Ready to splash – sustainable swimwear

As I write this it’s bucketing down with rain, and yesterday it was snowing. I can’t say that is entirely normal for this time of year, but then New Zealand wouldn’t be the only country experiencing the anomalies of climate change. Give it a few days, and spring will be back!!

As we’re on the eve of summer, I have been thinking about my bathing suit/swimming costume/togs (whatever your preferred name is) and bikini.

I love swimming. I love the water. My bikini is about 12 years old, and my one-piece swimsuit even older – circa 2005. They both do the trick, but I’m not sure I’m still into bikinis, and my swimsuit is a sports one, and not really something for the beach. Even though we’re only heading to the seaside in the New Year, the summer swim collections are out so I want to share these with you. The good news is that there are a few sustainable ones to chose from from fair Aotearoa.

Here’s New Zealand’s top five sustainable swimwear options


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The usual Kowtow credentials stack up.

Each piece is made from Econyl®, a regenerated nylon manufactured in Italy. Econyl® consists of pre and post-consumer nylon waste material including fishing nets, discarded carpets, plastic components and fabrics scraps. Kowtow have recycled 120kg of discarded nylon to make durable and environmentally friendly swimwear.

You can return your Kowtow swimwear in store too.

Love this piece!



They of the underwear brand that employs ex-refugees in Wellington has launched swimwear. They’ve used deadstock fabric, meaning that Nisa bought fabric that was left over from massive industrial production (usually from other swimwear brands) that was destined for landfill.

Sustainable New Zealand Swimwear

I really like what Elisha Watson, the founder, says here of starting swimwear: “Swimwear fabric is crazily slippery, and so much more difficult to cut and sew than cotton! I now have a much greater appreciation for why swimwear costs so much: it is a lined garment, meaning from a sewing perspective it is two garments sewn together to make one final piece; you need so many fiddly bits and piece – I had to scour the whole of New Zealand to buy the last pieces of rubber elastic that were certain widths; and it takes a long, long time to sew.

“Going to some shops now and seeing swimwear for $20 blows my mind – how is it possible?”

Aurai Swim

I discovered this brand through NZ Fashion Week, as it showed in the first ever sustainable catwalk as part of the show this year.

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The business is based in Auckland, while collections are handmade at a small family-owned atelier in the founder – Natalia’s – hometown in southern Brazil, where she locally sources most of the materials. They too use ECONYL® nylon waste, as well as in the SS19 collection, AMNI SOUL ECO®, a Brazilian-made polyamide with n that accelerates biodegradation in the anaerobic environment, common in most landfills. Both fabrics are OEKO TEX certified,  i.e., zero harmful substances are used in their manufacturing.

NOT ONLY THAT, but you can filter the shopping range to be mastectomy friendly, biodegradable or even according to how much coverage you want. I like that kind of thoughtfulness!



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Our other favourite underwear brand that is known for making great undies that last forever and hold things in place comfortably!!

They are pioneers in the New Zealand sustainable fashion world and the NZ-made model, and their swimwear also gets great reviews.

I love this combo. YAY!



Ethical yoga and activewear, now swimwear.

I’m excited about this too. Each piece is made in Bali at WE-AR’s B-CORP certified production house to the highest ethical standards. And it suits a bigger busted person too, which I’m very grateful for.

OK, I said a one-piece but this is pretty cool too!


Across the ditch

I like to support close to home, but if that doesn’t work out, I look to my neighbour Australia, where the culture is similar and the airmiles much shorter.

Salt Gypsy and Vegethreads are my top picks.


Happy Summer, and happy swimming!

2 thoughts on “Ready to splash – sustainable swimwear

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