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ONE of the faces for Nike’s Victory Swim, the brand’s first foray into modest swimwear, is Arinna Erin Wira.

The UK-based Malaysian model is signed to BAME Models and Talent Agency. An inclusive-fashion advocate who enjoys swimming, she has a Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Social Media from London’s Brunel University.

In an e-mail interview, she talks about how brands are recognising the power of being inclusive.

What is your take on the swimwear?

I respect the brand for its initiative to be inclusive which includes creating a modest swimwear collection for Muslim women or those who prefer to wear something with full coverage. The moment I tried on the swimwear, I felt proud and somewhat relieved. It’s definitely a big deal when global brands cater to Muslim women’s needs. It means our voices have been heard and Nike listened.

What are your thoughts on the development of swimwear for Muslim women who wear the hijab?

People have a different understanding of what modesty is, so there will always be those who question whether something is modest enough. I respect brands that actually take a step to help Muslim women solve the problem of not having proper swimming attire without compromising modesty.

The fact that modest swimwear or active wear is being made especially for Muslim women shows growth in today’s society and it is slowly being accepted and understood.

Do you think non-Muslim women who prefer covering up would like this too?

Modesty is not just for Muslim women. There are so many women who prefer to be covered up when they’re doing sports or in casual clothes. Full coverage attire isn’t just for Muslim women. It’s the individual’s choice to wear what they want on their own terms.

Arinna says that modest swimwear or active wear being made especially for Muslim women shows growth in today’s society.
Arinna says that modest swimwear or active wear being made especially for Muslim women shows growth in today’s society.

How often do you swim?

Back in Malaysia I would swim every month, whether on vacation or at a community swimming pool. It’s something I find relaxing and therapeutic. I try my best to brush up on my strokes and swimming techniques.

Do you think swimwear like this would even have existed ten years ago?

During that time I had already worn full coverage swimwear just so I wouldn’t get awkward tan lines. I never knew it was a problem for Muslim women to find modest swimwear, because I had always known how to compromise and be creative with my outfits. It was never an issue for me until it was pointed out by family, friends and also the media.

During the period of the Burkini ban, it actually struck a nerve in me. I was wondering why this could’ve become an issue in the first place. So I started to observe and I rarely saw any hijab wearing Muslim women swim or take a dip in the pool. The availability of modest swimwear does bring a positive impact for Muslim women.

How would a product like this encourage more Muslim women to work out?

A friend once told me that exercise should be a natural part of your life, not something you choose to put into your routine.

Clothing shouldn’t be the deciding factor of whether or not you’re equipped to sweat it out, but it is definitely a motivating factor to help you get started.

Give up the excuses and find the solution.

Leverage on the technology, resources and products that are available in the market, and go for it.

With the right mindset, you will be motivated to do anything.

Arinna is one of the faces for the Nike campaign.
Arinna is one of the faces for the Nike campaign.

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