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UK-based sustainable outdoor wear brand Finisterre launch their first full-coverage swimsuit and hijab later this month. Designed alongside and created for women who prefer a more modest swimsuit, the concept behind the Seasuit is to remove barriers and improve access to the oceans, so that everyone can experience the mental and physical benefits, and transformative power of the sea.
Inspired by a surf trip to Baluchistan in southeastern Iran where marine social scientist and surfer Dr. Easkey Britton became the first person to ride waves in the region, later returning to teach other women to surf. The country’s strict laws on women covering themselves meant that Britton would surf in a full wetsuit, board shorts, rash vest and hijab, the combination of which was restrictive and uncomfortable for the required movement.
From day one, this has been about a collaboration between women, to take what they love to do – surfing – and make it easier for more women to do
Despite plenty of interest from local women, Britton realised that if surfing were ever to take off for the women in conservative countries, one of the main barriers to participation was having the right clothing to enable them to access the sea, whilst still wearing culturally appropriate gear – the concept for the Seasuit was born.
‘From day one, this has been about a collaboration between women, to take what they love to do – surfing – and make it easier for more women to do,’ says Britton.
The geometric print of the Seasuit distorts the contours of the body and the full-coverage design means it also offers maximum protection from UV rays, with an SPF rating of 50+. The accompanying ocean hijab is tailored to hold fast in rough conditions and stay put when surfing and swimming.
The suit itself is made using Seaqual Yarn, a type of 100% recycled polyester fibre made using approximately 10% marine plastic litter and 90% post-consumer PET from land sources.
‘It has all the functions to be in the water, but at the same time it was really modest,’ says Amira Patel, Founder of The Wanderlust Women. ‘To have them both together made me feel really confident in the water.’
Ten years on and with prototypes trialled by local and global communities, the Seasuit is now in full production, and will officially launch on the 10th May – an example of the growing movement amongst outdoor brands and organisations to enable more people to access the outdoors in all its elements.
It has all the functions to be in the water, but at the same time it was really modest. To have them both together made me feel really confident in the water
Alongside the product launch, applications are now open for The Seasuit Project, part of the ongoing work by the Finisterre Foundation. To be considered for involvement, applicants can nominate themselves, another person or charitable organisation that could benefit from being gifted a suit. By establishing a ‘buy one, gift one’ purchase model, with each Seasuit bought, another will be donated to successful applicants to the scheme and charity partners, allowing new communities to begin their own relationship with water.
Beneficiaries of the scheme will include non-profit organisations such as Reclaim The Sea, which aims to support people with ocean trauma and to reimagine the ocean as a safe space for everyone. Finisterre will donate eight swimsuits to their first project – teaching eight refugee women to swim and surf in Devon.
For more stories from the diverse voices of the outdoors, BASE collective member Hannah Bailey speaks to Aysha Sharif of the Wanderlust Women about diversity and accessibility in the outdoors in issue #07 of BASE magazine, or you can check out our online report on their Ramadan hike here.
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