Our Guide to the Best Ethical Swimwear.

What is Ethical Swimwear and or Sustainable Swimwear?

In this article you will find out the latest brands that offer the comfiest, stylish and most practical ethical swimwear as well as really understanding whether a brand is considered ethical.

Recently we have been looking into sustainable period wear and we’ve found a great brand called WUKA (wake up kick ass). This company is exactly what we at the Littlest Vegan love – they also have released sustainable period bikini bottoms so not only are their products produced ethically and sustainably but you can now swim whilst on your period. Click here to find out more. 

Why is my Swimsuit not Ethical? 

Looking forward to that looming summer holiday and looking for your favourite bikini? Well guess what that bikini is most likely made from plastic. Not the good recycled kind but the plastic that harms and damages our environment. Our trendy bikinis that come into fashion and swiftly go out, tend to be made with nylon, polyester and spandex as they are well suited to swimwear as the material is stretchy and comfortable. This material is easy to make and relatively cheap which is why it has and continues to be so popular for many companies and with our tendency for this fast fashion. 

Why is my Swimwear not Sustainable? 

When we buy swimsuit after swimsuit for each year’s upcoming summer holiday we are encouraging and supporting this fast fashion industry. Throwing last year’s favourite bikini out and purchasing a new one. Your new swimsuit has been made with plastic which as most of us know is not biodegradable. This means your 2 week bikini will never decompose. So from the start of production to the very end your swimwear is a problem. It also releases microfibres when it is washed in a washing machine as a side note make sure you invest in a guppy bag as this is a great way to help reduce microfibers going into our water sources. Bare in mind that your swimwear is unlikely to need a wash in the washing machine and could be hand washed which would also limit the amount of microfibres being released. 

Luckily there are a number of brands that are becoming more and more vigilant and aware of the environmental factors that we are having on the environment and small niche companies as well as larger ones are creating sustainable swimwear which we would consider to be ethical swimwear. 

What does Ethical mean?

If something is ethical it means that it is morally right. When we consider this term alongside clothing and in this case swimwear. We would look into how the product has been manufactured – for more information on ethical manufacturers look at our other post on Ethical Manufacturers

We would consider the impact on the environment, if any animals were harmed in the making of the garment and or if any animal products would have been used during any of the processes to make it. After that ethical would also link to the work place where the clothing would be being produced and how fairly the workers were being paid. SO there are few different criterias to consider. 

Ethical, Eco Friendly and Sustainable Swimwear are they all the same? 

In short, yes. We would consider that if something is labelled ethical, sustainable and  or eco friendly that it is likely to be vegan and therefore these terms are relatively interchangeable. If you are vegan and have extremely strong morals then you would want to double check some of the criterias but companies that are promoting a product as being ethical, eco friendly or sustainable are companies who pride themselves on doing the right thing and therefore all of the ones that we have come across would be considered Vegan. 

Which Materials are Considered to be Ethical? 

Companies and brands that state that their bikini or swimwear is ethical, eco friendly or sustainable are likely to be using ECONYL – this is a material that has been created by recycling synthetic waste. This waste which may have come from waste fabric, fishing nets, plastic bottles is then recycled and woven into their own material which is like a new nylon yarn. Many smaller niche companies are adopting this technique recycling these waste materials to create new nylon materials. 

Ethical Swimwear brands: 

  • Charlie Mae 
  • Reformation
  • Tropic of C 
  • Align 
  • Vitamine A
  • Casa Raki 
  • Bower
  • Paper London
  • Tide + Seek
  • Posidonie 
  • Alyned together 
  • Mara Hoffman 
  • prAna 
  • Seea 
  • Outerknown
  • Davy J 
  • Sezane 
  • Stay Wild 

Our Top Ethical Swimwear Brands for Men: 

  • Outerknown Apex Board Short 
  • The Tropics Roo Trunk 
  • Fair Harbor Nautilus Boardshort 
  • Patagonia Stretch WaveFarer Boardshort
  • Riz Burgh Boardshort 
  • Everlane Boardshort 
  • United by Blue Shoreline Scallop Boardshort 
  • Finisterre Maris Shorts
  • Prana High Seas Boardshort 
  • Ecoalf Swim Shorts Portofino 
  • Vissla Stealth Boardshort 
  • Toad & Co Cetacean Block Boardshort 
  • Alternative Apparel Mollusk Ojai Trunks 
  • Cotopaxi Tola Swim Shorts 


Is Cupshe ethical?

Yes, Cupshe is currently considered to be ethical.  

Where can I buy an ethical swimsuit?

These days there are lots of places that you can buy an ethical swimsuit – you just need to do your research. Head over to the goodtrade to find  out some upto date ethical swimwear essentials. At the Littlest Vegan our favourite places to buy ethical swimwear  are Stay Wild Swim and Davy J Waterwear 

What is sustainable swimwear?

Sustainable Swimwear is where the swimwear has been made ethically and where they have used sustainable materials in most cases companies have used a material called Econyl which is where plastics have been recycled to create this new material. There are plenty of sustainable swimwear options for this summer.

Is Summersalt ethical?

Yes, Summersalt is an ethical and sustainable company with some great ethical swimwear pieces to get you ready for your summer holidays. 

Summary… So can you buy ethical swimwear?

Yes we can buy ethical swimwear, whether a company is fully ethical or just  has a few products that have been ethically made, there are definitely options out there. When it comes to buying ethical swimwear there are plenty of companies that are making the switch. Big companies but also lots of small companies that you can support who are trying to make that change, and you really do get what you pay for. We all need to start making a change and instead of endlessly fueling this fast fashion look into buying products that have been made ethically and sustainably, where you are paying for quality and can feel a sense of pride that you are contributing to a smaller business that is making some great changes. 

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