Image by Diarrablu
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In an ocean of fast fashion, eco-friendly resortwear can be tricky to pin down.
Most vacation-centric clothing sold on the fast-fashion market might be made to last for only one vacation. Not to mention the mass-market brands appropriating indigenous symbolism and patterns for their polyester pieces.
However, there are some brands out there making beautiful and ethical vacation fashion. Here’s what to look for:
Artisan brands: Many of the brands featured here are founded by non-Western artisans whose heritage lies in tropical regions. Their expertise in designing, printing, and weaving comfortable and elegant fashion for a hot climate is perfect for creating a beach-ready wardrobe. If you decide to buy from a Western brand, opt for universal patterns and palettes that aren’t trying to lift from a culture from the global south.
Natural materials: You can feel good about dresses, swimsuit coverups, and other classic resortwear looks that are made from GOTS-certified cotton, organic linen, and even hemp. Natural materials like these don’t use sensitizing azobenzene disperse dyes, can be grown organically and naturally, and are less likely to pollute the environment when you wear and wash them.
Non-Toxic and natural dyes: Recycled polyester features prominently in resortwear. And this is better than the water bottles it’s made from going to the landfill. But when it comes to toxicity, the concern around recycled polyester isn’t so much about the actual fabric, as it is the finishes used to color and waterproof them. If you’re not sure about whether a product is safe for you or made sustainably, check for certifications like bluesign, Oeko-Tex, and GOTS, which require brands to meet their manufacturing, environmental, and safety standards.
We’ve rounded up our favorite sustainable resortwear brands to help you find exactly what you’re looking for on your next trip to paradise, without the toxic baggage.
What we love: Huge selection of gorgeous resortwear aside, Faithfull the Brand carries vacay clothes that make the cut for ethical manufacturing. It starts with community: the brand opts for handmade, local products made by employees that have access to healthcare, upskilling, and parental support. Its products are made using ethically sourced or recycled materials to minimize waste, including Tencel lycocell, recycled polyester and nylon, and Okeo-Tex and GOTS-certified cotton fabrics. Its store includes a range of dresses, swimwear, and comfy lounge ‘fits with something for everyone.
What we love: African brand Diarrablu formulates its unique designs using math equations. Its alluring line of flowy dresses, swimsuits, and kimonos, among other vacay-ready pieces, are made using Cupro recycled cotton and lyocell.
Price: $45 to $295
What we love: All of Ayni’s products are handmade in Peru following sustainable and fair trade practices. The brand’s unique pieces are made from materials including alpaca wool, organic Pima cotton and, more recently, its experimental recycled plastic yarn. Its collections include perfect vacation-ready pieces like crochet tops, skirts and dresses in luxe colors and styles.
Price: $59 to $1,400
What we love: Lemlem supports feminine craftsmanship by sourcing its handmade textiles from small studios in Ethiopia, providing jobs and benefits for its workers. Its swimwear is made of Repreve’s Okeo-Tex-certified recycled microfiber polyester, complete with tropical colors and flattering cuts. The latest dresses and cover-ups are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton for a comfy feel and lots of flowy movement.
Price: $45 to $495
What we love: A “conscious luxury” brand, Verandah produces its beautiful pieces using Econyl yarn made from regenerated nylon, biodegradable cellulose fibers, and GOTS-certified regenerated cotton. The brand supports anti-poaching and reef regeneration efforts through Tigerwatch and Reefwatch, respectively. Verandah also partners with various other biodiversity preservation and conservation projects. Its pieces feature designs inspired by nature and cut to bring out your inner goddess.
Watch out for: Avoid the brand’s sequined items, as sequins are plastic bits that can break off into the environment.
Price: $110 to $1,600
What we love: Mara Hoffman produces Climate Neutral-certified clothing made from recycled nylon and polyester materials including Repreve polyester, Econyl recycled nylon fiber, hemp, GOTS-certified organic cotton and other sustainable options. The brand also partners with a long list of sustainability- and conservation-centric organizations to fulfill its commitment to the environment.
Price: $49 to $795
What we love: Made Trade is a woman-owned marketplace full of brands that adhere to its myriad sustainability and transparency standards. Here, you can find Fair Trade brands that offer resortwear and other clothing and goods made with GOTS-certified organic cotton, hemp, and linen. Some swimwear and vacation pieces are made of recycled plastics and pre-consumer deadstock fabrics. It carries a variety swimwear and resortwear ranging from cute and minimalist to daring statement pieces.
Price: $54 to $298
What we love: With a limited debut collection, this brand offers up incredible statement pieces — flowing gowns, coverups, and dresses — that are made to be timeless and luxurious. Made from sustainably sourced fabrics including GOTS-certified organic cotton, hemp, Oeko-Tex-certified silk, and the most sustainable trims available, including buttons and labels. Sailaal ships out each order in curbside-recyclable packaging, including its tissue paper and notecards, which are FSC-certified 100% recycled.
Price: $265 to $525
What we love: Straight out of Los Angeles, Reformation is another brand focused on taking care of the people in their supply chain by partnering with the Fair Labor Association. It partners with fair-trade factories around the world to produce beautiful, bluesign and Oeko-Tex-labeled products. Its website features information including sustainability reports, restricted substance lists, and recycling efforts both in the factory and in stores. The brand’s resortwear collection features everything from stunning floral dresses to the perfect strappy sandals.
What we love: Perfect for poolside lounging or dinner on the beach, Jodi’s stunning, versatile dresses and coordinated sets are handmade in India from fibers including mulberry silk, cotton dobby, and cotton jute and hand-dyed using traditional dip-dyeing techniques. Each unique piece results from the careful and natural processes that the clothes undergo.
Price: 3,999 INR ($49 USD) to 56,370 INR ($690 USD)
What we love: Vitamin A uses a wide range of natural and recycled fibers from GOTS-certified organic cotton and hemp to recycled cashmere and tencel. This kind of range enables the brand to use Oeko-Tex certified non-toxic dyes to color its fabrics, which are then made into its cute and functional dresses, rompers, and swimwear. It would be easy to pack your entire vacation wardrobe from its online store.
Price: $32 to $273
What we love: Expanding to over forty communities in Mexico, this brand thrives on preserving traditional art through textiles made by individual artisans. Some of the pieces it offers are made using a pedal loom, which was introduced to the country during the 16th century. Fabrics like linen, cotton, and cotton poplin make up the bulk of the brand’s offerings and are hand-dyed using traditional techniques.
Price: $49 to $249
What we love: Made in Portugal with the scenic Uruguayan coastline in mind, Casa Raki makes its cute swimwear and flowy outfits from sustainably sourced organic linen, recycled Econyl nylon, and cupro. The brand’s selection includes resortwear from bikini separates to adorable midi dresses in both natural and bright hues.
Watch out for: Some items contain up to 25% spandex, which could be irritating to those with a skin sensitivity.
Price: 3,999 INR ($49 USD) to 56,370 INR ($690 USD)
What we love: Another brand that uses hand-dyeing techniques by single-mother artisans to make each piece a little different than the others, Entreagus makes a variety of bright and flowy skirts, tops, and dresses that are easy to coordinate.
Watch out for: As a brand, Entreaguas is a testament to Colombian art and culture as a wearable concept, but we didn’t find any information on its website pertaining to the fabrics or types of dye used in its pieces.
Price: $49 to $249
What we love: This brand is dedicated to preserving traditional African textile art through its Fair Trade, carbon-neutral factory in Kenya. The brand says its pieces are made from natural fibers such as handspun organic cotton and silk, and dyed using eco-friendly dyes. You can find the perfect photo-ready dress in a variety of flowy cuts, knits, and East-African inspired patterns.
Watch out for: It’s unclear based on information available on the website exactly what natural fibers are used and what their certifications are. The eco-friendly dyes are mentioned, but the only information we found states that they’re botanical.
Price: $135 to $390