Ethical Maternity Clothes UK: 12 Brands that Champion Comfort and Style

Ethical Maternity Clothes UK: 12 Brands that Champion Comfort and Style

Pregnant woman in ethical maternity wear holding flowers

The global maternity wear market is expected to grow to over $14 billion by 2025. With a sector that fills a very vital niche and is predicted to have such growth, ethical maternity clothes have never been so important.

Finding quality, eco-friendly maternity clothes in the UK comes with some unique challenges. Whether it’s buying from a sustainable brand or shopping for pre-loved styles, there are great ways to engage with the sustainable maternity clothing market.

Short-Lived Clothing

By its very nature, maternity clothing is short lived. It is designed to be worn at a very specific time and doesn’t often lend itself to being worn outside of these few months. This short lifecycle takes a toll on both the environment and the wallets of parents to be.

Studies have found that on average, expectant mothers in Britain will spend a staggering £700 on maternity clothing. These £700 will be spent on twenty-one separate items.

Alternatives to Buying New

For those that don’t want to buy new maternity clothes, there are still great ways to find sustainable maternity clothes. 

1. Buying Second Hand

Second hand maternity clothes are often cheaper, and they are a great way to engage with circular fashion.

Online markets like Vinted or Oxfam are good places to look for second-hand clothing. Alternatively, friends and family may have some great maternity clothes that they could share.

See our article on buying preloved clothing online for more tips.

Woman in white top holding maternity bump
Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

2. Clothing Alterations

There are some clever inventions out there for adapting regular clothing into fashionable maternity styles. Waistband extenders and coat inserts can reduce the need for buying new clothes by turning your regular clothing into maternity wear.

3. The Pre-Loved Section

If Vinted and Oxfam aren’t for you and you don’t have any family or friends that can loan you some clothing, then it may be worth checking out the pre-loved section of branded stores. Some maternity wear stores sell pre-loved items for a reduced price tag. Isabella Oliver is a UK brand that offers this service.

4. rental

More and more rental options for clothing are becoming available by the day in the UK, including the likes of Circos and Belles and Babes below. They offer a great option for those who want short term maternity clothing that they can return once they no longer need them. See more on clothing subscription services in our article here.

Things to Consider when buying ethical maternity clothes

Due to the unique nature of maternity clothes, there are some key points to consider.

Breastfeeding Adjustments

For any mamas that intend to breastfeed, it’s worth making sure your maternity wear allows this. Especially when buying ethical maternity dresses or tops, check they have openings to make feeding your baby easy. Or alternatively a stretchy vest that you can pull down under a loose fitting top that you can pull up can help you keep it discreet if you need to. Button down shirts and dresses are also really useful.

Woman breastfeeding
Photo by Dave Clubb on Unsplash

Versatile Pieces

Looking for clothing with versatility can simplify maternity wear shopping. Tunics can be worn with tights or maternity leggings for a look that works both during and after pregnancy. Similarly, loose-fitting clothing that can be worn as maternity wear and as everyday clothing is great for saving some money and the environment.

Brands we love for ethical maternity clothes in the UK

We love these 12 ethical maternity brands for their comfort and style to see you through this happy time! All are available in the UK.

Price Guide:

£: averaging under £25
££: averaging between £25-£60
£££: averaging over £60

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1.

frugi

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally

Made in: India, Turkey, Portugal and China 

Range: Maternity and nursing clothing and children’s wear

Price: ££

Sustainability creds: Soil Association Certified, GOTS Certified, 2020 Queens Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development

Known for its adorable children’s wear in bright colours, ethical maternity clothes from UK brand Frugi aren’t afraid to have some fun. With colourful patterns and quirky prints, Frugi’s clothing for expectant mothers is just as adorable as its children’s range.

The label uses sustainable fibres and recycled materials. It has a string of certifications to back up its environmental claims. Frugi works closely with suppliers to ensure ethical and sustainable practices are upheld throughout the supply chain.

2.

storq

Based: USA           Ships to: Internationally

Made in: USA, Peru, Philippines, China

Range: Maternity and nursing basics

Price: ££

Sustainability creds:  OEKO-TEX, Recyclable packaging, Charity programs

Storq creates the cosy essentials that every expectant mother deserves. With a focus on comfort, the brand uses soft, breathable fabrics and limited seams to design maternity clothes that make you feel good.

Storq uses eco-friendly fibres and wherever possible OEKO-TEX certified fabrics. It runs a clothing donation program to provide maternity essentials to mothers in need. Every month Storq also donates a portion of profits to women’s and children’s charities.

3.

circos

Based: Netherlands           Ships to: Europe and the UK

Range: Maternity and nursing clothes, children’s wear

Price: £

Sustainability creds:  Rental service, Sustainable Packaging

Circos offers a clever rental subscription service for maternity and children’s clothing. By renting high-quality clothing to 8-10 families, this innovative company is extending the life of maternity wear.

The brand has clothing from a wide range of labels, meaning there is a style for everyone. Whether it’s a laid back vibe or graceful look that you are after, Circos has something for you.

By engaging with the rental service, the environmental impact of an item can be reduced by up to 80%, when compared to buying new.

Woman in ethical maternity dress on beach
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

4.

Nobody´s Child

Based: UK                     Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Spain

Range: Women’s clothing, shoes and accessories

Price: ££

Sustainability creds: Made from natural materials, use of sustainable packaging, all products meet either GOTS, Oeko-Tex or Bluesign standards

Sustainable clothing brand Nobody´s Child has a great maternity range featuring its pretty floral summer and winter dresses. 

Not only suitable for your growing bump, some come with a wrap top meaning they´ll be perfect for breastfeeding later too.

Their stylish maternity dresses are made from LENZING ECOVERO viscose. This a more sustainable fabric option that makes sure any harmful chemicals are recycled in a closed-loop system. See our guides on how eco-friendly viscose is and which fabrics are the most sustainable for more info.

5.

Girlfriend Collective

Based: US            Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Taiwan, Vietnam

Range: Women’s activewear, accessories and underwear

Price: ££

Sustainability Creds: SA8000 factory, cruelty free and vegan

Girlfriend Collective is one of our favourite ethical fashion brands. It offers size inclusive, eco friendly, and affordable activewear. And good news for pregnant women, they have stylish maternity basics such as maternity bras, bike shorts and leggings.

Its factory is certified by Social Accountability International – SA8000. This means safe working conditions, no forced or child labour and the right to create a union. Their workers are paid a fair wage, provided free lunches and free health checkups plus health insurance.

As well as caring for humans and animals, Girlfriend Collective care about their carbon footprint and the environment too. They use a high percentage of recycled plastics and their clothing is designed to be recycled. We love it!    

6.

Marks and Spencer 

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally

Made in: Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe

Range: Maternity undergarments and casual wear

Price: ££

Sustainability creds: Shwopping Scheme

M&S is one of the retail giants of Britain. The brand’s maternity wear is practical and easy to wear while still having some casual contemporary flair. The range includes everyday staples such as maternity jeans from skinny to tapered to boyfriend, tights, and t-shirts, as well as comfortable maternity undergarments.

Although not perfect, M&S has made goals for creating more ethical maternity clothes. The label uses some responsibly sourced fabrics and has implemented the Schwopping Scheme. In this scheme, consumers can return used clothing to be donated to Oxfam, given to those in need, or to be recycled in exchange for an M&S voucher.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

7.

mori

Based: UK           Ships to: Internationally

Made in: Turkey and Asia

Range: Maternity and nursing clothes, children’s wear

Price: ££

Sustainability creds:  Organic cotton, recycled materials

Made with natural materials such as soft organic cotton and bamboo, UK-based Mori’s sustainable maternity clothes are the ultimate comfort clothing. Styles come in muted tones and striking black and white shades. Clothes are cleverly designed to be worn both during and after pregnancy.

Clothing is made from sustainable organic cotton and recycled materials. With an attitude of sustainability, even packaging is designed to have a reduced impact.

8.

pact

Based: USA           Ships to: Internationally

Made in: India

Range: Men’s and women’s clothing, kids’ clothing, and maternity wear

Price: ££

Sustainability creds:  Fair Trade Certified, Organic cotton, Carbon offsetting

With styles that embody a classic minimalism, ethical maternity clothes from Pact are sure to tick all the right boxes. The contemporary label has everything from practical joggers to comfy nightwear to chic dresses on offer.

The organic cotton champions, Pact clothes are silky soft, and durable. Coming in a range of muted hues, styles are always on trend. The brand has the mission to become the ‘Earth’s favourite clothing company’ and works with fair trade factories and sustainable materials to make this mission a reality.

They ship internationally for free over $50 or for $20 below.

9.

isabella oliver

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally

Made in: Europe

Range: Maternity Ranges for rental, purchase, or pre-loved collections.

Price: ££

Sustainability creds: Certified B Corporation, Living Wage Employer, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Global Climate Action, Fashion Pact Member, Canopy Pledge Signatory

Isabella Oliver is bringing casual elegance to the UK´s ethical maternity clothes market. The UK brand has everything from loungewear to occasion wear for expectant mamas. Styles are chic and modern without sacrificing on comfort. Clothing is available to buy new, to rent, or to buy pre-loved.

Isabella Oliver has some impressive sustainable credentials. The brand uses responsibly sourced fabrics, plastic free packaging and works with responsible supply chains. 10% of profits are donated to charity.

Pregnant woman in ethical maternity dress
Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

10.

belles and babes

Based: UK         Ships to: UK

Range: Maternity wear and organic children’s clothing

Price: ££

Sustainability creds:  Reusable packaging, wardrobe subscription service

Belles and Babes has fantastic capsule wardrobes that have expectant mamas looking stylish throughout their entire pregnancy. This sustainable maternity clothes option allows you to wear, return and swap maternity clothing as needed.

Using a tailored service, Belles and Babes deliver capsules of high-quality clothes from a range of brands.

By its very essence, the Belles and Babes model rejects an attitude of overconsumption. The company also uses reusable packaging to further improve its sustainable impact.

For more about this  innovative brand, have a read of our interview with their founder Emma Gillespie.

11.

Tilbea London

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally

Range: Maternity wear and nursing clothing

Price: £££

Sustainability creds: Organic Fibres, Responsibly Sourced Fabric

Tilbea London is the maternity clothing specialist that is bringing contemporary elegance to the market. The label has everything from trendy dresses to comfortable loungewear to practical nursing bras. Tilbea designs have a timeless appeal, using elegant patterns and tasteful colours to create statement pieces with a classic charm.

The UK brand uses responsibly sourced fabrics and natural fibres. Tilbea works with factories that have internal waste management systems, making sure that the environment is taken care of every step of the way.

12.

boob design

Based: Sweden           Ships to: Internationally

Made in: Portugal, Turkey, Italy, Greece, India and Morocco

Range: Maternity and nursing clothes

Price: £££

Sustainability creds:  Organic cotton, recycled materials, GOTS Certified

Swedish brand Boob Design creates clever pregnancy and nursing clothes. Designs are made to be worn during and after pregnancy, with specialist features for easy breastfeeding. The label’s refined clothing is perfect for layering and chic enough to be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Boob Design uses organic and recycled materials and explores ways to reuse deadstock fabric. It also has GOTS certification meaning ethical and eco-friendly production. They´re also sustainable in making clothes that are wearable for longer than conventional maternity clothing.

They ship to the UK for £7 or offer free shipping over £90.

The Right Clothes for You

Pregnancy is an exciting time and finding the right sustainable maternity clothes should be an enjoyable experience. Whether you choose to repurpose what you have, rent, buy pre-loved or buy new ethical maternity clothes, there are great companies and styles in the UK to choose from.

The sustainable maternity clothing market is working to protect the world your little bundle of joy will grow up in and making fashionable and comfortable styles in the process! 

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