Make Waves this Winter in Stylish and Sustainable Swimwear

6 mins

From bikinis to swimsuits, here’s our favourite selection of eco-conscious swimwear so you can make a style splash. By Anthea Ayache

Whether you’re off on a weekend staycation or attending a brunch pool party, finding the perfect-fitting swimwear for the occasion is a must. But how about finding one with eco-credentials too? Thankfully, with the world’s mounting interest in all things sustainable, there are more swimwear brands taking on the eco-challenge, creating bikinis and one pieces that not only make you feel downright gorgeous but that also treat the planet with respect. (Think no poor labour practices, intensive fabric production, or pollution)

So, with no further ado, we’ve shored up a selection of stylish swimwear brands that use eco-friendly fibres and ethical manufacturing practices for you to choose from. And yes, two of them are UAE home-grown eco brands.

Ohoy Swim

 Hazy Days sustainable swimwear

Ohoy Swim beachwear is made using recycled fishing nets and marine plastic debris. Image: Supplied

Based | Dubai, UAE/Sweden

Eco-Credentials | Made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles

Products | Swimsuits

Price Range | AED319 to AED383

Where to Purchase in UAE |

Ohoy Swim. Hazy days collection. Image: Supplied

Inspired by the idea of reusing something found in the sea to create clothing made from and for the ocean, Scandinavian founders and avid surfers, Henna and Anna, wanted to bring their homeland’s popular simplistic design ethos to sustainable swimwear. The Dubai-based pair discovered fabric made from recycled fishing nets and marine plastic debris through a company in Italy that specialises in spinning yarn from recycled plastic bottles and Dutch NGO, Ghost Fishing dedicated to collecting old fishing nets littering the ocean. (Every year innumerable dolphins, seals, whales, sharks and turtles die due to entanglement in the discarded nets). 100 per cent stylish-sustainability aside, these stunningly simple swimsuits are designed to last. According to real life tests undertaken by the company, the recycled luxurious Italian fabric is twice as resistant to chlorine, sun creams and oils than most other fabrics. And as for ethics, they even have an open-door policy to their UAE factory so clients can at any time, witness their fair and friendly working conditions.


Phemke swimwear

Phemke uses only sustainable fibres such as organic cotton and linen, while its dyes are 100 per cent natural. Image: Supplied

Based | Dubai, UAE

Eco-Credentials | 100 per cent hand made by indigenous populations

Products | Swimwear and beach accessories

Price Range | Wide range of beach accessories but swimwear starts at AED642

Where to Purchase in UAE |

Phemke swimwear is 100 per cent handmade by indigenous populations. Image: Supplied

Phemke, founded in Spring 2016, is a slow fashion line that is ethically made from only natural materials, that empowers women and local communities while honouring artisanal craftsmanship throughout the world. This homegrown new kid on the beach, values transparency in the manufacturing chain highly and so, works with small, family run businesses who treat their employees well while ensuring fair wages. Dubai-based Founder and Director, Femke Speelman has travelled to 50 countries, where she has been able to source beautiful items from some of the world’s most remote areas. The company’s sustainable jute beach bags, for example, are handmade by divorced or widowed women in Bangladesh, their straw bags and hats are made in Madagascar via a small business which employs women in the rural villages. Femke is also collaborating to work with Afghan women on stunning hand-made scarves.

But it’s not only ethics at the core of this company, Phemke the brand focusses on the right fabrics and materials too.  Consequently, they use only sustainable fibres for their beach-beautiful apparel, such as organic cotton and linen while their dyes are 100 per cent natural.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A bikinis swimwear

Vitamin A bikinis and swimsuits are designed and produced in California. Image: Supplied

Based | California, USA

Eco-Credentials | Vegan, recycled and eco-conscious materials, all products locally made

Product Range | Women’s bikinis & one-pieces

Price Range | AED147 to AED550

Where to Purchase in UAE |

swimwear vitamin A

Vitamin A reduces its environmental footprint by employing waterless digital printing technology. Image: Supplied

Designer and founder of Vitamin A, Amahlia Stevens, learnt to care for the environment early on in her career.  Before launching her swimwear brand in 2000, she worked alongside Yvon Chouinard, the founder of eco outdoor clothing giants, Patagonia. During that time, she learned how to create technical fabrics from recycled plastic bottles for outdoor garments, and decided to emulate the concept for glamorous swimwear.

Vitamin A bikinis and swimsuits are designed and produced in California with their signature EcoLux fabric – an environmentally friendly luxe material (designed by Amahlia herself), made from recycled nylon. They also reduce their environmental footprint by employing waterless digital printing technology (the number one environmental issue in textiles is water use, wastage, and pollution – waterless printing goes a long way towards reducing its environmental impact) and using only sustainable materials such as organic or recycled cotton, Tencel (a sustainable fabric, regenerated from wood cellulose) and polyester fibre made from recycled plastic bottles. Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, they also give back a portion of proceeds directly to environmental organisations who help to protect the world’s oceans.

Under Protection

eco swimwear

Under Protection swimwear is made from from recycled polyester from plastic water bottles. Image: Supplied

Based | Copenhagen, Denmark

Eco-Credentials | Recycled fabrics, ethical manufacturing

Product Range | Women’s bikinis & one-pieces

Price Range | AED147 to AED550

Where to Purchase UAE|

under protection swimwear

All Under Protection items are handmade in India

Under Protection makes its swimwear from recycled polyester from plastic water bottles Lyocell ­– an eco-friendly fibre made from dissolving pulp that doesn’t let off any chemicals – and organic cotton produced without the use of pesticides or synthetic growth regulators.  In 2014 the company was nominated for an ELLE Style Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility category and it has been featured in all the top glossies including Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire.

All the company’s items are handmade in India at its Fashion Forte warehouse, where they employ seven women and 13 men between the ages of 20 and 43. In 2013 they even picked up the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) – an independent, non-profit organisation for garment workers – young designer license to ensure there’s no unfair or unsafe labour practises that go into making their gorgeous swimwear pieces.

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