SOUL CAP is a UK-based and black-owned business founded by Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed-Salawudeen.
They both grew up without learning to swim, and joined an adult swimming class to learn together. During those classes, they met a woman with afro hair who was struggling with her swimming cap. And that woman became the inspiration for SOUL CAP.
After talking to their friends and family, they realised there wasn’t a solution for swimmers with afro, dreadlock, 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 an essential skill, like climbing or running. So 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 weren’t encouraged to learn when they were younger.”
SOUL CAP has been selling its unique brand of extra-large swimming caps to swimmers of all ages with long and voluminous hair for over three years. They’ve shipped over 30,000 products to countries all over the world, and have appeared in a top ten list by The Independent.