Itee, our PADI certified co-founder shares some of her dive secrets and how the deep blue gives her inspiration for the brand.
I love to travel and experience the beauty of our incredible world. There is so much to see and touch and breathe and taste – history, art, food, culture, museums. But I am a water baby and love being by the ocean every chance I get.
Ever since I got certified, I try to dive every time I have an opportunity, and once you get over the initial jitters of being underwater with a tank of oxygen strapped to your back, diving is the best form of meditation there is. Underwater, is where I draw a lot of my design inspiration and I also get to see first-hand the impact of our industry – fashion is the second most polluting industries in the world, and the potential of what can be – turning all that trash into resource!
I first got hooked on diving (mind the pun) when I infamously ventured too far from my boat chasing after one of the Gili Island’s iconic sea turtles while snorkeling, and my guide reminded me, that we were “snorkeling” and not “free-diving”, and definitely not veering to far from our boat. From then on, I knew I had to go farther and deeper!
After Lombok, I started free diving, first at the Palawan islands in the Philippines, and then in the Galapagos islands in Ecuador to see some of the most incredible marine life I have ever witnessed in the Isabela, Santa Cruz and Plaza Sur islands.
After that, I got serious about diving and got PADI certified in Mabul, Borneo making the most of the incredible dive sites around Sipidan.
Closing the Loop
I love being in the water, but it makes me an eyewitness to the negative impact we, as humans, are making on our oceans – islands of garbage, bleached coral reefs and dying marine life. Our beaches are saturated with plastic.
Stunning coral at Mnemba Atoll, Zanzibar. Photo by Itee Soni, Co-founder, Loop Swim
Every year, over 300 million tons of new plastic is being produced…worse still less than 10% is being recycled! There is an estimated seven million tons of plastic that ends up in our beautiful oceans.
Maldives. Photo by Itee Soni, Co-founder, Loop Swim
I enjoy being in the water, but not being part of the problem. At Loop we want to be a part of the solution. It’s one of the reasons we started Loop; to help reduce plastic waste, by creating sustainable swimwear made from recycled plastics.
We understand that while, as a brand, our core value is being sustainable, it is our styles and designs that sell the suits, and the oceans provide boundless inspiration for those. We want you to know, that when you choose one of our suits, you are truly a part of a very stylish solution! (If we do say so ourselves!)
The prints in our latest collection – Oceania and Living Coral – were inspired by the incredibly pure shores of the Maldives and the corals of Mnemba Atoll on Zanzibar.
In fact, I spotted my first Sting Ray in the Maldives!
My Dive Aspirations
The world is a big place, and there are still so many places to explore and so much inspiration to be had. When I travel, I like to combine different experiences, and always try to get a dive in!
Like in Ecuador, where the Galapagos islands with their incredible animal life and truly unbelievable flora and fauna make up some of the most gorgeous landscapes I have seen, but the Ecuadorian mainland has the most interesting history and a stunning coastline. I was so lucky to enjoy a stay at the hotel right next to the presidential palace in the historical center of Quito and to date, it is the most beautiful capital center I have visited.
The other memorable experience were the safaris in Tanzanian national parks followed by some diving around in Zanzibar.
Here’s my top five travel wish list – so expect to see some design themes creeping into future prints and stay tuned for photos!
1/ Red Sea, Egypt – What a country to visit for its history and then to dive here would be incredible.
2/ Silfra, Iceland – I’ve always wanted to travel to Iceland and diving this site would make it out of this world – or really between two worlds. You dive into a lake and swim between two continents (North America and Europe) at this spot. The chasm between the two tectonic plates leads to a huge cave with amazing visibility and jaw-dropping views (not my words, but I believe the pictures!). The water is really cold here because of the melting glaciers about 20 miles away, so I’m going to beef up with two Loop rashies under a thick wetsuit J but wow, right!
3/ Great Barrier Reef and Yongala, Australia – the world’s granddaddy of diving spots, and for good reason.
4/ Blue Corner Wall, Palau – I would actually like to take my business partner’s older daughter here. She is now 12 and can get certified, and I would love to introduce her to diving. Plus, it is very close to our home base here in Shanghai!
4b/ Raja Ampat, Indonesia – I’ve heard great things and want to check it out myself.
5/ Great Blue Hole, Belize – Because it looks stunning and c’mon, it is Belize!
And a bonus one! (for my true love of Hawaii):
I want to go back to Hawaii to try the night dive in Kona to spot manta rays.