3 Sustainable Swimwear Labels To Watch This Summer

Words: Hanna-Amanda Pant

We crave for waves, salty hair, diving from the rocks, lukewarm outdoor dips in mountainous pools, and along with it, having the freedom to show off a little more skin. There's no doubt having the right, body-hugging swimwear can make a huge difference, contributing to us feeling a degree more confident every beach day. We spoke to 3 swimwear brands we love this summer, dedicated to adorning our summer bodies in chic ethical style and making us long for more tropical adventures! Whether you’re all for the classic, curve-hugging shapes, more skin revealing bikini, or after unique statement pieces for both water and outdoors, these three cruelty-free brands have got you covered.

OceanZen

Aussie-based OceanZen bikini represents a lifestyle that carefree, ocean loving mermaids can easily relate to. The inception of OceanZen was inspired by the marine world, and more importantly, with the aim to protect our oceans from marine debris and preserve wildlife in the waters. Creator of OceanZen, Steph Gabriel, has studied Environmental Marine Science and has been globally involved in some incredible research projects. In due course, she has chosen her way to save our oceans and scarce sealife — recreating plastic waste into gorgeous sustainable swimwear, OceanZen. 

  OceanZen Bikini. 

OceanZen Bikini. 

What made you focus on sustainability when creating your swimwear label?

My passion for the ocean and marine conservation is essentially what lead me to create OceanZen. In my early 20s, I decided I wanted more from life than working full-time in an office in Sydney. So, I packed my bags and impulsively left Australia on a one-way ticket, which resulted in a solo adventure abroad for 3 years.  I floated around the globe, from chilling in the middle of the Kruger Park in South Africa with elephants and leopards, to snowboarding mountain peaks in Whistler Canada, volunteering with orphans in Bali, buying a combie van in Colombia and driving it down South America and surfing world class waves in Costa Rica. However, the chapter that really changed my life was spending a year in the Caribbean, on a little island in the Cayman Islands. I landed a job there working with Southern Atlantic Stingrays for eco-tourism. Part of my role was to dive down, lure the stingrays to the surface and hold them safely while tourists got their photos. The most incredible experience!

I had discovered a deep connection with the ocean and marine animals, but I also learnt a lot about human threats. All of this wasn’t enough, so I wanted to help share this powerful message for marine conservation that was shared with me back in the Caribbean. I wanted to create my own sustainable-something, and OceanZen was born from my passion for sustainability.

OceanZen #Savant

What are the materials you are using?

I had heard about this sustainable fabric made from recycled plastic bottles in Costa Rica long before I had even dreamed of ever studying this field. Meanwhile my entire lifestyle, in the water and out, involved me wearing bikinis, as I don’t own bras. OceanZen raises awareness for marine conservation issues by using fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets from the ocean, and practices sustainability throughout the entire business model. Marine debris is causing major issues for our oceans and the more businesses that choose sustainability, the stronger the message is to consumers to want to make a change. 

What’s the exact lifestyle OceanZen represents?

OceanZen bikini represents a lifestyle that carefree, ocean loving mermaids can easily relate to. It is the life of a girl who dwells between ocean and land, the gypsy that travels the earth, the ocean addict who thrives off ocean vibes, the barefoot wanderers who have more bikinis then bras and the yogis who are in search of zen. We see the exquisite beauty in all living things, we take too many leaps of faith and we choose to take the road less travelled.  We smile, we laugh, we are fearless, we are wild at heart and we are water-born creatures, every girl is an OceanZen girl. 

"It's truly mesmerising to be so close to a whale, looking into its eye as it stares back at you through your soul. Words don't describe it."

  OceanZen Bikini. 

OceanZen Bikini. 

Share one of your best ever summer memories.

Most definitely swimming with wild humpback whales in Tonga. We go every year, and now we actually run eco-retreats there, where anyone can come with us and swim with the whales in the wild! It's truly mesmerising to be so close to a whale, looking into its eye as it stares back at you through your soul. Words don't describe it. 

Swimming with Humpback Whales

This summer I am looking forward to…

This summer I am looking forward to swimming with wild humpback whales again in Tonga and escaping this freezing winter in Australia!

SHOP HERE

Whip Appeal

Whip Appeal of Sweden merges swimwear trends and recycled fibres with treasures of the art world. Namely, for their unique colourful pieces and fun, artistic prints, they collaborate with a community of young, up-and-coming artists. The Whip Appeal has a dedicated passion for the environment and energy protection, hence their pieces are made of recycled materials. Instead of conventional raw material, they source their fabrics from an innovative Italian company that utilises ECONYL yarn produced from 100% consumer waste, such as fishnets and carpet materials. They also use fabric made out of recycled yarn called r-Radyarn, which is a recycled polyester. Meaning of Whip Appeal? It means that a person is so sexy and beautiful that one could get whiplash from turning their head to have a look. 

Whip Appeal #Savant

What made you start a sustainable swimwear brand?

At the time, me and my business partner Alicia were studying at the Swedish School of Textiles. We had learned a lot about sustainability in fashion and new innovative recycled materials available on the market. We also noticed a gap in the market for stylish and sustainable swimwear, so we decided to act on the opportunity and create a swimwear brand that incorporates both: fashion and sustainability. 

Name a must-have piece from your collection for this season.

Our must have piece for this season is a surf top that is perfect for the beach, but can be also worn to the gym or just as a top mixed into a daily outfit.

  Whip Appeal.  

Whip Appeal. 

How do you choose the artists to collaborate with? 

Collaboration with artists makes our brand truly unique and we are very happy to work with many talented creators from around the world. We keep ourselves updated on new and established artist via various specialised magazines, as well as discovering a lot of great talent via Instagram. We keep our eye on relevant trends, but we mostly go with our gut feeling when it comes to choosing an artist for the next season. It is important for us that artist's work resonates with our key audience and that the artwork looks interesting on our swimsuits.

Who is the woman Whip Appeal caters for? What are your specific aesthetics?

Women who choose our swimwear are the ones looking for unique style, something that will make them stand out wherever they go. ‘Whip Appeal’ means that a person is so good-looking that one gets a whip lash by turning their head to look at the person. That is the appeal we are aiming to provide our clients with. Our clients are also conscious about what they buy and they are seeking for better choices when it comes to the aspects of sustainability. 

"‘Whip Appeal’ means that a person is so good-looking that one gets a whip lash by turning their head to look at the person."

Share one of your best ever summer memories.

It is hard to choose just one, but if I do I think my best memory is when I had a vacation with my friends on Bali a couple of years ago. It is a wonderful place and the time seems to go in a completely different pace. I am looking forward to returning there and maybe even making a photo shoot for our brand. 

This summer I am looking forward to…

…spending as much time in the sun as I can, finding new interesting collaborators for our brand and developing our new collection for the next season.

SHOP HERE

1979

Understated, feminine and ethical, 1979 swimwear brand was founded by Suzanna Kuhlemann in Hawaii, referring back to the golden era of 50s Hawaii print, yet today, the label’s collections are produced locally in Germany. Responsible and transparent production being the key values of 1979 label, the brand uses only ‘Oekotex Standard 100’ certified fabrics sourced within the EU (Italy and France). 1979’s chic monochrome swimsuits take us a couple of decades back in time, highlighting feminine shapes and understated luxury. The unadorned, classic construction, now paired with modern comfort, makes sure you can wear your favourites over several seasons. A huge bonus: the available sizes range from size 2 to 12 (!). Be the best version of yourself in 1979’s subtle elegance — showing a little less skin can sometimes feel like revealing more. 

  1979 . 

1979

What made you start a sustainable swimwear brand? 

It was my love for Hawaii that made me design swimwear. The ‘Aloha Print’ and Hawaiian culture fascinated me ever since my first visit to Hawaii. I completed my master thesis in Fashion Design with an abstract interpretation of Hawaiian Print as a subject. Then, after working in retail management for 4 years, I moved to Hawaii and started making one-of-a-kind bikinis with prints deriving from 1950s, the golden age of the Aloha Shirt. Soon after, I moved back to Germany and had to decide if I should continue making swimwear, since german summers are not the longest. I naturally decided to continue. Sustainability has been an essential part of 1979 brand from the beginning. I focus on sustainability, because I think that every choice we take has its impact sometime later. In my opinion, it is only smart to invest in a respectful environmental relationship. Not working sustainably mostly leads to decisions that rank profit highest and knowingly accept exploitation.

What are your key aesthetics and who is the woman who wears 1979?

The woman who wears 1979 appreciates subtle elegance, quality and timelessness. She knows that a bikini should make you feel confident and comfortable in a situation where you are more exposed than usual. Usually my swimsuits find the right women — they love travel and look for special labels with a story behind it, and they appreciate knowing who made their suit. They look for swimwear that matches their style. One of 1979s key aesthetics is understated elegance — appreciating that showing a little less skin can sometimes be more.

1979 #Savant

Share one of your best ever summer memories with us.

One of my nicest summer moments was during a camping weekend to a secret black sand beach in Hawaii. We woke up in the morning, took a swim in the bay, then sat on the lava rocks and cut open a papaya for breakfast and just spooned it directly with its black peppery seeds. Then we walked over to an under ground freshwater spring in a cave for a dip and ventured further down the beach into the lagoon where we could swim with sea turtles. 

"One of 1979s key aesthetics is understated elegance — appreciating that showing a little less skin can sometimes be more."

  1979. 

1979. 

This summer I am looking forward to... 

...the first time I can float in the ocean, lying on my back and enjoying a 180-degree view of the sky. Also, I love the feeling of a warm summer night. 

SHOP HERE