Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a giant swimwear snob. I may know next to nothing about putting a nice outfit together or starting the next trend, but when it comes to swimwear...let’s just say I do my research. I can go on for ages about your next best swimwear find but at the top of my list is Vitamin A, a California based swimwear brand with top notch sustainability ratings and incredible style. Vitamin A was founded in 2000 by Amahlia Stevens, a grade A girlboss with a resume stemming from Patagonia to Levis and a sun kissed Californian aura about her. Before the creation of Vitamin A, Stevens worked with Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia to revolutionize the textile industry by creating fabrics out of recycled plastic bottles. Through this venture she created EcoLux, a swim fabric made from recycled nylon. While this could have easily become our standard for swimsuit materials years ago, she was shot down by manufacturers stating that, “there was no market for swimwear made from recycled fibers.” So, Stevens decided to take off on her own and create Vitamin A based out of Laguna, California.
via: Vitamin A
Besides the fact Vitamin A was founded and is currently headed by an incredible woman and helped to revolutionize swim textiles, their environmental impact is what is the most impressive.
Here at Moda Verde, we have spoken quite a bit recently about environmental intersectionality, the connection between social and environmental responsibility. Vitamin A is a company that truly strives to find this balance, between heading most of their manufacturing in California still, maintaining strict labor laws and environmental standards. As the company has expanded they’ve partnered with Unifi, a leader in sustainable textiles, and specifically their line Repreve that focuses on “finding new life for recycled materials.” Repreve and Unifi focus on transparency, fair trade, and carbon footprint reduction in their production and Vitamin A has made a commitment to regularly visit factories to assure highest quality working environments. Vitamin A also lists on their website a number of ways they are reducing their carbon footprint in their warehouse as well as their packaging processes. Vitamin A offers sustainable options for every buyer and provides resources in terms of every type of fabric they produce and where they are made. On their “Our Products” tab, consumers are able to view their 6 types of textiles, find out where they are produced, the line of swimwear or clothing using this type of fabric, and in some cases, exactly how much water or oil is used to make the product. Their ability to allow a consumer to be an informed buyer without extra research is a huge plus for buyers new to the sustainability game.
Most importantly however, is a swimsuit’s fit, comfortability and look. Any sustainable company could create swimwear but it could be completely worthless if no one is willing to buy! Over Amahlia Stevens’ 20 years of swim design and production she has truly perfected a flattering, comfortable and sustainable swimsuit. I have personally been purchasing Vitamin A swim since 2014, and while it has taken a punch out of my budget at times, it is well worth it. I am 5’5” with ALL of the assets and I often struggle to find a suit that is both comfortable and cute enough to wear on the beach and a day club in Vegas and this suit does exactly that. Vitamin A makes swimwear for all shapes and sizes from your teeny tiny, barely there swim to full coverage tops and bottoms, all the way to high waisted swimwear that’s absolutely to die for. The EcoLux material is made to be essentially seamless, which helps with puckering around the hips which can typically happen with cheaper, non stretch materials. Even on some of Vitamin A’s smallest swimsuits, thin halter straps are reinforced so that they are supportive and don’t leave a thick red line on your shoulders and neck from holding up the girls all day. All swimwear has an inner and outer lining, so you’ll never have to worry about a white swimsuit moment gone wrong. My basis is, if the swimwear feels like my favorite underwear, buy it and Vitamin A has always passed this test. I am also looking forward to trying their clothing line—HELLO LINEN JUMPSUIT HERE I COME, but I can only assume that it follows the same standards as their swimwear. As I mentioned before, Vitamin A is a little on the pricier side which makes it a bit hard to justify even for a fully sustainable brand. Please don’t let the price dissuade you as this is a swimsuit that will last you years, I would prove it but my oldest Vitamin A swimsuit was recently lost coming home from Asia. The good news is, it’s extremely easy to find especially as a west coaster. My first suit was purchased off of a sale rack at my favorite surf shop in San Diego, but I have also been able to find them at my local Nordstrom Rack and occasionally on sale at Everything But Water. These suits are worth every penny and will save you, and the environment plenty, for years to come.