable Lingerie and Swimwear

Logo for Underprotection
Screenshot of the Underprotection front page

 “We always strive to make the most sustainable choices even if it is not necessarily the most economically sensible choice, but for us, it is not only a business, it’s a lifestyle and a belief that the future must and can be greeners. It is our goal to always improve – in everything we do

Stephan Rosenkilde, Co-Founder of Underprotection

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Underprotection ensures their sustainability by sourcing low-impact textile and packaging materials, prolonging their garments’ lifespan, and striving toward textile circularity. Firstly, they use a high proportion of eco-friendly fabrics, including TENCELTM Lyocell, organic cotton, recycled wool, and RWS-certified responsible sheep wool. All their synthetic fabrics come from recycled sources with the Global Recycle Standard certification, be it polyester, nylon, or elastane (spandex). On top of that, Underprotection also has fabrics made by utilizing by-product waste (banana leaves from the fruit industry and sour milk from the milk industry), helping to cut down waste and lower their environmental impacts. Regarding packaging materials, they opt for recycled or biodegradable materials. Secondly, the brand designs their products with quality and durability in mind to make them last, offers guaranteed repairs within the first two years, provides first-aid rewards for customers who fix up items themselves instead of replacing them, and equips customers with detailed wash and care instructions for various types of fabrics. All these efforts aim to extend the lifespan of a garment and reduce its environmental cost. Thirdly, regarding their efforts toward textile circularity, they have a take-back program to give worn-out Underprotection pieces a second life, and an Upcycled collection that utilizes returned Underprotection products through their Take-back program, which covers leftover fabrics and discarded items. Last but not least, their main supplier uses solar-powered energy and harvests rainwater

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Underprotection ensures their ethics by holding a transparent and responsible supply chain. They also bind their suppliers with a Code of Conduct, which covers all of the ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Their suppliers have certifications that guarantee proper working conditions and a fair wage, including WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), Sedex, GOTS, and BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative). Underprotection also audits most of the final stage of production. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Underprotection partners with various organizations to give back to underprivileged communities and the Earth as a whole. For example, they plant a fixed 150 trees every month in their partnership with Treeapp. Another example is their partnership with the ReSea Project, an organization on a mission to end the ocean plastic crisis. Part of their sales go to support the cause. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: lingerie, loungewear, swimwear
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: XS–XL
5

NATASHA TONIC: Making Plant-Based Swimwear to Reduce Microplastic Pollution 

Logo for NATASHA TONIC
Screenshot of the Natasha Tonic front page

We make everything locally in small batches to make sure we don’t have a negative impact on the environment.”

NATASHA TONIC 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

NATASHA TONIC prioritizes sustainability through eco-friendly materials, low-impact processes, and low-footprint practices. They use a high proportion of sustainable natural fabrics, including hemp and certified organic cotton, and only low-impact, non-toxic dyes that contain soluble natural components and no heavy metals. Furthermore, NATASHA TONIC lowers the manufacturing impact by applying on-site heat reclamation, on-site water filtration, and no-salt-added dye baths in their dyeing processes and using biopolishing in their finishing treatments. Additionally, they reduce their transporting carbon footprint by purchasing fabrics locally in the US and using electric vehicles for delivering between suppliers and studios. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

NATASHA TONIC puts protecting workers and nature at the core of their operations. As such, they trace most of their supply chain, including all of the second and final stages of production. Their second stage of production is audited by the Fair Wear Foundation. Workers at their US factory are all paid according to California standards. NATASHA TONIC also protects nature by eliminating contaminants in surface runoff to maintain the surface and groundwater quality and replacing insecticides with natural pest-controlling methods

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

NATASHA TONIC donates 5% of every swimsuit sold to 5 Gyres to support fighting plastic and microfibre pollution. Additionally, they contribute to the cause of social movements, including Tree People, Black Lives Matter, and Downtown Women’s Center. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: swimwear, tops, blouses, bodysuits, lingerie
  • Price range: $$$ 
  • Size range: XS–XL
6

peony: Carbon-Neutral Luxury Swimwear Made From Repurposed Waste 

Logo for peony
Screenshot of the Peony front page

Our approach is to create consciously, engage in ongoing reflection and continually drive progress towards sustainability, circularity, inclusivity and transparency..”

peony

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

peony ensures their sustainability by sourcing eco-friendly materials for textiles and packaging while reducing plastic waste. Specifically, their swimwear main fabrics and linings are created in-house with recycled content, which includes REPREVE® yarn made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and ECONYL® yarn, a 100% regenerated nylon fiber made from nylon waste that would otherwise pollute the earth, such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, and carpet flooring. So far, their use of recycled swimwear fabrics has diverted approximately 104,975 lbs of post-consumer waste from landfills. For their resort wear, the brand also sources low-impact fabrics, including GOTS-certified organic cotton, European Flax®-certified linen, EcoVero®—a responsibly sourced viscose yarn made by Lenzing with EU Ecolabel‘s stamp of approval, recycled polyester, and hemp. Linen and organic cotton accounted for the largest percentages of fibers in their 2022 resort wear collection: 37% and 35%, respectively. peony also opts for low-impact packaging, using only recycled, compostable, and reusable materials. Their orders are wrapped in recycled, compostable, and FSC-certified tissue paper and sent in mailer bags made from waste, using only renewable solar power—no water, acid, or bleaches. Their garment components include swing tags made from recycled and FSC-certified wood, swimwear hygiene liners made from FSC-certified wood-based bioplastic, and compostable and biodegradable bags for bikini straps. Secondly, peony designs for circularity, which means that garments are made to be worn, reused, and recirculated for as long as possible. They achieve that by sourcing the highest quality fabrics and using construction techniques that extend the life of each garment. The brands also aim to create pieces that transcend seasons so you can use them in your wardrobe season after season. When a piece is at the end of its life, peony will take it back for responsible reuse or recycling. Lastly, all of peony’s printed fabrics are digitally printed, reducing fabric waste and water consumption. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

peony traces most of their suppliers. Their manufacturing partners for swimwear and resort wear hold internationally recognized certifications, including BSCI, SA8000, and OEKO-TEX®

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

peony donates excess stock and samples to Worn for Good, a social enterprise devoted to social and environmental change and the movement toward a circular economy. They also partner with Thread Together on an ongoing basis, donating “end-of-the-line” new clothing to people in their community. Some other causes supported by peony include the Queensland Paediatric Oncology Ward and the Australian Bushfire. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: swimwear tops, swimwear bottoms, bikinis, coverups, dresses, tops, skirts, pants, accessories
  • Price range: $$$ 
  • Size range: XS–3XL
7

Londre Bodywear: High-Quality Swimwear Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles 

Londre logo
Screenshot of the Londre front page

So far, we’ve taken over 1 million plastic bottles from the beaches and streets to create our swimwear, with a minimum of 6 recycled plastic bottles in every swimsuit.

Londre Bodywear

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Londre Bodywear promotes sustainability by reducing and minimizing waste. Specifically, they divert plastic bottle waste away from beaches and streets and into making fabrics for their swimwear. Their collection also comprises a high proportion of OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100-certified recycled materials. Additionally, their packaging material is minimal, compostable, and recyclable. Further down the life-cycle in the manufacturing stage, they run small production batches to minimize waste. Also, their waste reduction effort doesn’t stop after the sale. Instead, if needed, Londre Bodywear offers compensation for repair in the first year after purchase. Lastly, they strive to close the loop by designing swimsuits that can be recycled into new materials at the end of their long life

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Londre Bodywear holds their final stage of production in Canada, a low-risk region for labor abuse. They state that they pay all sewers well above the living wage. Additionally, Londre Bodywear traces most of their supply chain and visits their suppliers regularly. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Londre Bodywear has donated tens of thousands of dollars to environmental and women’s health initiatives, including Amazon Watch and The Ocean CleanUp Project. They have also partnered with other organizations involved with coral reef rejuvenation

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: swimwear, dresses, jackets, skirts, tops, plus-size
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XS–4XL
8

Wolven: Multifunctional Bikini Pieces Made From Recycled Bottles 

Logo for Wolven
Screenshot of the Wolven front page

“Sustainability to us means every decision we make is rooted in our intention to protect our planet and create a more equitable and Earth-centered future for all.”

Amanda Lapham, Co-founder of Wolven 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Wolven ensures their sustainability by sourcing a high proportion of low-impact fabrics. Specifically, all of their 2022 swimwear and activewear is made with 84% recycled polyester fabrics reclaimed from discarded plastic water bottles. Their recycled fabrics are certified with the Global Recycled Standard and OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100. Additionally, they design their clothes to be reversible and multifunctional so customers can do more and buy less. Regarding their climate impact, Wolven is certified Climate Neutral for reducing and offsetting their carbon emissions. They also reduce their impact by using emission-free renewable energy in the supply chain and at their office, opting for sea freight shipping over air freight, and recycling packaging materials to reduce waste. Regarding the necessary emissions, they compensate by investing in projects in wind energy and reforestation. Lastly, they further their commitment to circular fashion beyond using recycled material with their resale program, Wolven Pre-Loved

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Wolven only traces part of their supply chain. Their manufacturing partner is based in China and assessed by Intertek as conforming to the requirements of the Workplace Conditions Assessment

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Wolven gives back 1% of their annual revenue to nonprofit organizations. For example, each purchase from their Neutral Collection gives back to Climate Neutral through their 1% for the Planet membership. They also partner with CleanHub to organize events to pick up plastic bottles and clean up places like beaches, rivers, and canals. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear, menswear
  • Product range: one-piece swimwear, bikinis, tops, tees, sweatshirts, leggings, flares, shorts, joggers
  • Price range: $$
9

Bondi Born: Committing to Recycling Waste and Cleaning the Environment 

Logo for Bondi Born
Screenshot of the BONDI BORN front page

“Our solemn wish is that when our customers wear BONDI BORN it brings them joy, through body confidence, an elevated sense of style and the knowledge that by buying BONDI BORN they are doing what’s best for people and planet.”

Bondi Born 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Bondi Born’s sustainability effort is evident in their commitment to the longevity of their product, minimal operational waste, and carbon neutrality. Firstly, they make swimwear using three technically advanced synthetic fabrics with REACH and OEKO-TEX® certifications, which means they do not release harmful substances that can be hazardous to people’s health. In particular, the Sculpteur fabric will last up to 10 times longer than the average swimwear material. Secondly, they actively minimize textile waste by buying fabrics to order, operating in small production runs, and repurposing deadstock fabrics. Lastly, Bondi Born is certified Carbon Neutral by offsetting all their emissions in solar energy projects. Their carbon reduction incentives include shipping by sea, not by air, whenever possible, and opting for manufacturing and transporting partners who use renewable energy

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Bondi Born ensures their ethics by upholding their suppliers to a Code of Conduct, covering four of ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. They also trace part of their supply chain, including all manufacturers in the final production stage in Australia, a low-risk country for labor abuse

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Bondi Born is known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear, menswear, kidswear
  • Product range: shirts, pants, jackets, blazers, hoodies, sweatshirts, tops, blouses, knitwear, T-shirts, sneakers, accessories
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XS–XL
10

Araks: US-Made Intimate Garments 

Logo for araks
Screenshot of the Araks front page

Sustainability is a way of life for us and a journey of continuous improvement.

Araks

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Araks’s sustainability incentives are guided by reducing, reusing, and recycling their products. They design their swimwear, loungewear, and lingerie around evergreen core fabrics, meaning that excess materials can be worked into future seasons instead of discarded. These include a medium proportion of low-impact materials, such as organic cotton with GOTS and OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certifications, plant-dyed organic linen, ECONYL® (recycled nylon), and REFIBRA™ (closed-loop regenerated fibers using cotton waste). In particular, 50% of the fabrics used for swim collection are recycled nylon (instead of virgin nylon). Additionally, their swimwear pieces are designed to mix and match across seasons, enabling consumers to buy fewer pieces while using each piece more often. Further down the life-cycle in the manufacturing stage, Araks saves scraps to be reused or donated to schools and other charitable organizations. They also reduce their manufacturing environmental impacts by opting for renewable energy and water recycling in their supply chain, as well as holding the final stage of manufacturing locally in the US. Araks’s incentive to reduce doesn’t stop at the point of sale. Instead, they invest in sharing the most low-impact ways to care for garments so that they leave as small of a footprint as possible, post-purchase.

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Araks traces most of their supply chain, including all of the second and final stages of production. They share details of various mills that supply their fabrics, such as their location and sustainability certifications. Their manufacturing partners are also located in the US, a medium-risk country for labor abuse

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Araks is not known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: swimwear, loungewear, lingerie, plus-size
  • Price range: $$$ 
  • Size range: XS–XXL

Elle Evans: Bikinis Made to Order From Circular Regenerated Nylon 

Logo for Elle Evans
Screenshot of the Elle Evans front page

I knew I wanted to structure my company differently, and starting from scratch meant that sustainability could be at the heart of every decision I made.”

Elle Evans, founder of Elle Evans

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Elle Evans prioritizes sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint throughout the life-cycle of their products, from sourcing to transporting and packaging. Firstly, their fabrics have a high proportion of ECONYL® regenerated yarn from nylon waste, avoiding the high-impact virgin nylon while rescuing waste such as finishing nets from the bottom of the oceans and carpets from landfills. Further down the production line, they have their fabrics digitally printed using water-based, non-toxic inks, a process that leaves no inks discarded down drains and no washing required after printing. Afterward, the fabrics are only cut and sewn after a product is ordered to further reduce waste. The final products are wrapped in carry bags made from deadstock fabrics from Elle Evans’ studio and delivered using carbon-neutral couriers Sendle

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Elle Evans makes their products themselves in-house by the founder/owner and a small team. Regarding their materials, they trace most of their supply chain

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Elle Evans gives back by donating 1% of all their sales to the Healthy Seas Initiative, supporting their mission to protect and advocate for the seas. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear, kidswear
  • Product range: bikini tops, bikini bottoms, one-piece swimwear, tops, blouses, shorts, hats, accessories, plus-size
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XXS–XXXL
12

ColieCo: Swimwear Made Sustainably With Deadstock, Recycled, and Natural Fabrics 

Logo for Colieco
Screenshot of the Colieco front page

“We use only carefully-selected natural origin, recycled and reclaimed fabrics; manufacture to order and use intelligent garment design and cutting processes to minimise textile waste; and work with local suppliers to control our carbon footprint.”

ColieCo

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

ColieCo ensures sustainability by sourcing low-impact fabrics and packaging materials, minimizing waste, and reducing carbon emissions. Firstly, they exclusively use fabrics in one of three categories: inherently sustainable natural fabrics, primarily recycled fabrics with OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 and Global Recycled Standard certifications, and fabrics reclaimed from fashion industry deadstock, line-ends, or offcuts. Specifically, reclaimed fabrics—mesh and Lycra® made with nylon and elastane—account for the largest percentage of their fabric mix (60%). Additionally, ColieCo uses TENCELTM Lyocell and bamboo viscose, which are plant-based fabrics made in closed-loop systems. Regarding packaging, they exclusively use recycled paper and cardboard for supplies and lightweight, reusable, recycled-and-recyclable packaging for orders. All packaging is also 100% plastic-free. Secondly, ColieCo’s approach to waste reduction includes a made-to-order operation, which reduces the waste ratio from 35% (industry average) to less than 10% of all materials. They also offer a free repair service to help customers get the best of their lingerie and swimwear while keeping textiles in circulation longer before going to landfills. Lastly, they reduce energy usage and carbon emissions by designing a studio where all ColieCo garments are manufactured, which is naturally and LED lit, naturally air-conditioned, and—like their office—powered by 100% renewable energy. They also work with Carbonfund.org to offset all of our shipping-related emissions, leaving the delivery of every ColieCo order carbon-neutral

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

ColieCo holds their final manufacturing stage in-house in Sagres, Portugal, guaranteeing that all product construction and finishing workers are treated fairly, paid a full and fair living wage, and work in safe, comfortable, and discrimination-free conditions. They also trace most of their supply chain and uphold all suppliers with a Code of Ethics and Conduct that covers all of the ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

ColieCo is not known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: lingerie sets, bras, panties, swimwear
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: 2XS–3XL
13

Anekdot: Uncycled Lingerie Made With Surplus Fabrics 

Logo for Anekdot
Screenshot of the Anekdot front page

We source our superb materials from production leftovers, end of lines, offcuts, deadstock and vintage trimmings turning them into something beautiful and meaningful for your everyday life.”

Anekdot

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Anekdot ensures their sustainability by upcycling textile materials, driving textile waste toward zero, and promoting slow, considerate fashion practices. They also source materials for their apparel from production leftovers, end-of-lines, offcuts, deadstock, and vintage trimmings. For example, their Full Moon Longline Bralette is made with 90% upcycled nylon and 10% upcycled spandex, sourced from surplus in Italy. For the packaging, they recycle paper and compostable mailers that are carbon-negative, biodegradable, and partly made from corn starch. No plastics whatsoever! Secondly, Anekdot sources their materials first and designs later to maximize fabric use. They cut around small defects and create their patterns in a way that minimizes offcuts, striving for zero-waste production. Furthermore, small textile scraps are used to make small accessories, special patchwork projects, and pilling for pillows. Lastly, they set an example of boycotting fast fashion by operating a made-to-order system, making their apparel seasonless, and using Black Friday to shed light on the consequences of short-lived impulse purchases and consumption from mass-producing, cheap fashion brands

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Anekdot visits their suppliers regularly. Their manufacturing partners are also all located in the EU, a low/medium-risk region for labor abuse.

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Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Anekdot donates their textile surplus to art and education refugee projects at Tempelhof Airport and S27. During the Black Friday week of 2020, they donated 10% of their sales to Drip by Drip to install bio-sand filters for communities in Bangladesh, so they could access clean drinking water. 

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What is their product range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: swimwear, bra tops, underpants, loungewear, accessories
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: XS–XL

Why Is It Important to Buy Products Made of More Sustainable Fabrics

It is important to buy products made from more sustainable fabrics because a sustainable textile industry has a lower carbon footprint, helps save natural resources, and is better for forests, animals, and humans alike. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Reduces Your Carbon Footprint 

The production of clothing and footwear is estimated to contribute 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions—more than all international flights and shipping combined. If the fashion industry were a country, it would be the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide

One way to reduce the carbon footprint of the clothes you buy is to opt for sustainable fabrics. Sustainable fabrics, which are often made with natural or recycled fibers, have relatively low carbon footprints compared to petroleum-based fabrics. For example, organic cotton made in the US has a carbon footprint of 2.35 kg CO2 (per ton of spun fiber)—a quarter of polyester’s carbon footprint.

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Reduces Demand for Natural Resources and Waste Management

The textile industry uses water and land to grow cotton and other fibers. It is estimated that 79 billion cubic meters of water were used for the sector worldwide in 2015. For example, producing a single cotton T-shirt requires as much water as one person drinks for 2.5 years (2,700 liters of fresh water).

Worse yet, the textile economy is vastly more linear than circular: the largest amount of resources used in clothes ended up in landfills (instead of being recycled to remake clothes). According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation,

  • Less than 3% of materials used in the textile economy in 2015 came from recycled sources.
  • In other words, more than 97% of resources used in making clothes are newly extracted. 

When clothing items are disposed of within a short period of time—under a year in the case of half of the fast fashion clothes—the natural systems that provide raw materials for fabrics don’t have enough time to recover and regenerate, which could lead to ecological breakdown. 

Sustainable fabrics are made with less water and emissions while lasting longer:

  • Because they are durable, you don’t need to buy new clothes too often. 
  • Thus, you help reduce the pressure to extract more resources for making new items. 

Similarly, making and consuming sustainable fabrics made with recycled materials reduces the demand for virgin materials while helping tackle waste management. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Sustainable Management of Forests

Sustainable plant-based fabrics are made with raw materials from forests and plantations that are sustainably managed, such as complying with FSC standards

When you buy sustainable plant-based fabrics, you discourage unsustainable forestry practices like illegal logging. You can help reduce deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the effects of climate change. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Fairer Treatment of Animals 

The fashion industry is rife with animal mistreatment when it comes to making animal-based fabrics like wool or silk. Every year, billions of animals suffer and die for clothing and accessories.

Buying sustainable vegan alternatives can help to reduce the pressure on raising more and more animals to meet the demand for animal-based fabrics while sacrificing their well-being and lives. 

Suppose you have to buy fabrics made with, for example, wool or silk; make sure you only choose brands committed to cruelty-free products. In that case, you help advocate better treatments for animals raised within the textile industry. 

Using Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Fairer Treatment of Textile Workers 

Recent statistics from UNICEF estimated as many as 170 million child laborers worldwide, many of whom were engaged in some form of work in the textile industry. They don’t get paid minimum wages and often work long hours. 

When you buy sustainable fabrics from brands transparent about the working conditions at their factories, you discourage the use of child labor and help promote better working conditions for textile workers.

How Can You Generally Buy More Sustainable Fabrics

The key to sustainably buying fabrics is to check on relevant environmental and original certifications. 

For natural fabrics

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): A globally recognized certification system that ensures a certain threshold of organic content has been met. It covers manufacturing, packaging, labeling, transportation, and distribution (but not what happens in the fields where crops are grown). 
  • USDA Certified Biobased Product: The USDA BioPreferred® Certification is a voluntary certification offered by the United States Department of Agriculture. The certification identifies products made from plants or other renewable materials.
  • Ecolabel: Ecolabel is the official European Union voluntary label recognized worldwide for certified products with a guaranteed, independently verified low environmental impact. The label requires high environmental standards throughout the entire life-cycle: from raw material extraction through production and distribution to disposal. It also encourages companies to develop innovative, durable, easy-to-repair, and recyclable products. 

For plant-based semi-natural/semi-synthetic fabrics:

  • Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification: PEFC’s approaches to sustainable forest management are in line with protecting the forests globally and locally and making the certificate work for everyone. Getting a PEFC certification is strict enough to ensure the sustainable management of a forest is socially just, ecologically sound, and economically viable but attainable not only by big but small forest owners.

For recycled fabrics:

  • Recycled Claim Standard (RCS): The Textile Exchange RCS was originally developed as an international, voluntary standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled input and chain of custody. 
  • The Global Recycled Standard (GRS): The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled Content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. It can be used for any product with more than 20% recycled material.

For all types of fabrics:

  • STeP by OEKO-TEX®: STeP by OEKO-TEX® is an independent certification system for brands, retailers, and manufacturers from the textile and leather industry. It communicates organizational environmental measures, including reducing carbon footprint and water usage.
  • OEKO-TEX® Standard 100: OEKO-TEX® labels aim to ensure that products pose no risk to human health (i.e. containing banned chemicals). 

Some certifications that are signaling brands’ efforts toward lowered environmental impacts and a circular economy are: 

  • B Corp Certification: The label B Corp is a certification reserved for for-profit companies. Certified holders are assessed on their social and environmental impacts. 
  • Cradle2Cradle certification: Cradle2Cradle provides a standardized approach to material circularity. It assesses whether products have been suitably designed and made with the circular economy in mind covering five critical categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. 

Final Thoughts

Bikinis are often a high-impact category of swimwear—and clothing in general—due to the materials conventionally used for elasticity and support. Thus, it is important to shop with ethics and sustainability in mind when choosing your next bikini. 

By purchasing bikinis from brands that commit to sustainability, you support their mission to create a fairer and less harmful textile industry for all lives on Earth. 

Here is the list (again) of the most sustainable bikini brands: 

  • Vitamin A 
  • lemlem
  • Stay Wild
  • Underprotection
  • NATASHA TONIC
  • peony
  • Londre Bodywear
  • Woven
  • Bondi Born
  • Araks
  • Elle Evans
  • ColieCo
  • Anekdot

To make your use of these clothing items even more sustainable, follow these steps:

  1. Keep your bikinis for as long as possible.
  2. At the end-of-life of your bikini pieces, upcycle the materials to extend their usage and arrange for them to be recycled or properly disposed of.

Stay impactful,



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