The German sportswear company adidas has thrown its considerable weight behind fostering an inclusive sports landscape, with the launch of its first collection of swimwear that caters to women who prefer to cover up while in the water.
The Full-Cover Swimwear Collection, which launches on Thursday, consists of 18 pieces that are the result of consultations with communities around the world, to discover what women actually want from their swimwear.
An expert in sports apparel and technical fabrics, adidas has designed a collection that aims to be as women-centric as possible.
It's not only about covering bodies from head to toe, but also considering the full spectrum of inclusivity in sportswear. For example, to stop long sleeves from riding up, thumb holes have been added, while tops are held snuggly in place over leggings and shorts thanks to press studs around the hips.
Even a waterproof hijab was properly thought through, with an adjustable liner cap in place, to prevent it from slipping while swimming.
The new collection reflects the findings of a 2021 survey by YouGov that discovered only 12 per cent of women feel completely at ease when wearing a swimsuit in public, citing body shaming and lack of privacy as reasons.
Another survey in the UAE, meanwhile, found that almost two-thirds of women felt pressured by the idea of the “unattainable body” touted by media, with the majority struggling to find swimwear they felt comfortably covered in.
Sybille Baumann, senior product manager at adidas swimwear, said: “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 and our Full-Cover Swimwear Collection is rooted in that mentality.”
Dareen Barbar, the Lebanese adidas ambassador and amputee athlete, who lives in Dubai, features in the campaign. Barbar recently made news for breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest Samson's chair/static wall sit by an amputee.
Asma Elbadawi, the Sudanese-British basketball player, spoken-word poet and sports inclusivity activist, joins Barbar for the campaign.
Speaking of the project, Elbadawi explained why the topic is close to her heart. "I am incredibly proud to support a campaign that will remove barriers for women across the world to enjoy swimming," she said.
“Sport never judges you, that is why we love it and I am passionate about finding ways to ensure we can provide a level playing field for all. Sadly that is not always possible, but gone are the days where sport apparel needs should be a barrier to entry, especially when it comes to being in and around the water.”
The collection comes in three colours – black, burgundy and purple – and sizes 2XS to 2XL. Pieces are priced between Dh99 and Dh249.
While offering better coverage, the collection is also mindful of the environment, and so is crafted with technical fabric that is not only chlorine resistant and quick drying, but also in part made with Econyl, consisting of recycled and regenerated yarn.