The beach, surf and swimming in general plays such a large part in shaping Australian culture given the country’s sunny climate, and these outdoor vibes means most Aussies are intrinsically connected to the ocean and the impact they have on it.
As Aussies increasingly become more conscious of their environmental impacts, brands are meeting their green demands by creating swimwear made of eco-friendly and recycled fibres sourced from discarded fishing nets – dealing with the marine pollution problem and using less virgin materials at the same time.
If you have a penchant for soaking up sunrays by the water but don’t want to f*ck up our environment, our list of Australian ethically-made and sustainable swimwear brands is for you.
1. Bondi Born
Australian born and made, Bondi Born is a premium swimwear brand sewn in Sydney with a belief that quality and values are never compromised. Along with being responsibly made in Australia, the brand holds a strong focus on quality of fabrics (those that feel luxurious but are ethically sourced) and use advanced technology for superior fit, feel and longevity.
2. LE BUNS
LE BUNS is a Melbourne based eco-conscious swim label with a focus on sustainable innovation and ethical manufacturing. Their swimwear collections are exclusively designed with innovative reconstructed recycled fibres upcycled from plastic sourced from fishing ropes and nets that would otherwise be polluting oceans and endangering wildlife.
3. Salt Gypsy
This Byron Bay based label is known for its bright and patterned swim pieces. For the past four years Salt Gypsy has been utilising regenerated nylon fabrics in their designs. We love their range of rashguards and surf leggings, which are often hard to come by from conscious brands. This brand is perfect for style-conscious beach goers and surfer gals.
4. Vege Threads
Vege Threads is most commonly a go-to for their simply designed ethically-made organic underwear and basics, but now this Australian brand’s range of eco-friendly swimwear made from recycled Italian nylon – a blend of 78 per cent nylon and Xtra Life Lycra is gaining in popularity too.
BAIIA have partnered with a manufacturer in China with high ethical and sustainable values for their production, one that prioritises the welfare and well-being of its seamstresses and mindful of its environmental impact. Its fabric supplier uses a highly efficient industrial system for the production of Nylon 6 which is from 100% regenerated waste materials like carpets, plastic bottles and fishing nets. BAIIA also uses water-based dyes that are Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) certified, OEKO-TEX® certified and CLEAR TO WEAR certified.
6. May & Hugo
May & Hugo pieces are ethically designed and made in Australia, with a core value of complete transparency using recycled nylon and polyester-fibre fabrics in their pieces.
Handmade using sustainable fabric ECONYL® Regenerated Nylon yarn, Shapes in the Sand focus on being environmentally-friendly through all stages of creating their collections. Locally printed fabrics are created with a method that uses no harsh chemicals and the brand even aims to go zero waste by upcycling offcuts and remnant fabrics into hair scrunchies and accessories. Even their packaging materials are eco-friendly, down to non-toxic inks on their swing tags.
Seapia choose their fabrics based on their impact on the environment, the Australian made swimwear brand looks to fabrics created by new technologies that reclaim discarded plastics. Collaborating with local artists for their exclusive prints, the brand’s ethos is to produce swimwear that has a respect for our planet and celebrates of its soul through continually aiming to reduce their waste and carbon footprint.
Camp Cove Swim is a super cool swimwear label well known for their retro styles and exclusive in-house designed prints. Their collections are ethically-produced in small batches on the south coast of Australia from fabrics printed in Australia. The brand also incorporate recycled fabrics into the lining of their swimwear. Especially loving their inclusive and diverse photo shoots featuring women of all sizes and shapes!
10. She Made Me
Working with local artisans in Bali She Made Me creates handmade crochet swimwear produced in limited quantities. With the intention of the pieces being timeless and instilling confidence in the women who wear them, She Made Me aims to celebrate the artisanal tradition and value of human touch.
11. OceanZen Bikini
Sustainable swimwear label OceanZen Bikini was founded by Queensland-based environmental scientist Steph Gabriel and like many other eco-friendly swim products, is made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets from the ocean.
“I wanted a voice for sustainability, but I didn’t want to go down the scientific research path. OceanZen Bikini is completely built around a strong foundation for sustainability and marine conservation.” – Steph Gabriel tells Collective Hub.
Swimwear is quite new for this ethical fashion label, launching their first swimwear collection in October of last year. In true Kowtow style their swimwear comes in organic shapes and pops of colour using ECONYL, a regenerated nylon made from pre and post-consumer waste such as discarded fishing nets. While not technically an Australian brand but a New Zealand one, they’ve been so popular and accessible in the land down under it makes sense to keep them on this list).
Along with these conscious swimwear brands are some cult following brands that deserve special mentions because they are finally bringing sustainable values and supply chain transparency into their businesses (yay!):
Spell & The Gypsy Collective are well known for their bohemian styles and prints and are fast becoming known (and commended) for their use of sustainable fabrics and increasing transparency of their supply chain. The brand sources sustainable fibres for their swim pieces including ECONYL yarn made from 78% recycled nylon. You can read more about their sustainable fabrics on their website.
Tigerlily are making ethical sourcing and sustainability as an integral part of their brand, implementing changes that reflect these new priorities. Last year the brand committed close to 50 percent of all their swimwear being made using recycled fibres. It also introduced new compostable packaging for all online orders. Great start to a sustainable journey Tigerlily!
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Title image credit: Camp Cove Swim.