New wave: why sustainable swimwear is making a splash this summerShopping for

swimwear is a perilous pursuit. Common questions which may arise while on your
mission include: can I actually justify spending more on a bikini than I did on
flights? Is a Brazilian cut only OK on Copacabana beach or Love Island? And will
that neon colourblock cut-out one-piece bought in the sale three years ago ever seem
like a good idea?

But, while wrestling yourself into yet another little black Lycra number within the
safe confines of a changing room, have you ever stopped to consider whether your
swimmers are sustainable? As a deluge of brands championing cossies with a
conscience means there’s now more to scrutinise when bikini shopping than the
potential for dodgy tan lines.

Leading the sustainable swim team this season is Auria London. Founded in 2013 by
Central Saint Martins graduate Diana Auria, this boutique swimwear label, which
counts Rihanna among its fans, champions a “from the sea, for the sea” approach with
designs hand-made in England from Econyl – a recycled fibre produced from discarded
fishing nets. Among its current most popular styles are keyhole halterneck one-
pieces, sporty mesh crop tops and high-waisted string bikinis in sunny shades of
lemon, cherry and sugar pink.

The brand has also previously teamed up with Sony to create a travel accessories
collection of beach sliders, sunglass cases and passport-holders made from recycled
headphone wires, and last year, Selfridges named Auria one of its Bright New Things
in a project designed to promote sustainable fashion brands in the UK. In line with
its dedication to add momentum to retail’s turning tide, the department store is
also in the seventh year of its Project Ocean venture – an initiative which has
involved removing all plastic bags and water bottles from its stores, as well as
beauty products containing plastic microbeads, in a bid to reduce the eight million
tonnes of plastic pollution that is dumped in the ocean every year.

This sea change is also making ripples across the high street. Scandi brand Weekday
– part of the H&M Group which is due to open its first London store on Regent Street
in two weeks’ time – has also launched its debut sustainable swimwear collection
this summer, which is made from recycled waste materials including polyamide and
polyester. Though with sporty zip-front rash vests, buckle-strap bandeau swimsuits
and racer-back crop tops, the emphasis is on its signature clean aesthetic as much
as its green credentials. ASOS is another big fish to add weight to the ethical
argument with its current Eco Edit swim collection.

And it’s not just where your swimsuit is from but where your money goes that can
make a difference. This summer, e-commerce giant YOOX joined forces with luxury
Aussie swim label We Are Handsome to create a charity capsule collection in aid of
the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Drawing inspiration from the reef’s ecosystem,
the six-piece collection is splashed with an abstract coral print, while proceeds go
towards protecting and preserving the shoreline. Just in case you needed another
reason to feel good on holiday.

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