Summertime in the United Kingdom often evokes images of quaint seaside towns, bustling beaches, and the tranquil allure of the ocean. As temperatures climb, one piece of attire becomes indispensable: your swimwear. But when it comes to selecting the ideal piece, not all brands are created equal.
The United Kingdom has been a forerunner in the fashion industry, and this prestige extends to its swimwear brands. Whether you’re planning a vacation, hitting the local pool, or lounging at a beach resort, UK brands offer a variety of options that epitomize comfort, style, and durability.
Criteria for Ranking
Before diving into the list of the top 8 best United Kingdom swimwear brands, it’s crucial to understand the metrics we’ve used for evaluation. The fashion world is a complex terrain where consumer preference often changes like the tide. That said, there are some steadfast criteria that remain vital for assessing the quality of swimwear. Here are the factors considered:
This is the backbone of any good swimwear. The fabric should be resilient, quick-drying, and comfortable against the skin. High-quality materials like polyester blend, elastane, or nylon offer excellent shape retention and durability.
Style and Design
The swimwear should not only serve its functional purpose but also make you look and feel fabulous. Here we consider the variety of designs, colors, and patterns offered by each brand, as well as the availability of sizes.
Word-of-mouth and consumer reviews are invaluable for getting a real-world sense of a product. A consistently high rating indicates quality and reliability.
As we move into an increasingly eco-conscious world, sustainable manufacturing practices are more important than ever. Brands that prioritize eco-friendly materials and ethical production methods score higher in our ranking.
Affordability is a key concern for most shoppers. We look at the range of prices to assess whether quality swimwear is accessible at various budgets.
Each brand mentioned in this list excels in these criteria, offering a unique blend of quality and style. While some brands may excel in one area, they all meet a baseline standard across all categories, ensuring that you receive the best value for your investment.
1. Melissa Odabash
Melissa Odabash is a London-based brand founded in 1999 by its namesake, a former swimwear model. Melissa understood the struggle to find the perfect swimsuit and aimed to create a line that addressed fit, comfort, and style. Over the years, the brand has received numerous accolades and has even graced the pages of high-end fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle.
The brand offers a diverse range of products, from classic bikinis and one-pieces to kaftans and beach accessories. The “Grenada” halterneck bikini and the “Tuscany” swimsuit are among its best sellers, known for their flattering cuts and eye-catching designs.
With an average customer rating of 4.5 out of 5 across various fashion platforms, Melissa Odabash is a hit among consumers. Many reviews emphasize the brand’s meticulous attention to detail, quality materials, and superior fit.
While Melissa Odabash is yet to fully embrace sustainable manufacturing, the company is making strides in this direction. Their “Eco Essentials” line features swimwear made from recycled nylon, providing an eco-friendly alternative without compromising on quality.
Melissa Odabash offers an elegant blend of function and fashion, catering to consumers who are willing to invest a bit more for an exceptional product. Their collections are a harmonious blend of contemporary design elements and timeless classics, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.
2. Heidi Klein
Heidi Klein, another UK-based brand, was launched in 2002 by Heidi Gosman and Penny Klein. What started as a small boutique in Notting Hill has now transformed into a globally recognized label, known for offering “resort luxury” swimwear. The brand distinguishes itself through its meticulous designs, often inspired by exotic locations around the world.
Their offerings range from sculpted bikinis to effortlessly chic one-piece swimsuits. The “BB Reversible Triangle Bikini” and the “Body Ruched Fold-over Bottoms” are popular selections, praised for their figure-enhancing designs and luxury materials.
Heidi Klein enjoys an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 on numerous fashion websites. Customers frequently note the brand’s ability to merge comfort with luxury, providing swimwear that both looks and feels premium.
Heidi Klein is making considerable efforts toward sustainability. Their “Heidi Klein ECO” collection features products made from regenerated nylon and recycled polyesters. In addition, the company focuses on ethical manufacturing practices, ensuring that all their products meet high environmental standards.
Heidi Klein offers an extensive range of swimwear options that resonate with the sophisticated consumer. Their commitment to quality and sustainability ensures that you’re not just purchasing a swimsuit but making an investment in a product designed to last.
3. Orlebar Brown
Founded in 2007 by Adam Brown, Orlebar Brown shook up the men’s swimwear market with its tailored approach to beach and swim shorts. Headquartered in London, the brand aims to provide more than just swimwear; it offers a slice of the British summer lifestyle with each product.
Orlebar Brown is best known for its “Bulldog” swim shorts, which come in various lengths and a myriad of patterns and colors. These shorts are designed to transition seamlessly from the pool to the bar, offering versatility that many brands lack.
With an average customer rating of 4.7 out of 5, Orlebar Brown has developed a dedicated following. Men appreciate the brand’s attention to detail, fit, and durability. Many reviews commend the multipurpose nature of the swim shorts, which saves them the hassle of changing outfits when shifting from swimming to socializing.
Orlebar Brown is dedicated to reducing its environmental footprint. Their “OBSustain” initiative focuses on using more sustainable materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester. This collection is not only eco-friendly but also retains the high-quality fit and style that the brand is famous for.
Orlebar Brown’s approach to swimwear fills a niche in the men’s market, blending the lines between casual and smart. Their commitment to quality and sustainability reflects an understanding of the modern consumer’s needs, making it a top choice for men looking for more than just a swim short.
4. Freya Swimwear
Founded in 1998, Freya Swimwear is a specialist brand focusing primarily on lingerie and swimwear for women with larger bust sizes. Headquartered in Northamptonshire, the brand is known for its dedication to fit, offering sizes that range from a B to a K cup.
Freya offers an extensive line of bikinis, tankinis, and one-piece swimsuits. Their “Sundance” and “Fresco” collections are particularly popular, boasting stylish crochet overlays and bold, vivid colors. Their underwired swimwear options provide excellent support without compromising on style.
Freya holds an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 on multiple consumer platforms. Reviews often highlight the brand’s exceptional fit and support, citing these as the main reasons for their loyalty to Freya.
Though not at the forefront of the sustainability movement, Freya is gradually incorporating eco-friendly practices into their manufacturing. They’ve begun to introduce lines made from recycled materials and are working towards more sustainable packaging options.
Freya Swimwear fills a much-needed gap in the market for women seeking both style and support. Their extensive range of sizes and styles ensures that every woman can find her perfect fit, making Freya a top choice for those with specific sizing needs.
Asceno is a London-based brand founded by Lauren Skerritt and Poppy Sexton-Wainwright. With a strong focus on minimalist design and luxurious comfort, the brand has swiftly gained attention for its clean lines and timeless aesthetics.
Asceno excels in both swimwear and beachwear. Their signature one-pieces and bikinis often feature simple yet bold geometric patterns and stripes. The “Milan” one-piece, for instance, is renowned for its flattering silhouette and minimalist design.
On various fashion platforms, Asceno enjoys an impressive average rating of 4.8 out of 5. Customers frequently praise the brand’s commitment to comfort and style, often mentioning how the swimwear pieces effortlessly serve as statement items.
Asceno is committed to sustainability, employing eco-conscious practices throughout their supply chain. Their swimwear is made from Econyl, a 100% regenerated nylon fiber from post-consumer materials like old fishing nets. They also use organic and natural fibers in their beachwear range.
In the realm of luxury swimwear, Asceno stands as a shining example of how comfort and fashion can coexist. Their commitment to sustainability adds another layer of appeal, making them a top choice for the eco-conscious, style-savvy consumer.
6. Hunza G
Hunza G is a London-based brand that made its name in the late ’80s, initially gaining fame for creating the iconic cutout mini-dress worn by Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” Rebranded as Hunza G in 2015, the company now focuses on swimwear, offering one-size-fits-all designs thanks to its unique crinkle-stretch fabric.
Their “Solitaire” and “Nile” collections are best-sellers, featuring an array of one-pieces and bikinis with unique textures and embellishments like tortoiseshell chains. These designs not only add a touch of glamour but also provide additional support and structure.
Hunza G has an average customer rating of 4.4 out of 5, standing as a testament to its customer satisfaction. Reviews often highlight the versatility of the brand’s one-size-fits-all approach, praising the comfortable fit and innovative fabric.
Although not originally a ‘sustainable brand,’ Hunza G is moving towards more responsible practices. Their signature crinkle-stretch fabric is durable and long-lasting, which indirectly promotes sustainability by reducing the need for frequent replacements.
Hunza G’s unique approach to swimwear design has won it a dedicated following. The brand masterfully combines vintage inspiration with modern innovation, resulting in swimwear that is as eye-catching as it is comfortable.
7. Speedo UK
Founded in 1914, Speedo is a brand that needs little introduction. Though originally started in Australia, Speedo has a strong presence in the UK and has been an integral part of the country’s swimming culture. The brand is renowned for its performance-oriented swimwear, catering mainly to competitive swimmers but also offering casual swimwear lines.
Speedo’s “LZR Racer” series is well-known in competitive swimming circles for its advanced hydrodynamic properties. For casual swimmers, the “Endurance+” line offers durability and comfort, available in a variety of styles and colors.
Speedo maintains a solid reputation with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 across various review platforms. The brand is widely appreciated for its focus on performance and durability, as well as its extensive size and style range.
Speedo takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, employing recycled nylon in its “H2O Active” range. The brand is also part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, working to reduce its environmental and social impacts.
Speedo UK is the go-to brand for those who are serious about swimming, whether professionally or as a leisure activity. Its focus on technological innovation and sustainability make it a reliable choice for consumers who demand performance and longevity from their swimwear.
8. Ayla Swim
Ayla Swim is a relatively new but rapidly growing swimwear brand based in the United Kingdom. Founded on the principles of sustainability and body positivity, the brand has captured the attention of eco-conscious consumers looking for flattering, well-made swimwear.
Ayla Swim is best known for its minimalist, timeless designs. Their “Eco Essential” collection features bikinis and one-pieces made from sustainable materials, showcasing classic cuts that emphasize comfort and functionality.
The brand has a stellar reputation, with an average consumer rating of 4.7 out of 5 on various review platforms. Many reviews note the high quality of the fabric, as well as the brand’s commitment to sustainable and ethical production.
Ayla Swim is deeply committed to eco-friendly practices. Their swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic, and they have transparent sourcing and production processes. Their commitment to sustainability extends to their packaging, which is also made from recycled and biodegradable materials.
Ayla Swim is a standout choice for those looking for stylish yet sustainable options. With their strong emphasis on both ethical manufacturing and body positivity, the brand is making waves in the UK’s swimwear scene.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Which UK swimwear brands focus on sustainability?
Brands like Ayla Swim, Asceno, and Heidi Klein have a strong focus on sustainability, using materials such as recycled ocean plastics and Econyl in their products.
- Are there UK swimwear brands that offer inclusive sizing?
Yes, Figleaves and Freya are particularly well-known for offering a wide range of sizes, including options for those who require larger cup sizes.
- What are the most luxurious UK swimwear brands?
Melissa Odabash and Asceno are often cited as luxury swimwear brands, known for their high-quality materials and timeless designs.
- Which brands are good for athletic or performance swimwear?
Speedo UK is the go-to brand for performance swimwear, highly popular among professional and recreational swimmers alike for its durable and hydrodynamic designs.
- How do customer reviews rate these brands?
The brands featured in this guide generally receive high customer ratings, usually averaging above 4 out of 5 on various review platforms.
- Are these brands available internationally?
Most of these UK-based brands offer international shipping. It’s best to check their official websites for shipping details and costs.
- What’s the price range for these swimwear brands?
Prices can vary significantly. Brands like Melissa Odabash and Asceno are on the higher end, while Freya and Figleaves offer more mid-range pricing. Speedo offers a range, with some suits designed for competitive use priced higher.
- How can I know my size when ordering online?
Most brands provide comprehensive sizing guides on their websites. Some, like Hunza G, offer one-size-fits-all options due to their unique fabric.
- Are there any emerging UK swimwear brands worth watching?
Ayla Swim is a rapidly growing brand focused on sustainability and body positivity, making it one to watch in the coming years.
- Can men also find stylish options among these brands?
Yes, Orlebar Brown specializes in men’s swimwear, offering tailored, fashionable options.