SOUL CAP Brand Story
SOUL CAP is a UK-based and Black-owned brand founded by best friends, Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed. They both grew up without learning to swim, and in 2017 joined an adult swimming class to learn together. During those classes, they met a woman with afro hair who was struggling with the tight fit of her swimming cap.
After talking to their friends and family, they realised there wasn't a solution for swimmers with afro hair, locs, braids or any kind of voluminous hair – so they decided to create their own.
"Swimming never felt like a normal thing that the people around us were doing when we were kids," said Michael Chapman, co-founder of SOUL CAP. "When we were growing up, swimming was never really seen as a Black person's sport. And that meant the kids weren't chasing it, the parents weren't encouraging it, and the teachers at school weren't promoting it."
"And that's strange, when you think about it. Learning to swim isn't just for sport or competition: it's a life-saving skill. It’s sad to think there are so many adults out there who don't feel safe or confident in the water – all because they’ve been told it’s not for them."
Since 2017, SOUL CAP has brought over 40,000 swim caps to swimmers all over the world, and have been celebrated in The New York Times, VOGUE, Women’s Health and Refinery29 for their work in challenging diversity in aquatics.
Due to popular demand and support over the past year, SOUL CAP have increased their sizing range and extended their colourways to cater for open water swimmers who need to be seen.
SOUL CAP’s advocacy for diversity in aquatics starts from the ground up, working with grassroots organisations like Empowered Swimming and TankProof, who provide free swimming education to disadvantaged communities, as well as access to swimwear that fits through SOUL CAP.
And SOUL CAP are only just getting started. They are on a mission to make swimming accessible for everyone, making their tagline #SwimForAll a reality through their extended product line and through driving necessary conversations.
They’re normalising the habit of adults learning to swim, exploring the financial accessibility of pools for different communities and they’re spotlighting the astounding mental health benefits that swimming brings, including those with neurodiverse conditions such as Autism and ADHD.