SWIM, SURF & CREATIVITY WITH DANI & YANN

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SWIM, SURF & CREATIVITY WITH DANI & YANN

by Stella Hughes

SWIM, SURF & CREATIVITY WITH DANI & YANN

SWIM, SURF & CREATIVITY WITH DANI & YANN

by Stella Hughes

Personal values have changed a lot over the last few years – and one of which is how we live. Bringing the world to a standstill forced a lot of realisations with how we choose to spend our work and leisure time, along with new considerations about where we choose to reside, thanks to the surge in remote working. For those that haven’t fled the city just yet, there was a new-found emphasis on London’s plentiful green spaces. From trips around the Heath, where you’re as likely to bump into Harry Styles as you are most of the teenagers in North London, to the pockets of green that populate the inner city, London actually has enough trees in it to be considered a forest: far from the concrete jungle that many of us seem to experience it as.

Coupled with the intense rise in temperatures that is only set to continue in future summers, a lot of these urban oases have places to swim, luckily. Whether that’s the ponds in the Heath, the specified section of the Serpentine, or one of the city’s sun-soaked lidos, there are places of inner-city refuge for those who thrive beside water. One of these is in Richmond Park, in which its multiple lakes and ponds and vast expanses of green space provide a place to reflect, escape and muse on the city it flanks.

We caught up with two of our community members and creatives, Dani and Yann, in Richmond Park to talk through their multifaceted relationship with the city and with water, as well as Nike Swim’s new collection. 

So firstly, how are you guys?
D:I’m doing great, taking it easy.

Y: Yeah I’m good thanks!

Introduce yourselves to our readers.
D: I’m Dani, someone who enjoys taking photos of people and gets to call it her job.

Y: I’m Yann, I was born and raised in Guadeloupe, an island in the Caribbean. I do many things, but am mainly a model. I started modelling when I moved to Paris and I was scouted there, and have met a lot of talented people through it. It also helped me understand the fashion industry – from consulting, helping with artistic direction or even sourcing.

Take us through the shoot – was it fun?
D: I really enjoyed the NIKE swim shoot, mostly because of my journey there. It’s really important for me to bond with nature, so cycling to Richmond Park at 5:30 in the morning was my favourite part.

Y: I actually loved standing on a tree trunk in the lake, just cause it was fun.

How do you define creativity?
D: Creativity = FUN.

Y: Creativity is everything! I think it is one of the most important parts of anyone’s journey. Everything around us is based on creativity. Design, music, architecture.

How has London as a city shaped you?
D: It allowed me to be myself without having to try too hard to stand out. There’s a lot of demand, and a lot of people providing. Everyone is killing it and there’s opportunity for all.

Y:I’m not from London so I couldn’t say that it shaped me yet. Maybe it will after a few years, but at the moment I just appreciate living in this city.

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DANI

So Dani – what do you do for fun?
I love cycling and playing video games. Occasionally I enjoy building furniture and coming up with random projects to distract myself from everything that’s going on. Living in a city is very overwhelming.

For sure. Where are your favourite places to escape the noise?
I love my studio. It’s the place I go to when I don’t want to be around anyone and can focus on what my brain is cooking up next.

What does your personal map of London look like?
I love Little Portugal – I go there almost everyday for food, snacks, or even just cycling past to see familiar faces and hear the language. I love south and spend most of my time here, between Bermondsey and Brixton Hill. 

City or green space?
GREEN SPACE!!!!

On to the swimming – what’s your earliest memory of being in the water?
My mom took me swimming everyday from when I was maybe 3 or 4. I definitely remember her letting go of me in a pool without the floaty armbands and I thought I backflipped. All my life I’ve been telling everyone the story of how I actually backflipped 4 times the first time I went swimming but I can now say it’s actually not true…

What about your favourite memory of being in the water, and why?
Swimming in Santa Cruz where I grew up. I spent every day or every Summer in the water. It got to the point where my blonde highlights turned green. It was the best time of my life.

What does your day-to-day look like now, in London?
So I wake up, have cereal or a smoked salmon bagel, shower and start cycling to my studio across South London where I’ll catch up with work I have to do. Hopefully some of my friends will be out and I’ll cycle over to them, which is usually somewhere in East London. If I’m in the mood I’ll do pilates when I get home. And I’m drinking 1.5L of water through it all, of course.

What do you look for when choosing stuff to wear in the water?
I think it can be quite tricky when you’re someone who’s not very confident with their body to find something that you feel comfortable with but also looks cute. It’s definitely something that as a teen, me and a lot of girls struggled with. It takes a little bit of time until you discover what you feel is your best and safest, but when you do, it’s the best feeling.

What do you like about this Nike Swim collection?
I love the black top with the lacing in the back. It’s actually cute, made me feel safe and is very comfortable to wear.

Nice. Would you recommend this range to friends or fellow water babies then? 
Sure! It’s got very different pieces that work for every occasion, and everything is super practical.

How would you style these pieces in your everyday life?
I love how I styled them at the shoot- with baggy pants or shorts. On a hot day where you just wanna swim, you can’t go wrong with this look.

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YANN

Hey Yann. What do you get up to for fun?
100% Surf. I skate if I’m in a city with no waves, like Paris or London.

Where do you go for an urban escape in London?
Canary Wharf by the Thames, it’s really calm there.

Interesting, so where do you spend the most time in the city?
When I’m in London I spend most of my time at Mile end or Southbank, because I skate and chill there with my friends. But if I’m in the mood to shop I like to hang around Soho.

City or green space?
Green space, or Blue space (the ocean), ideally.

What’s your earliest memory of being in the water?
I’ve always lived by the sea, and remember being 3 or 4 years old enjoying the sea with my mum watching over me.

What about your favourite memory of being in the water?
When I was 6 my mum finally started to let me bodyboard and surf. This is the best memory I have. I don’t even know why I’ve always wanted to surf, as I’m the only one to do it in my family.

Take us through a typical day in the life for you.
I travel a lot so it really depends where I am. If I’m by the ocean and waves are good, I will definitely be surfing. Wake up, surf and then chill. But unfortunately I’m not always by the sea, so on a regular day in Paris, I wake up, check my emails and talk to different agencies in Milan, Paris and London about upcoming shoots and travel, and then I skate or hang out with my friends and girlfriend. I also spend a lot of time with Allan Arma, talking about our upcoming projects.

On to surfing – what’s the secret to catching waves?
There is no secret, just practice . The first 2- 3 hours will be awful if you are a beginner, but if you have a good teacher you start catching waves by yourself after a couple days of surfing. The only good advice I can give is that the position on your board while paddling is really important.

What’s the craziest surf story you’ve experienced?
Surfing in my secret spot. It’s really remote, and I went by myself during the covid lockdowns with only one friend. Police pulled up in a helicopter, and started circling above us telling us to get out of the sea and leave. We didn’t.

Where’s your favourite place to surf and why?
I think it’s probably on my island in Guadeloupe, just because I’m a local there so I know all the best spots. My favourite waves there is called Razor, it’s a perfect long stretch and not many people surf there because it’s quite tricky to get in the water with the reef and that.

So what do you look for when choosing swimwear – how important is the blend between form and function for you?
I look for how stretchy it is, and also how fast it dries. Other than that, the shape is important for me. I think it’s 50/50 with form and function – if I don’t like the shape of a short I won’t geet it, even for surfing, because to me surfing is also about the aesthetic. If the shorts are ugly it will mess up the whole aesthetic haha.

Do you have a favourite piece from the Nike Swim collection?
I did really like the shorts, they had a nice silhouette and were super comfy too.

Would you recommend this range to your fellow surfers?
Yes, just cause the whole collection was modern, and the material used for the shorts seemed really good to be honest.

How would you style these pieces?
I would probably just wear it with a white tank top, a trucker hat, white socks and my pair of Nike Cortez Comptons.

Where’s your favourite place to surf and why?
I think it’s probably on my island in Guadeloupe, just because I’m a local there so I know all the best spots. My favourite waves there is called Razor, it’s a perfect long stretch and not many people surf there because it’s quite tricky to get in the water with the reef and that.

So what do you look for when choosing swimwear – how important is the blend between form and function for you?
I look for how stretchy it is, and also how fast it dries. Other than that, the shape is important for me. I think it’s 50/50 with form and function – if I don’t like the shape of a short I won’t geet it, even for surfing, because to me surfing is also about the aesthetic. If the shorts are ugly it will mess up the whole aesthetic haha.

Do you have a favourite piece from the Nike Swim collection?
I did really like the shorts, they had a nice silhouette and were super comfy too.

Would you recommend this range to your fellow surfers?
Yes, just cause the whole collection was modern, and the material used for the shorts seemed really good to be honest.

How would you style these pieces?
I would probably just wear it with a white tank top, a trucker hat, white socks and my pair of Nike Cortez Comptons.

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