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Best Ethical Swimwear Brands For Men & Women In The UK

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Looking for ethical swimwear? Try some of my favourite sustainable and eco-friendly brands available in the UK right now, catering for both men and women.

I last bought a swimsuit six years ago. Since then my body shape has changed a bit (or maybe my swimsuit has just shrunk…!). As such, I’m now on the hunt for some ethical swimwear. A reader also recently asked me to help them find some affordable ethical swimwear too, so I thought it was a good time to write a blog post about swimwear!

Once a tiny niche market, the good news is that there are now quite a few sustainable and ethical swimwear brands out there. There are even a few UK-made swimwear companies, some even offering made-to-measure pieces for the perfect fit. Below I have seven of the best UK brands to look out for, updated for 2023.

Ethical Swimwear Made From Recycled Plastic?

The brands I’ve focused on all make their swimwear from recycled plastic. This is because it’s simply not possible to make swimwear from 100% natural fabrics, and still have the properties that we expect swimwear to have.

Conventional swimwear tends to be manufactured from virgin plastics, which are made from fossil fuels. These include fabrics such as nylon and polyester.

Eco-friendly swimwear brands use more eco-friendly fabrics. The most common fabric used by sustainable swimwear brands is ECONYL®. 

ECONYL® is an innovative fabric that directly tackles plastic pollution in the ocean by taking nylon waste from carpet offcuts and discarded fishing nets. This waste is then turned into high-performance swimwear fibre. This makes ECONYL® a great sustainable choice compared to conventional nylon, which is virgin plastic made from fossil fuels.

If you want further help with making sustainable fabric choices, then I have this handy guide on what to look for when shopping for ethical clothing. It covers topics such as what fabrics to look for and handily explains what all the different eco-labels mean.

Guide to Ethical & Sustainable Swimwear Brands

A person in a yellow bikini with a blue text box that reads your ultimate guide to ethical and sustainable swimwear for men and women.

Be cool at the pool with my top sustainable swimwear picks for both women and men.

The price range key for this guide is £ = Under £50 | ££ = £50 – 100 | £££ = £100+ 

Use the quick links below to navigate to information about each brand, or keep scrolling for the full post:


Person wearing a blue rubymoon swimsuit

Budget: ££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 6 – 20)

Available directly from RubyMoon

RubyMoon produces vegan-friendly and ethically-made swimwear for active lifestyles.

RubyMoon doesn’t use petroleum to make its swimwear. Instead of virgin plastic in the form of synthetics, it uses waste nylon and plastics.

All of its ECONYL® swimwear and other apparel are manufactured in an ethical and transparent supply chain.

What’s more, its products are OEKO-TEX certified. This is an independent certification that verifies that every component of the product, from the fabric to the thread, has been rigorously tested and found to be free of up to 350 of the most common toxic chemicals used in textile production.

RubyMoon has also carefully considered how its swimwear is made, to ensure it lasts for as long as possible. All of its swimwear has stronger seams – created by increasing the stitch per centimetre. Plus, as its swimwear is both chlorine and salt-water-resistant, it should last you for many swims.

What’s also to love is that Ruby Moon gives back. In fact, 100% of RubyMoon’s profits are donated in the form of microloans to female entrepreneurs in the Global South.

Davy J

Person wearing a blue long-sleeved swimsuit from UK ethical swimwear brand Davy J

Budget: £££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 6 – 18)

Available directly from Davy J

Davy J swimsuits for women are ethically made using sustainable materials made from ocean waste. 

I will say that its sustainable swimsuits are definitely an investment purchase. However, they are designed with longevity in mind. Their double-lined, high elastane composition provides extra strength, durability, and shape. This makes Davy J’s swimsuits good value in the long run if you can splash out on them.

Davy J is aiming to build a closed-loop resource system. When your swimsuit does eventually reach the end of its life return the suit to them, and they will find a way to reuse the resources.


Person wearing Riz sustainable board shorts

Budget: £££

Caters for: Men (UK sizes S – XXL)

Available from Brothers We Stand

Riz makes sustainable swim shorts for men. 

With the ambitious aim of creating the most beautiful and sustainable swim shorts in the world, I have to say its shorts have been made with every environmental consideration in mind.

As such, all of Riz’s shorts are ethically made in Europe in small batches. Longevity is key, with the shorts being triple-stitched for durability. What’s more, every pair of shorts is crafted from 100% recycled and recyclable fabric. This is then printed in the UK using earth-friendly inks. The shorts are even packaged in recycled and recyclable plastic-free materials.

And even better, its pioneering Rizcycle scheme allows you to return your old shorts in return for a discount on your next pair.


Person wearing a red swimsuit, from ethical brand Aspiga

Budget: £££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 8 – 18)

Available directly from Aspiga

For women’s ethical swimwear in stylish prints and beautiful colours, Aspiga – a fair trade and ethical and sustainable fashion brand based in London – is well worth checking out.

As a certified B-Corp, Aspiga has been independently assessed as meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

Aspiga’s collection of swimsuits and bikinis is made with recycled polyester that has UV protection (SPF50+).

Its flattering double-layered styles are designed to fit beautifully. Some styles offer ruching, which provides a flattering silhouette for all figures, and some offer fuller bust coverage.

Aspiga partners with small suppliers and skilled craftspeople in India and Kenya who share its ethos to create its beautiful fair trade pieces.

Use the exclusive code FREEDELMF23 to get free delivery on all orders at Aspiga until 31/12/2023 (can only be used once per customer).

Sprout Organic

Person wearing a Sprout Organic ethical bikini.

Budget: £

Caters for: Women (made to measure, so caters for any size)

Available from: Etsy

Made-to-measure ethical swimwear might sound expensive, but UK-based Sprout Organic is here to prove this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Specialising in bikinis made from recycled plastic, all of Sprout Organic’s prints are bright and bold – with a choice between fun dinosaur, lobster, floral or watermelon designs.

Simply pick a design and provide Sprout Organic with your measurements, and the small team will handmake your swimwear in its East Sussex workshop. This means if you require your bikini top to have one cup size bigger or smaller than the other, or longer or shorter straps, then Sprout Organic can do this for you at no extra charge. Inclusive swimwear at its finest.

Whilst the designs are bright, the fit doesn’t take a backseat. All of its swimwear is made with comfort as the main priority.

Sprout Organic strives to be as close to zero waste as possible. All fabric scraps are repurposed or recycled, and all its parcels are sent out in fully recyclable packaging.

Colorful Standard

Person wearing blue shorts made from recycled nylon.

Budget: ££

Caters for: Men (Sizes XS – 2XL)

Available directly from Colorful Standard

For ethical swim shorts for men in more colours than you could shake a stick at, then head straight to Colorful Standard.

This sustainable brand – which specialises in basics in bright colours – makes all of its swim shorts ethically in Portugal.

Its shorts are made from 56% recycled Q-NOVA. This is an innovative recycled nylon fibre, which has all the stretchy properties of nylon but with a much smaller carbon footprint.

Find swim shorts in 21 colour options. These include classic tones such as black, navy or grey, and soft pastels. Or you can opt for fun brights such as lemon yellow, spring green or Pacific blue (pictured) to make a statement on the beach or at the swimming pool.

What’s to love is that Colorful Standard also plants one tree for every order placed.


Person wearing sustainable period swimsuit from Modibodi

Budget: £ – ££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 6 – 22)

Available directly from Modibodi

Looking for ethical period swimwear, to give confidence in and out of the water during your time of the month? If so, then Modibodi is the place to go.

Famous for its period pants, Modibodi’s swimwear gives you the protection you need without compromising on style.

This female-founded brand uses 78% pre-consumer recycled nylon. And with solid colours to fun brights and patterns, there are heaps of size-inclusive swimwear options to make a splash sustainably.

As well as being size-inclusive, some styles – like the one pictured – offer adjustable wrap details. This means you can adjust your bust and waist to your preferred fit.  

Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for the Modibodi newsletter.

How to Wash Swimsuits Sustainably

Even fabrics made from recycled plastic shed microplastics when washed. Ideally, gently hand wash your swimsuit where possible for the lowest environmental impact. However, if you need to wash your swimwear in the washing machine I’d recommend the use of a Guppyfriend microplastic filter to help prevent microplastics from getting into the waterway.

What Else Can I Do?

It’s important to make the ethical fashion movement more inclusive to all. As such, it’s incredibly important to take action beyond your wallet.

To help make ethical fashion more ethical at all price points, things that you can do to help engender change include asking High St brands who make their clothes (see Fashion Revolution for their great resources). This will help press for transparency and sustainability on the High Street, making ethical clothing much more accessible for all.

Representation in Ethical Clothing

Sustainable fashion also lacks diverse representation. Particularly in terms of race, disability, and the LGBTQ+ community. However, there is also a lack of a range of sizes which leaves a large swath of potential would-be customers behind.

Asking your favourite ethical swimwear brand to make their clothes in a wider range of sizes is a great first step. This is because brands won’t consider making their clothes in wider size ranges until there is consumer demand.

Asking brands to use more diverse models, beyond a size 8 able-bodied 20-something white woman is another way to help broaden the appeal of ethical fashion.

And if you plan on enjoying some sun then here’s a post on eco-friendly sunscreen that you might find useful! I’ve also put a women’s ethical clothing guide, as well as a men’s sustainable clothing guide

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  1. Love the blog! I was pondering ethical swimwear and
    I knew just where to go. You didn’t disappoint! Additionally, I thought I’d offer you ‘feed two birds with one seed’ as an alternative phrase for your future intros :D Thanks for the time you put into this!

  2. I’ve got an idea – I’ve been looking at Engel sports clothing, and wondered if their bustier/crop top and hot pants are see-through when wet? Because I’d personally prefer only natural fibres next to my skin, especially in warm weather, and merino looks great anyway.

  3. These guys seem to be good – an independent swimwear brand based in England
    “All our swimwear is 100% recycled from plastic bottles and post-consumer waste such as carpets and other textiles. Recycling helps reduce energy usage, reduce consumption of new raw materials and reduces air and water pollution (from land fills and marine waste). Additionally our swimsuits are printed digitally which is an ecological printing method designed to reduce water and waste. Our inks are free of harmful chemicals and we consciously print the designs onto the fabric after it’s been cut to minimise production waste. Our fabric is vegan, too!”

  4. Hello Wendy

    After years of daily swimming in Speedo swimsuits I have developed an allergy to polyester and (probably) latex. I am looking for a swimsuit that won’t bring me out in a rash, and am hoping you know of something that might suit me. I’m fairly desperate, as I cannot swim until I’ve found something – but almost everything is made of polyester!

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. I’m not aware of any I’m afraid – I hadn’t actually heard of polyester allergies before now so it’s never been something I’d thought to look out for! But if I do ever come across anything I’ll be sure to let you know!

  5. Thanks Wendy for including us in your blog post, always an honour.

    We are currently redesigning our website but it includes a lot of information about the fabrics our garments are made from (100% recycled fabric spun with extra life Lycra) and how out profits are helping women across the globe.

    Be happy to answer any questions!

  6. Hi Wendy,

    Love this post a lot – it’s funny, attempting to live more ethically and then suddenly realising that products like this are actually pretty hard to source. I’d love more clarity too on the ethics behind high-street brands, rather than just “green marketing”. Thanks for all the links to brands!

    Besma (Curiously Conscious)

  7. I will definitely save this and look through if I decide to get a new one this year. What a great resource.
    It is hard though, because buying something that tight online usually makes me fearful. I usually factor in the cost of returns and order a few different styles.

  8. Hi Wendy,

    Perfect timing – just noticed the fabric is somewhat thin on mine:( Just thought I would cheekily ask if you can remember from your research if any of the brands had ones with little shorts?

    Great news re your comments working:)

  9. That’s quite a number of companies. I don’t think £70 is a lot for a swimsuit, rather £35 is cheap. Although I’m speaking from a competitive swimming point of view.

    And any of these pictured aren’t suitable for this sport, I’d call them bathing suits. Do any of those brands/companies offer anything more sporty?

    1. Aah, sorry, the post wasn’t coming from a competitive swimming angle – more the kind of swimming I do which is pootling about a pool about five times a year! As you can tell, I’m not a serious swimmer, and so on a cost per wear basis I find £70 to be a lot for a swimsuit, but if you’re wearing it everyday then I agree, £70 is not a lot for a swimsuit. The sportiest ones I could find are by Freya Active.

      1. Thank you, these look nice – it is not just the cost per wear but the look as well :) I am not a competitive swimmer anymore but I still prefer the cut.
        Strangely the Freya ranges start at C or D cup but it’ll have to do…

      2. Dear Wendy,
        I would like to buy one of the sport swimming costumes by Freya.. How did you find out that the company uses materials from erojersey? cannot see any mention of this either on Freya or on eurojersey’s websites..

        1. Hi Giulia,

          The article is from over a year ago, so the information was gleaned from the Freya website at the time of publication. It may well be they have since changed supplier or material?