fashion . News & Events

Nike’s Modest Swimwear Range Is A Move Towards Inclusion

Victory Swim could open doors

Following the massive success of the Pro Hijab back in 2017 — which currently ranks at number seven on the list of the world’s most popular items according to The Lyst Index — Nike is launching a new line of modest performance swimwear for Muslim watersport athletes. Arriving in February 2020, the upcoming collection called Victory Swim features pieces that are futuristic, chic, and functional. Inspired by the lack of performance swimwear for Muslim athletes, the global brand worked closely with female Muslim athletes like Zahra Lari in the creation of the line. Victory Swim is expected to contribute to the growth of the modest fashion industry, which is slated to make USD373 billion in 2022, according to The Washington Post.

Made of polyester and lycra, the full line that includes a full suit and separates was designed to mimic aquatic life. The collection’s leggings has strategically-placed mesh vents to increase water outflow. The partner tunic top, on the other hand, has a built-in adjustable bra and an integrated hijab with a fitted headband and handy pocket to hold the hair. Not only that, but the whole line is highly stretchable, quick-drying, and it even offers sun protection. With this innovative line, Muslim athletes no longer have to compromise between modesty and movement. 

Filling in the gaps

Though a seeming breakthrough, Nike wasn’t actually the first to conceive the idea of modest swimwear. Around the beginning of the decade, we’ve had lesser-known brands come up with their modest lines fit for swimming. Madamme BK, LYRA, Narsila Marbella, are just some of the international names known to produce such pieces. In the region, we’ve had homegrown brands like Hawaii Beachwear and Emsportif cater to the needs of women who want to swim with comfort and confidence that are in line with their beliefs. These creations were borne of women who wanted to fill the gaps of their own needs. Though equally stylish and great for lounging under the sun, most of the modest swimwear already available in the market aren’t fit for high-performance watersports, which Nike is known to cater to.

Aside from Nike, one of the biggest sports brands that released hijabs for athletes was Decathlon. In an unfortunate turn of events, however, the French brand succumbed to public outrage against their launch and subsequently cancelled the production

Redefining sports and fashion

When we think of swimwear and even for most sportswear, what comes to mind are tight-fitting pieces that show much skin. It makes sense, at least, in the physics aspect of things, as certain speed-dependent activities require you to minimise the surface area of your clothing. The less, the better, as there are less materials to resist the wind and slow you down. Perhaps, it is for that reason that the needs of hijabi athletes are often overlooked. The lack of wearable pieces force them to do their own makeshift adjustments that hinders their performance. 

Nike’s release of a full modest swimwear line seems like a small step: “just clothes,” or  “just fashion,” for most. But the availability of these pieces opens doors for Muslim women, particularly those who dream of becoming professional athletes. Known for their strides for inclusivity, Nike is bound to spark a movement in the sports and fashion industry with this line. If anything, the move reminds us that all women — regardless of how they practice their faith — should have the freedom to do what they desire. More than that, the accessibility of performance clothing that aligns with their beliefs empowers them to achieve greater heights.

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