Ready to know more about San Diego?


Itsy Bitsy, Teenie Weenie Eco-Conscious-Made Bikinis

Two local swimwear companies are taking big steps toward sustainability

By Ashtyn Douglas-Rosa

Midori Bikinis.png

Midori Bikinis

Sun-loving San Diegans have the good fortune of enjoying a prolonged bikini season—so it’s easy to accumulate drawers full of swimwear. But if we’re not careful, cycling through new two-pieces each year can lead to detrimental effects on the environment. Because, well, plastic.

Many fast-fashion companies sling swimwear made with cheap synthetic fabrics like polyester and spandex that wick moisture and move with our bodies. Unfortunately, these materials never fully decompose in landfills.

However, locally run eco-conscious bikini companies are working to change the swimwear industry by making major steps toward sustainability.

“Seeing the amount of plastic used by fast-fashion clothing companies motivated us to slow things down and invest in quality, recycled, and reusable items,” says Kelsey Kafka, founder of Swamis Swimwear.

As a competitive swimmer in her youth, Kafka had a hard time finding bikinis that were feminine, affordable, and comfortable enough to wear for four-plus hours a day while training. So, in 2015, she and her mom decided to make the type of bikini she couldn’t find on the market—prompting what would eventually evolve into a mother-daughter-run small business creating eco-conscious suits that are flattering and meant for outdoor activities like swimming or surfing.

Swamis Swimwear.JPEG

Swamis Swimwear

Kafka sources biodegradable, recycled, and deadstock fabrics for her small-batch lines, which feature feminine, retro floral prints—all custom-designed right here in San Diego. “Owning a small business allowed us to have control over our plastic usage and environmental footprint,” says Kafka, who packages shipments with recycled mailers and hangtags rather than single-use plastics.

Flimsy, low-quality swimwear tends to have a short lifespan, which is why Rachel Midori—who started her business in her college dorm room in 2011—aims to make swimwear that lasts a long time, so you can keep fabric out of landfills for longer. Her line of Midori Bikinis—inspired by the flattering fits she’d see women wear during her frequent trips to Hawaii—is made with Xtra Life Lycra, which is buttery soft, resistant to chlorine, and up to 10 times more durable than traditional bikini fabric. According to Midori, some of her early customers still wear suits they purchased over a decade ago.

“As an owner, it is my responsibility in serving the community to protect the environment we live in,” says Midori, whose suits meet OEKO-Tex 100 Standard certification, are verified as PETA-approved vegan, and are made in facilities that minimize water waste and pollution. “As a swim brand in particular, most of the women who wear our line, myself included, are inclined to regularly be in nature and conscious of how their purchasing powers have the ability to influence our earth for years to come.”

Share this post

Contact Us

1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA