Get Ready

The Best Black Owned Swimwear Brands: Sustainable and Sexy

by Annie Behrens

Like finding the perfect pair of jeans, investing in swimwear is one of the best items you can buy when your wardrobe needs a refresher. And when there’s an opportunity to invest in a staple feature of your closet, you’ll want to support a Black-owned business. Lucky for us, there are amazing designers that have created forward-thinking, high-quality and sustainable swimwear. 

In the current economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s been reported that 41% of the country’s Black owned businesses have shuttered during the early months of the pandemic. It’s important to note that Black owned businesses were already far more vulnerable than their white competitors. Black owned businesses pre-pandemic were at 58% potential for financial distress vs. white business’ at 27%.

Whether your swimwear style is traditional and retro or form revealing and seductive, you’ll find a piece that speaks to you from these designers.

Andrea Iyamah

Pieces that channel nostalgia and incorporate bold lines and cuts, Andrea Iyahmah Swimwear is bound to engage your sexy, confident self while celebrating unique designs. Swimwear sizes ranging from XS-XXXL, there’s no excuse to not find a swimsuit that makes you feel your very best.

Fe Noel

Felicia ‘Fe’ Noel created her brand while keeping her Carribean roots at the forefront of her inspiration. The brand’s ethereal designs are refined but not simple – Fe Noel wants women to feel beautiful, dress beautifully and this point of view is evident in the swimwear. You can also donate to the Fe Noel Foundation, their mission is to provide underserved youth the education on how to start their own business, space for creative work and mentorship.

Jade Swim

My new go-to swimwear brand whenever I need something timeless. With designs for every comfort level and colors for every changing favorite, Jade Swim will impress you and everyone that sees you at the beach. Founder Brittany Koreski also made sure that this was truly sustainable and brought receipts. The brand notes they have and use, “sustainable fabrics, conscious production and biodegradable packaging” all while committing a percentage of profits to environmental advocacy organizations.

Clem Swimwear

If you’re looking for swimwear that doesn’t just honor the mainstream body type, look no further than Clem Swimwear. Founded by J’Lysa Wilson with the intention of creating designs for all body types so that everyone can feel sexy while showing off your curves and squish. We love squish!!! Wilson also makes it  priority to show off her designs by collaborating with Black women and influencers of color who are otherwise underrepresented in fashion.

Dos Swim

The desire to find the perfect swimsuit is to feel as though it’s a second skin, where your comfort level is at its peak, that is Dos Swim’s mission. Founders Paula Hess and Shay Johnson wanted to make swimwear that actually fit our bodies, made us feel confident and look good! And these suits are about as Instagrammable as it gets.

While still in the midst of a pandemic, we cannot feign innocence from systemic racism. There’s a saying, “when white folks catch a cold, Black folks catch pneumonia,” meaning that in economic realities, when a recession hits, white people might experience some hardships while Black people will even more likely face everything from loss of employment to potential bankruptcy. Therein lies our obligation to uplift and support businesses owned by our Black peers.

There is a question that pops up when buying from Black owned businesses is the topic: why is it so expensive? We are so used to paying chainstore and fast-fashion prices for something that barely gets worn or used more than three times (maybe!!!). When shopping consciously, we must take into consideration the value and quality of the product.

It’s very easy to convince ourselves that a cheap bikini from a large retailer is worth the purchase and you can pay a little extra for it to get here by this Thursday but was that money spent wisely when you realize that, that very same bikini top has ripped and you’re swimming at the Rockaways and you have to somehow yell to your friend that you need help but not like, “help-HELP!”?

Or would it be worth the money, time and energy into finding a piece that is designed to make you feel comfy and confident while buying a sustainable, high quality product?

Many Black entrepreneurs and Black business owners alike are selling their products direct-to-customer and not through buyers like WalMart and Target. We can’t expect carefully crafted, high quality products from Black businesses to cost the same as generic products made by large companies for profit and profit only. Quality isn’t cheap and it shouldn’t be.

To invest environmentally and socially responsible companies that make products for you and your confidence is to invest in yourself.

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