Over the last couple of days we’ve celebrated the Black faces that will take part in the Summer Olympics. We’ve also learned more about some of the brands designing for designated teams. Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand will sponsor all of the loungewear for the US teams, while Telfar will design the uniforms for Liberia’s Track and Field team. Although we’re still unsure of all brands sponsoring team uniforms, we know this Black-owned swimming cap brand was denied by FINA (the federation for international competitions in water sports) because elite athletes “don’t require caps of such size.”
SOUL CAPS is a Black-owned brand produces swimming caps that can accommodate people with afros, locs, and protective styles. Founded by Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman, the inclusive brand makes it possible for all people with various hair types to participate in swimming activities without having to worry about their hair.
In a statement to Metro, Ahmed voiced concerns about the lack of representation. “For younger swimmers, feeling included and seeing yourself in a sport at a young age is crucial,” he said. “‘How do we achieve participation and representation in the world of competition swimmers, if the governing body stops suitable swimwear being available to those who are underrepresented?”
Growing up, swimming caps allowed most Black children to enjoy pool and beach time. Because our kinks, curls and coils require more attention, women often resorted to protective styles or swimming caps so they could enjoy the water.
FINA may not see the need for larger swimming caps but the truth is, this product is beneficial to more than people with afros. Men and women with big thick curls, locs, braids, or long straight hair should be able to confidently and comfortably compete in the Olympics without worrying about a minor detail like a swimming cap.