Nike's Modest Swimsuit makes tides in Islamic fashion

Nike's Modest Swimsuit makes tides in Islamic fashion
The collection, titled Victory Swim, will officially launch in February 2020 and is set to fill a gap in the modest swimwear industry.
4 min read
20 December, 2019
The collection will officially launch in February 2020 [Nike]

Nike continue to pave the way for modest fashion as they announce the launch of an exciting range of modest swimwear.

The collection, titled Victory Swim, will officially launch in February 2020 and is set to fill a gap in the modest swimwear industry – something that female athletes say will bridge the barrier towards enjoying and partaking in water sports.

However, this isn't the first time Nike have advocated for inclusive fashion. Back in 2017 they launched the much talked about Pro Hijab.

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Following a great response towards the pioneering hijab that was made of dark, breathable but opaque fabric and designed in consultation with Muslim athletes, designers at Nike became determined to continue innovating and championing athletes of all backgrounds.

Speaking about its conception Martha Moore, Nike Creative Director, VP said: "The more we listened, the more possibility we saw to serve female athletes in new dimensions.

"As we continue broadening our vision for innovation, we're excited to inspire more women to see themselves in sport by thinking creatively and designing inclusively. To us, Nike Victory Swim Collection shows the power of innovation to invite all women to discover the joy of sport."

The collection is made from a lightweight, breathable fabric known as warp-knit. It's quick-drying, and offers UPF40+ rating to help protect against the sun. The swimwear also includes a built in hair net within the hijab, an innovative water-resistant hydrophobic material, and most importantly, it skims the body instead of hugging it.

Nouf Alosaimi, Saudi Arabia's first female technical diver, says she hopes it will attract more Muslim women into water sports: "Most of the girls I meet are reluctant to swim or scuba dive because of their modesty preferences and they find it difficult finding the right modest solution. Now I can invite more girls into diving and swimming and they can enjoy the sport without concerns."

Although the news of Nike introducing modest swimwear was met with praise, they weren't the first on the scene.

The burkini was invented back in 2004 by Australian fashion designer Aheda Zanetti who said she designed the outfit to give women more freedom.

The burkini has had its fair share of controversy, yet it remains the choice of swimwear for most Muslim women and even non-Muslim women who do not feel as comfortable wearing a swimsuit.

Inclusive fashion also hit the headlines last week when a junior doctor created what is believed to be the UK's first disposable and sterile headscarf.

Read more here: Hijabi doctor introduces disposable headscarves to UK hospital

Farah Roslan came up with the idea when she realised that there was nothing suitable for her to cover her head with when working in the operating theatre.

Speaking about the disposable hijab Farah said she hopes the initiative will "remove one of the major barriers in attracting a wider and more diverse talent pool in surgery".

Farah also told BBC Radio: "I'd been using [the same headscarf] all day which obviously wasn't clean and ideal but I didn't feel comfortable taking it off so I was pulled out from the theatre, respectfully, due to infection control.

"I am so happy that my vision has become a reality and that these headscarves are now available for all of the staff."

The Nike Victory Swim range will certainly help break barriers that Muslim female athletes currently face, however, at a hefty price tag of $600, it's not exactly accessible to the masses.

A more reasonable Nike range, which includes aa swim hijab, tunic and leggings, will retail for $40-$70 – more suited for those who don't compete professionally.

Having said that, high street fashion brands can still do more to champion inclusivity in fashion – especially swimwear.

As more affordable brands, such as H&M, Zara and Mango continue to introduce modest ranges in their collection, the hope is that in years to come swimwear will also become embedded as part of their range.

Sami Rahman is a freelance lifestyle writer based in London. Follow her on Twitter: @bysamirahman