Reclaim the ocean with recycled materials
Take the headache out of your search with this article listing ethical swimwear brands who use sustainable materials, have ethical production supply chains and pay workers above living wage salaries.
‘Activewear for Activists’.
‘A social enterprise for women powered by women.’
RubyMoon is a not-for-profit brand using ocean waste to make ethical swim and activewear. They donate 100% of profits into micro loans for women entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities. In fact, they are the only not-for-profit swimwear company that we’re aware of!
We just want to repeat that: THEY DONATE ALL NET PROFITS TO FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS.
One of their key pieces, the ‘Yasmeen Rash Vest’ is named after Yasmeen Zain All-Deen, a 27 year old who runs a hairdressing salon in Palestine. She requested a loan to buy new equipment that will cost more than $5,000, and she plans to hire more women. Just one example of the micro loans provided to women in 14 developing countries by RubyMoon.
Swimwear is chlorine and salt water-resistant, with long term shape retention and UPF 50+ Protection. PETA-Approved Vegan and Oeko-Tex certified.
With slow fashion principles in mind, they design versatile, affordable pieces to be easily combined within a capsule wardrobe.
Compared with similar products they have demonstrated they produce 42% less carbon emissions.
- RubyMoon have a transparent supply chain with ethical and safe manufacturing from the UK and Spain.
- Their environmental footprint is reduced through the use of 100% recycled and biodegradable mailing bags. They don’t use priority mail to send items, reducing emissions further.
- They are a registered Community Interest Company and have integrated the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into the business structure and operating methods.
- Designs are donated by a local artist.
RubyMoon shows commitment to a circular economy business model. They’re a shining example of a Social Enterprise. Check out their website here.
Baiia aim to be ‘leaders of compassion in women’s fashion’ throughout all business processes.
An Australian conscious sustainable swimwear brand, Baiia was started in Brisbane by design student Amber Boyers.
‘Baiia’ means ‘one who has the capacity to change the world for the better.”
- Baiia Swimwear has reversible designs for variety without over-consumption.
- Made from recycled nylon 6 (from 100% regenerated waste materials) and certified by Oeko-Tex and Clear to Wear.
- Fabric dyes are water-based and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified. Free from harmful PVC and phthalates.
Baiia promote asking the question ‘who made my swimsuit?’ And they are transparent with their supply chain information.
- All swimwear is handmade in a caring factory in Guangzhou, China. The lowest paid worker receives triple the Guangzhou minimum wage. Workers are not paid on the amount they produce meaning they are encouraged to hand make the swimwear slowly, carefully and sustainably.
- Employees are provided with free transportation and housing options, medical insurance and paid leave (including sick leave, maternity leave and 60 days of annual leave per year).
- They uphold a strictly no child labor policy with youngest worker being 18.
- The Baiia team regularly visit the factories to ensure fair standards and working conditions are in place.
- Items are shipped in a complimentary hemp drawstring bag and a compostable outer satchel.
- Inclusive design – flattering for everyone. Adjustable wrap suits for any figure.
- They sponsor various charitable projects in Guangzhou including age-care homes and earthquake relief.
10% of profits are donated to charities. Their website states the charities are changing soon. Currently the focus is on environmental conservation and education for women and girls in underprivileged communities.
Check out the Baiia website here.
3. Riz Board Shorts
A brand making ethical and sustainable swimwear for men. Their board shorts are quick-drying and durable with triple stitched fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
They recommend washing their shorts in Guppyfriend wash bags (and they stock them) to prevent microfiber pollution from going into waterways.
- Riz is a certified B Corp upholding a high standard of ethical accountability.
- Each pair of shorts is small batch made in Portugal. Visits occur annually to the factory and they have used the same factory for a long time.
- Digital printing occurs in the UK.
- 1% of sales are donated to the Marine Conservation Society.
- They offer a 25% discount on new board shorts when you donate any unwanted shorts for them to repair, recycle or rehome.
Check out more on Riz here.
Patagonia is a company with a long-standing focus on lowering their environmental impact. They:
- Specialise in using sustainable fibers – organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester or nylon.
- Offer reversible swimwear giving you two options for the price and resources of one.
- Offer board shorts for men – made from quick-drying 100% recycled nylon and offering 50+SPF sun protection.
- Are easy to find at most outdoor retailers
We love Patagonia’s track record when it comes to seeking better environmental solutions for their products. We also love that they were one of the first major businesses to provide on-site childcare in the United States!
- Patagonia are Fair Trade Certified and workers are paid a living wage.
- They track and publicly share their full manufacturing process for supply chain transparency.
- Regularly visit factories to ensure fair work practices.
- Apply an ‘earth tax’ giving 1% of every sale to environmental groups.
- Invest in Regenerative Organic practices – to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Run the Worn Wear program – where you can buy second-hand items.
Patagonia is very honest about there being a way to go in some areas of the business, and clear on how they plan to get there. This level of transparency is encouraging.
When choosing an ethical brand to buy swimwear from, keep an eye out for:
- Transparency around supply chain and labor practices
- Garments made from non-virgin recycled synthetic fibers (swimwear is unlikely at this stage to be made from more sustainable or biodegradable fabrics)
- Inclusive sizing and styles and promotion of positive body image
- Giving back through supporting social or environmental initiatives
- Added bonus if swimwear is small-batch made.
And, importantly – enjoy exploring these exciting ethical swimwear brands.
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