Sustainable swimwear brands for perfecting poolside style
In celebration of Earth Day (22 April 2021), we make a splash with the most standout sustainable swimwear brands
When you slip into your swimmers we recommend an eco-aware choice, from brands that operate using a low carbon footprint, use recycled materials or create long lasting silhouettes. Enter sustainable swimwear brands Hunza G, Evarae, Ack, Away that Day and Ohoy Swim, ensuring you’ll sunbathe with a eco-aware attitude this summer.
‘I was looking for tones that were warm and uplifting but a step away from neons, which we did last year,’ says co-founder and creative director Georgiana Huddart of the burnt reds, lavenders, emeralds and turquoises in the brand’s latest Majorelle collection, which nods to the tones favoured by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. The offering includes elegant strapless swimsuits and hoop-detail asymmetric bikinis, crafted in the London brand’s signature crinkle effect fabric, which is knitted in the United Kingdom’s Midlands.
Hunza G has long been a proponent of sustainable design, an ethos only emphasised in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘It’s really highlighted our need to modernise,’ says Huddart. The label hosts a monthly Conscious Club meeting for its small team, looking at ways to innovate in an environmentally aware way. In a bid to reduce waste, offcuts from the brand’s designs are transformed into headbands and scrunchies, packaging right down to hygenie labels is sustainable and recylable, and the label operates a no-plastic office. From 20221, it will also introduce a recycled nylon yarn. ‘Sustainability is about changing the mindset right from the core of a company rather than just in a perforative way to sell your products,’ Huddart says. ’It’s exciting to see what can be achieved if everyone works together.’
Searching for a little Italianate inspiration? Sustainable swimwear label Evarae produces its versatile and subtly-detailed designs in an atelier near Lake Como. The label’s Move.Dance.Swim collection has a hybrid sensibility, featuring swimming costumes, bralettes and leggings, allowing wearers to move seamlessly from say, a Pilates class to poolside. One-pieces feature feminine puffed sleeves, two-tone fabrics and frilled details.
A respect for the environment lies at the heart of the brand, which creates its pieces using Econyl, an upcycled yarn formed from the ocean’s plastic waste, including carpet and water bottles. What’s more, the label employs sustainable manufacturing practices, from waste-reducing digital printing to recycled paper clothing tags. 2% of Evarae’s online sales are donated to selected charities each month, ensuring the label gives back to environmental and social projects close to its heart.
The label’s rhinestone-sparkling acid-hued bikinis have enchanted Instagram, but its founders are committed to more longevity that an fleeting Like. ‘Being sustainable is a way of life, not a sales tool,’ says Rebecca Larsson, who founded the label in 2017 with Alessandra Scorletti. The label does not have a bricks-and-mortar office, creates its swimwear by hand in Italy in small facilities and has total control of its supply chain. ‘Everything we do, from the conception of a product to its distribution, supports our local economy,’ says Scorletti, the former creative director of cult sunglasses label Retrosuperfuture.
‘The aim was not only representing women in their real natural forms, but also enhancing their beauty,’ adds Larsson of Ack’s brand mantra. This translates to disco detail bikinis, metallic bi-colour balconette tops with floral hardware and kaleidoscopic tie-dye swimsuits with seductive cut-outs. Larsson found a series of marble caves around her hometown in Tuscany to shoot a recent series of images, featuring models surrounded by figurative sculptures. ‘We are one of the unique regions in Italy to have both the sea and the mountains in the same context,’ she says. ‘Even though I love the sea and the beach I’ve never felt it was a first pick for shooting locations.’
Away that Day
Fit is of the upmost importance to Ingemae Kotze, founder of the two year old sustainable swimwear brand. ‘When I fit samples on my sisters and friends, I can instantly tell what makes them feel confident,’ she says. Away that Day’s Palma bikini top is a buyer’s favourite, featuring U-detail hardware, and uplifting shirred details. Bold tones, bow-details and exotic prints also inform the flattering designs, which are inspired by travel destinations from Sorrento to Havana, Rio to Palma. ‘The colour of a single flower can also influence a whole collection,’ adds Kotze.
Away that Day’s swimwear is designed in London and manufactured by a family run supplier in Bali, which specialises in Ecoynl, an upcycled yarn created from plastic waste dredged from the oceans. The brand’s packaging is also plastic free, and for S/S 2020, Kotze is developing a collection created using bamboo.
‘We often look at images of our mothers in their youth for inspiration,’ says Anna Maria Nielsen, one half of Ohoy Swim, who founded the brand in 2016, with fellow Scandinavian and Dubai-based Henna Kaarlelah. The duo are inspired by outdoors activities, from surfing to diving, creating pieces which are comfort-focused, but do not look like activewear. Low back swimsuits and bandeau bikini tops have a sensual, subtly sporty sensibility, and the brand also highlights the bow detail as a style signature. ‘It allows different body sizes to adjust fit simply,’ Nielsen says.
Ohoy Swim manufactures its swimwear in a Sri Lankan factory which took six months to find, which it directly supplies with Econyl from Italy. ‘We travelled to the island for surf trips, and while we were there, we discovered it is well known for its swimwear manufacturing,’ Nielsen adds. For spring, the brand has launched ‘Trails’, a collection inspired by the tones of nature, featuring Ohoy Swim’s first print, a Pointillist floral design. §