If swimming is for everyone, why is it that some needs are still not met when it comes to suitable swimwear? Not enough demand? Or not understood? Many women choose modest swimwear to be able to enjoy the water. It could be for cultural, religious, health or personal reasons but they seek something that covers the arms and legs that is comfortable and safe to swim in.
Big brands like Nike and Adidas have developed swim hijabs complete with swim leggings and long-sleeved tops, but now independent brands are coming to market offering more stylish, fun and sustainable choices for those passionate about the water and in our latest issue we met some of the inspiring women behind these brands.
Here's our roundup of where to buy modest swimwear:
Pretty Sassy Lady
Zainab Ahmed, Founder of Pretty Sassy Lady, was on holiday in Turkey when she realised there was a gap in the market for women who wanted more modest swimwear.
"Existing burkini styles weren’t design-led or stylish which is why I didn’t own one, so I decided to create my own range of modest swimwear which was fashionable and fun to help other ladies like myself feel confident (and safe) in the water.”
As well as comfort, functionality and style, Zainab also wanted to create something with sustainability in mind. “Part of the Islamic way of life is to be mindful of the earth,” she says.
“I thought, if I am going to start a business, I want it to be sustainable from the very beginning. All swimwear is made from regenerated nylon fibre and delivered to customers in 100% recyclable packaging."
Sei Sorelle, which means six sisters in Italian, is a modest sustainable swimwear brand run by six sisters – Aneesa, Aisha, Maryum, Zaenab, Asmaa and Iqra.
“Statistically people from ethnic minorities are not taking part or engaging in swimming,” says Aneesa. “The reasons are multifaceted but one of the factors is lack of decent swimwear, which is why we decided to start our own range.”
“It is important that the swimwear is lightweight, durable, quick-drying and caters for a range of women,” says Aneesa. “It’s functional and practicable but designed for full coverage across cultures and religions. Some women want modest swimwear because their skin is sensitive to UV, others have had surgery, and some have religious reasons."
Finisterre (Seasuit launching soon)
Finisterre is a British sustainable outdoor brand with a passion for sharing a love of the sea in order to protect it. The Seasuit is a long-standing project designed by women, for women, to share their love of water. The suit will be launching this spring - keep an eye on social media for more info.
“From day one this has been a collaboration between women, to take what they love, and make it easier for more women to do.” – Dr Easkey Britton
Nike's full-coverage swimwear, the Victory Swim Collection, includes tunic tops, swim leggings and a hijab that can be mixed and matched for women seeking full coverage, as well as full range-of-motion in the water.
The focus is on performance swimwear that won't leave swimmers battling drag or struggling to keep their hijab in place.
The collection is made from warp-knit fabric: a lightweight, breathable material that dries quickly, eliminates excessive cling and delivers a UPF 40+ rating.
Adidas launched their full-coverage swimwear range last summer.
The Beyond the Surface campaign, part of Watch Us Move - a broader initiative to create more space for women in sport - celebrates the power of water and its ability to defy restrictions, bring renewal and accept everyone unconditionally.
"At adidas we believe that nobody should be prevented from enjoying the benefits of being in and around the water. we are constantly looking at ways to diversify our product offering for all women who want to enjoy the oceans, pools and rivers of the world, and our full-cover swimwear collection is rooted in that mentality." - Sybille Baumann, Senior Product Manager adidas Swimwear