DUBAI: Nike’s latest innovation is a game-changing one. Following the launch of its highly-successful Nike Pro Hijab in 2017, the athletic giant has just unveiled its brand new range of modest swimwear that caters to hijab-wearing women and is set to change the face of sport globally.
Aptly entitled the “Victory Swim Collection,” the body-skimming range includes a full-coverage, water-repellent swimsuit in addition to separate options, such as tunic tops, swim leggings and a hijab that can be worn together or mixed and matched.
The size-inclusive collection was inspired when the Nike swimwear design team took a trip to South East Asia, where they observed children swimming in co-ed pools, but no mothers.
“We realized that there are some women who are under-served,” noted Martha Moore, Vice President of Design at Nike, during the unveiling of the collection in Dubai this week.
“Our goal at Nike is to make sport a daily habit from when you’re really little to when you’re really old and I was seeing people not feeling comfortable in the water because they didn’t have the right innovation or the right product to wear to be able to do any sport in or around the water,” she added.
The first step the Nike designers took before creating the prototype was to speak with female swimmers from diverse communities, to discuss the need for high-performance, modest swimwear.
The sportswear brand went on to create the first prototype, which they gave to several women to test out. The feedback from the women was virtually the same, pointing out the desire for garments that are not tight, but are lightweight and water-resistant.
Taking the feedback into consideration, the Nike designers created an updated version, resulting in a body-skimming garment made out of yarn, nylon and spandex knit fabric. The designers added a DWR finish so that the quick-drying material doesn’t absorb, but repels, water.
Additionally, each swimsuit is equipped with a built-in Nike Pro Shape Bra with perforated cups so that water drains through as one swims. Meanwhile, the Swim Hijab features an integrated mesh pocket that holds hair in place to eliminate strands from getting loose or undone in the water.
The new range of swimwear was tested out by athletes, including the first Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, and this time around, the responses were more positive. “When I first heard the news, I was super excited. I knew it was going to be life-changing,” shared Lari.
“It’s beyond amazing for the Muslim and hijabi community,” added Egyptian athlete and Nike + Run Club Coach Manal Rostom.
But the high-performance gear, which was two-years in the making, doesn’t only cater specifically to Muslim athletes but to all women who desire modest or protective options. With UPF 40+, the head-to-toe swimwear is perfect for women who suffer from skin cancer or who wish to shield their body from the sun’s UV rays in addition to those who desire to dress conservatively while swimming.
“I don’t wear the hijab, but when I go diving or swimming, I do want to dress modestly,” shares Nouf Al-Osaimi, Saudi Arabia-born diver. “So this collection makes me feel more empowered and I really think it’s going to break stereotypes.”
Adding to her statement, Moore said, “During the design process, we didn’t want to just address the elite performer but the everyday person who wants to be around the water. Whether they’re paddle-boarding or just lounging by the beach.”
The Nike Victory Swim Collection will be available from Feb. 1 online and at select global retailers, including Nike Dubai.