Summer is finally here and we couldn’t be more ready to frolic in the waves and relax on the beach. As ocean-lovers, the future of our seas and marine life is at the forefront of our minds so there’s no better way to kick back than in some stunning, sustainable swimwear.
We’ve looked high and low to find the most sustainable swimwear labels around that are ocean-friendly and will have you feeling great all summer long.
Made from recycled nylon, and delivered in reusable calico bikini bags and compostable shipping satchels, Seafolly’s eco collections are a solid pick for summer. For that enviable surfer style, you can’t go wrong with their long-sleeved surf suit, with added sun protection to boot; and their La Palma bralette and bikini bottom is summer incarnate.
Considering swimming with your period but don’t want to inadvertently end up in a Jaws movie? The struggle is real but, luckily, so is Modibodi’s range of ethically-made swimwear for periods.
Modibodi uses ‘Modifer Technology’ so you can skip the liners, pads and tampons (which are super problematic when they end up in landfills and waterways) so you never have to miss out on a beach day.
The range is made from recycled fabric and includes one-piece, high-waisted and regular bikini briefs.
Image credit: Nisa | Instagram
Nisa means ‘women’ in Arabic and for this label, it stands for solidarity. Made with dead stock fabrics in Wellington by refugee women, Nisa’s ethical essentials are exquisitely designed making Nisa one of the best swimwear labels to wear this summer. We’re in love with their entire range but, at a pinch, we couldn’t go past their ‘Hayley’ eco rash top with multi-coloured ‘gelato’ seams.
Māori-owned business, Unde, is an underwear brand that has branched out into swimwear. This summer they’re releasing a brand new range of swimwear made from ribbed recycled nylon in pink, yellow, bright blue, navy, black and white colourways.
Styles include one-piece, high-waisted briefs, boy shorts, soft bralette tops, v bralette tops, boob tube tops and big boob bralette tops (for DD cup and over) and range in size from XS to 9XL. Each piece is made to order with the brand offering regular pre-order releases. Keep an eye on their socials to catch their next drop.
Made to help you embrace life’s pure and extraordinary pleasures, Lady Waves drops small-batch (or ‘waves’, if you will) of limited edition wetsuits that look great and don’t cost a bomb.
Designed in Piha and made with upcycled vintage, deadstock fabrics and kinder-to-the-earth alternatives, each suit is designed to last, no matter how many waves you catch. And the cherry on the cake? Free shipping, worldwide.
Image credit: Astroprincess | Instagram
The self-described “embodiment of some sort of sexy, eccentric, carnivalesque dream”, Astroprincess is swimwear like you’ve never before experienced and it's, hands down, one of the best swimwear labels to wear in New Zealand this summer.
Designed, cut, painted and hand sewn in Wellington, these babies are made to order and take 1-4 weeks to be magicked into existence. Step onto the beach with a bang, then hit da club as the moon rises.
Handmade across the ditch from recycled ECONYL Italian lycra, $1 from every Salt order is donated to Sustainable Coastlines to help clean up Aotearoa’s oceans and waterways.
Salt uses acid-free tissue paper printed using soy-based ink for their packaging, recycled plastic reusable pouches and hang tags made from recycled paper. We love that their one-pieces are just as comfy and flattering as their bikinis.
Seer & Wilde
Sustainably-focused local label, Seer & Wilde, creates effortlessly feminine pieces that help the wearer feel more connected to themselves and mother nature.
Each piece is made ethically in Indonesia from regenerated nylon and polyester fibre, and most tops are pregnancy and breastfeeding-friendly. We love that this label values connection, freedom and acceptance.
Australian darling, Woven Sun, formally known for vintage velour ‘fits has dropped a swimwear line. This retro swim set in mushroom flower is made with 85% recycled polyester and is UPF50+, as perfect for sunbathing as it is for frolicking in the waves.
Each item is made to order in Australia so it might take a minute to reach you, but it’ll be worth the wait. Best paired with skates and an old-school walkman.
Sea Level Swim Australia
Sea Level Australia is all about a contemporary, curve-accentuating take on swimwear. Each piece is made from 50% quick-drying regenerated nylon and strikes a balance between minimalism and luxury. We can't wait to shimmy into this bold Deco print-stamped matching bra and pants set.
There’s something about Thunderpants that feels laid back and confident—perfect for relaxed summer vibes.
The small, family-owned and operated label based in the Wairarapa makes ethical swimwear (among other things) from recycled nylon and polyester thread processed from fishing nets, carpets and other pre-and post-consumer plastic waste.
There is a reality where you can jump through the waves without the anxiety of your togs falling; cue the faithful one piece. But practical doesn't have to be a snooze-fest—Fitness Parley Allover print one piece in legend ink and dark blue is a party in its own right (more so because it’s made with ECONYL). With this super practical suit on your bod you’ll be able to rave in the waves without the fear of flashing.
Baku is well known in swimwear circles for its exquisitely-made togs and their eco range comes in a variety of styles and colours. Made with ultra-soft, recycled stretch fabric with UV, chlorine and sun cream-resistant properties, we love the flattering Rococco Longline One Piece Swimsuit.
Priding itself on creating socially conscious and ethically made swimwear for the modern multi-tasked human who respects sustainability, all Salty Sea collections use sustainable fabrics and biodegradable packaging.
Sort yourself out with a classic set for summer, choosing from fun colourways like tangerine, lime, caramel, pacific and black olive.
Auckland-based, Italo-Brazilian-designed, AURAI SWIM is eco, ethical and fun. Take their ‘Positano’ 8-in-1 reversible top, for instance. It’s made with Anni Eco Soul-CO2 control, the first biodegradable polyamide in the world is manufactured in Brazil using reclaimed water and is rated UPF 80+ for all the fun times with none of the burn.
The summer 2023 collection by Bond-Eye Swimwear uses regenerated nylon from production by-products. Each piece is cut to ensure minimal waste with any scraps being recycled into new materials, and their Australian factory uses solar energy to tie-dye (normally a high-energy practice). This Sasha crop is as cute as it is fun to say.
Australian swimwear label, Gemma Lee, is a leader in sustainable swimwear. Their togs are made of 100% recycled materials and include compostable hygiene liners.
Their wetsuits are made from limestone-based neoprene to keep you warm while being lighter and more eco-conscious than old-school wetsuits which are made with heavy, limited stretch petroleum-based materials.
We’ve all struggled to get into, or peel off a wetsuit—we’re endlessly grateful that Gemma Lee is making this a thing of the past.
Working with local mills committed to sustainable manufacturing practices, nabbing a swimsuit from the JETS print collections is a vote for sustainability as well as feeling great on the beach. This collection is made from a fabric called RENEW PLUS which uses ECONYL. Our fave set? The lunar stripe ultra high waist pants and minimal bandeau top.
Got your togs and now you're ready to hit the beach? Click here for your ultimate guide to the best beaches in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Main image credit: Nisa | Woven Sun | Lady Waves
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