YASU, Rebel With A Cause

YASU, Rebel With A Cause

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California. Photo by Kazuhiro Tahara.

Yasu Fukuoka, known as YASU, has always been clear of his goals. He wanted to represent Japan at the Olympics – and he achieved his goal, racing in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

But he also wanted to help promote the swimming world and become an aquapreneur.

So he became a budding clothing designer who is building his own fashion brand centered around swimming and the lifestyles of swimmers. Last month, YASU launched I Swim And Travel Around The World, a swimming-centric fashion brand and label. It is the first authentic clothing brand specifically with swimmers in mind. He designs and sells jackets, jeans, sweatshirts, shirts, baseball and knit caps, t-shirts, cases and towels specifically for swimmers.

He explains, “There are outdoor, running and yoga brands that release clothing that can be worn as street wear, but there are no swimwear brands that have developed clothing in the street wear category. So when it came to swimming, there are so many clothing brands out there, but I felt that there was still a deep blue ocean left to explore.”

YASU works with models from the Dutch swimming community including 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist Ferry Weertman, world record holder Esmee Vermeulen, Paralympic gold medalist Lisa Kruger, Dutch Olympic team physiotherapist Jan Herber and Dutch Olympic coach Patrick Pearson [see here].

But he also got an Olympic tattoo on his left upper arm, a clear infraction of the code of conduct issued by the Japanese Swimming Federation. But YASU was clear of his intent in getting the tattoo and leaving his successful globetrotting swimming career behind, “I felt refreshed; I knew that I had closed the first chapter of my life.”

And he is now embarking on the next chapter with his new I Swim And Travel Around The World brand. For more information on the nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year, visit here.

Yasunari Hirai, 15th at the 2012 London Olympics and 8th in the 2016 Rio Olympics marathon swim
Ferry Weertman, world and 2016 Olympic champion in the 10 km marathon swim
Dutch world record holder Esmee Vermeulen
Dutch Paralympic gold medalist Lisa Kruger

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Steven Munatones