I woke up this morning hit with that sudden summer in the air - bring on the long hot evenings, trips to the beach and renewed energy of summertime.
Globally, the activewear and swimwear is BIG business. But, how do you find activewear and swimwear that is sustainable and ethical? Who is giving a damn about our oceans, being cruelty free, truly supporting the communities who farm, spin and create them or even the culture around the people who wear them?
MIME SWIM SWIMWEAR. PHOTO CREDITS TO THE INCREDIBLE MELISSA FINDLAY (@MELISSAFINDLEY) & THE STUNNING LAUREN BULLEN OF @GYPSEA_LUST
Well, here are some of our favourites. I won't lie - it can be hard to find activewear or swimwear brands who create great, long-lasting products made with care. But each of these brands is doing great things, focusing on unique ways of being ethical or sustainable and changing what we mean by 'conscious living'. If we are intent on being mindful, then we all need a lot more of that!
I've even added in a few other favourite products that you can't do without in the Australian elements and sun!
Written with big thanks to Sarah Mowle who found some of these amazing brands I hadn't come across yet!! But did we miss any others? Let us know who you think we should include!
BAIIA MARRAKESH REVERSIBLE BIKINI TOP/ PHOTO: BAIIA
You had me hooked in a second... This stunning range of Australian designed swimwear is created by Amber Boyers. She's amazing. This swimwear is beautiful and it is made to last from 100% post-consumer plastic. It even uses fishing nets, usually left to do harm in the oceans, that are reclaimed and recycled into fabric. Baiia use water-based dyes and all products are sewn and finished ethically in factories picked by Amber for their commitment to their employees. As a long-term expert in sustainability and ethics, Amber has gone to great lengths to craft a product that lasts and is ethical and sustainable too. Head over to check out her range and see so many more details on site about all she is doing.
TURTLENECK RASHGUARD / PHOTO: SALT GYPSY
If you are in Australia or anywhere with sun... or even where it is so ridiculously cold you need a wetsuit all year round... then you need not just swimwear, but rashies and other gear too. Salt Gypsy creates products made for surfing but they also extend the range to little surfers - or any kids - too. Their swimwear and rashguards are made in a factory right here in Australia from Italian made ECONYL fabric (that is those reclaimed fishing nets again.) There is definitely a trend here, and I think we never need to buy non-recycled swimwear again!
ECO SWIM RANGE / PHOTO: BY @NPARKO FOR LIAR THE LABEL
From Byron Bay comes the gorgeous Liar the Label, creating ethically made swimwear and activewear. All bikinis are made from recycled poly, regenerated from fishing nets and plastic bottles. Final stages of production are made in Australia and some pieces are even hand-finished with macrame by the founder Nisha Abbey herself.
WATEGO'S ONE PIECE / PHOTO: MIME SWIM
If you are looking for a one piece, Mime Swim creates stunning swimwear that is made for surfing and the Australian coast. Pieces are made from retrieved fishing nets that are regenerated and made into fabric in Italy. Products are then designed to last and produced in Australia. Have a look at their stunning instagram feed... in particular the waterfalls...
BLOSSOM DANCER LACEUP ONE PIECE / PHOTO: SHAPES IN THE SAND
Another one to look out for, Shapes in the Sand, with beautiful Australian designed fabrics and swimwear. All swimwear is made 100% from regenerated 'ghost' fishing nets (again, the Italian fabric ECONYL) and, printed using low impact dyes and then sewn in Australia. Shapes in the Sand also supports the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
OK, that is activewear on a whole new level! But Patagonia do some gorgeous yoga gear and have been in the business long enough to truly know what works and what lasts. They are standout in their commitment to creating clothing that is ethically made across the supply chain - not just ethically made, but with sustainable dyes, and ethically spun, knitted or woven and grown, right down to the Fair Trade cotton they use.
ICEBREAKER YOGA WEAR / PHOTO: ICEBREAKER
If, like me, you fell in love a few years ago with a certain style of famous breathable activewear or thermals from [BIGNAME] you will be so happy to know that there is a New Zealand company, Icebreaker, selling gorgeous, super-fine wool-based thermals, activewear, underwear and yoga gear. In fact, if you wore them as much as I did, they probably need replacing by now!! Icebreaker use beautiful natural wool, ethical, low-impact farming for their products, eco-friendly dyes and go right down to caring about how their products are packaged. Also available directly in the US.
PHOTO VEGE THREADS
Vege threads has for many years been champions of the cruelty free, sustainable and ethical causes using organic or recycled fabrics for their clothes. They have a great range of yoga and activewear and I am a huge fan of their organic basics and mens ranges. In fact, the mens stripey long-sleeved tee has a good chance of being on the Christmas list this year!!
If you are a fan of instagram fitness then you may well have seen BAM Active's gorgeous activewear before. On none other but the queen of sweat (the good kind, not the sweatshop kind), Kayla Itsines. I like BAM Active because it focuses on the ethical manufacturing (producing final stages exclusively in ethically run factories in Bali) while also on empowerment of women overall. They even support something close to their heart - depression and mental health and suicide prevention too.
PHOTO LADY GAZELLE
Lady Gazelle are one beautiful brand where their efforts are focused on keeping as much as they can of the process local. We are big supporters of brands who support ethical fashion right from farm to finish - and we know that most of it doesn't happen locally, be it for Australian made or made overseas. We love it all! But, when brands make a special commitment to supporting local groups who really need support we can't help but pay attention. So a big shoutout to Katia and her team for their commitment to Australian business. They create their own beautiful prints in Thomastown, source all fabric from a small Melbourne-based business and do the final steps of production in a small family-run business in Victoria. Have a look at their pants onsite!
PHOTO: DHARMA BUMS
Dharma Bums are one brand that keep their final stage of manufacturing right here in Australia, in family-run factories. They are dedicated to using low-impact dyes, ethical and fair practices in their final stages of production. They even go to the lengths of using sustainable packaging too.
I know you've asked the question... Why does yoga, so aligned with organic foods, wellbeing and pure breathe, happen on a mat that we usually have no idea what is in it?
Which is why they created Cork Leaf natural mats. 100% biodegradeable and made from natural and recycled cork, backed with natural rubber. No PVC, no polymer environmental resin, no thermoplastic elastomers. Things too often found in some standard yoga mats. Corkleaf also do yoga blocks too.
Enjoy the summer!!
FINALLY, if you are in Australia then you need to know where to find low-tox eye and skin care and sun protection products that are ethically made too... my two all-time favourite brands to help protect and moisturise your skin under the harsh Australian elements and sun!
PHOTO GROWN SUSTAINABLE WOODEN EYEWEAR
Grown Sustainable Wooden Eyewear was born in Byron Bay and is a great brand supporting sustainable FSC accredited materials (like bamboo and sustainably sourced hardwoods) and low-tox production methods, getting harmful chemicals out of their sunglasses and away from your face. Of course, everything is made for the hot Australian summer sun so you are as protected as you can be. Enjoy!!
PHOTO: GREEN FOOT MAMA
Created in Byron Bay from carefully selected organic ingredients. Non-coral bleaching too! These products are truly made to for the Australian sun. They contain the simplest of ingredients and list everything in their products on site. Their Organic Sun contains certified organic coconut oil, natural mineral zinc oxide, lavender, chamomile and myrhh. Read more at Green Foot Mama!
PHOTO: SIMPLE AS THAT
I'm such a fan of so many of the Simple As That products (in particular their balm for coughs and colds) and they have some great moisturising and skin care products to help you out in summer. And this November they have just released their vegan, natural, without a doubt low-tox suncreen too! Everything they create is formulated in Australia by a pharmacist, using the best organic, fair trade and vegan ingredients.
ps. IF you are US based, then have a look at a few more great options, like Pact, Nau and Alternative Apparel, which when we wrote this, unfortunately weren't shipping internationally.
pps. For anyone who has read about it, there is a growing concern over plastic coming out of clothing and into oceans. Very similar to the microbeads debate in bodycare products. So, that's one reason why I definitely get behind brands who are using recycled plastics at the least. Another option would be crochet organic cotton swimmers, but realistically these almost always have a lycra backing anyway. But if you know of any brands avoiding or minimising any plastic, PLEASE suggest them below!