If Gymshark designs gym clothes with a sharkskin texture, they could inspire their 18 million followers not only to dress up like a shark in the gym, but also save sharks.
By making the gym clothes work as swimsuits, they could take a big bite of the swimsuit market worth US$80 billion and, at the same time, revolutionize how swimsuits could look.
Doing good and looking good?
Swimsuits have been around for centuries—though the bikini since 1946—but sharks are much older, at 420 million years old. However, sharks will not be around much longer if we keep killing 100 million sharks each year.
Gymsharks is a fast, innovative company that could add a lot of creativity and impact with the purpose of saving the sharks (remember, without real sharks, there’s a risk the brand would sink). They have grown from a garage in Birmingham in 2012 to become a global brand in 230 countries with over 900 employees, selling fitness apparel and accessories. Their success formula is connected to key values as ambitious, agile, disruptive—this is exactly what’s been working for sharks for millions of years.
Making 100 million people dress up like a shark and take a swim
On Shark Awareness Day on July 14, could Gymshark inspire their millions of followers to get friends to follow them into a global swim to bring awareness to the sharks? This would be done in a positive and active way, fitting in with how athletes are always moving—like their brand.
Dressing up famous people as a shark for a swim
There are thousands of stars who support nature. So, dress them all up for a swim, making the sea the biggest catwalk ever, and for a good cause.
Since the company is in 230 countries, there’s already a great start to invite 10 stars and athletes from each country. In the UK, Sir Richard Branson would be a good person to invite since he is concerned about the survival of the shark—he could contribute or invest in foundations protecting sharks and marine life. Dame Ellen MacArthur is another well known Brit who supports marine life and eliminating waste plastics.
Most stars today have social media accounts where they can spread the word and create a global swimming event—100 million people isn’t that lofty a goal. What stars could they invite and dress up? Would you join the swim?
Let the consumer feel like a superhero for nature
Dressing up like a shark gives everyone a sense that they’re a superhero for nature. By designing gym gear and swimsuits in a sharkskin print sends a strong message. It also has an additional purpose if these gym clothes can also be used as swimsuits: buy one, get two functions.
Swimsuits have typically shown the wearer’s skin to allow for tanning; here one could use a tan-through material that also looks like a shark’s skin.
Consciousness, numbers and safety!
By raising the consciousness regarding sharks and their important part in our ecosystem, Gymshark can do more than dress up 100 million people—they can educate and show that we’re on the same sporting team saving earth). Numbers are important, too! How much money can be raised in saving the sharks—a percentage of sales from this collection could go to a foundation that run by Gymshark (with their innovative leadership and passionate users).
It’s also important to communicate that this shark print isn’t about spreading fears of sharks; nor are they meant to be shark-safe. Rather, users need to be educated to respect sharks. There are a number of ways to promote safety: one idea could be creating an in-gym “shark cage” containing training equipment that could be used in gyms around the world. It would be great for photographs and selfies to spread around the world, connecting the Gymshark brand with real sharks, as well as safety, the sea, and swimsuits, thereby giving the brand an original grass roots’ feeling.
This article’s purpose is to inspire and showcase how companies can by themselves take an active role in sustainably. Gymshark is more than welcome to make this idea swim: we leave the future to Ben Francis, Danielle Petesic, Niran Chana and the rest of their 900 shark-team.
By Stefan Engeseth, author of Sharkonomics, and Jack Yan, publisher of Lucire and ghost writer of Panos: My Life, My Odyssey.