Unlike most public places (unless you have a really progressive stance on what constitutes appropriate daywear), the gym is one space in daily life where it’s pretty standard to see underwear as outerwear: sports bras as tops and micro shorts that leave little to the imagination are not unusual.
Noticing a hole in the activewear market, Ahmad Ghanem sought to address the lack of workout apparel that provides full coverage while still being flattering, stylish and sweat-friendly. Enter Veil, a new activewear brand that launched on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter last month. “We launched a survey to ask customers what kind of problems they had shopping for more modest alternatives to fitness clothing and we were blown away by the responses,” he said via email. “We had literally dozens of them tell us they shop in the men's section for looser fits. It should never be that difficult and that's really what inspired us to create something amazing for women.”
There are currently two designs available for preorder via Kickstarter and the brand’s website; a half-zip sweater with a mock neck and front and back coverage panels (available with a pledge of $51 or more) and a versatile running hoodie with a secure scuba hood that can also be worn as a head covering (yours with a pledge of $55 or more).
This isn't the first modest-leaning product Ghanem has launched. His first Kickstarter project was the Cool Dry Shawl, labeled as the "first climate-adapting hijab." Its success on Kickstarter gave Ghanem the confidence to continue to expand the brand using the platform. "They have a huge user base," says Ghanem. "And the fans that we already had from the last project made it smart for us to use it again this time."
Modesty is a sartorial choice that is universally applicable to all who prefer it, to be sure, but is often associated with the Muslim faith, where head coverings are customary for women. "It seems that it's really hard for [women who prefer modest dress] to find sportswear." In addition to the Halo, Veil also carries Hijabstrong bracelets and stickers with phrases like "Hijabs Rule" and "Proud Hijabi."
The brand launched less than a year ago, and its latest Kickstarter campaign (launched just a few days ago) has already raised more than $14,000 towards its $26,000 goal. "It's a great feeling simply because we see and hear how excited our customers are for it," says Ghanem. "We're still a young startup, so to be able to see all these people come together in one place to bring a project to life that they believe in makes us happy."
What's next for the young brand? "If I had to take a guess, I'd say modest swimwear is next on our to-do list!"