Named after the Scandinavian version of the phrase “ahoy”, Dubai-based swimwear label Ohoy is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one. Created by Anna Neilson, a Danish photographer, and Henna Kaarlela, a Finnish freelance producer, the range seeks to solve some major swimwear problems – namely fit, form and environmental footprint.
Both keen surfers, Kaarlela and Neilson had struggled to find suits that stayed in place, didn’t slip, yet looked as good on land as in water, and decided to set about creating their own. Yet, having both also seen first-hand the problem of plastic pollution in their beloved oceans, becoming part of the solution rather than the problem was a key concern.
After educating themselves about the polluting impact of the textiles industry, they teamed up with Dutch NGO Ghost Fishing, which removes abandoned, lost or dumped fishing nets from the ocean, and set about using the gathered plastic to create a unique new recycled material. The result, they say, is not only green, but twice as resistant to chlorine, sun creams and oils as traditional swimwear fabrics.
The fabric is used in all of their double-layered suits, which are produced in Sharjah, designed to look as good under shorts as they do in the surf, and rigorously tested for functionality. With 16 designs now in production, retailing from Dhs325 to Dhs390 each, Kaarlela and Neilson will release their first bikini in January, are working on a range for curvier figures, and have turned their attentions to the challenge of creating an effective but environmentally sound recycled wetsuit. They’re also planning to expand from online-only sales into the UAE’s markets and retailers in the very near future. Watch this space.