A holiday visit to Cornwall turned into something rather longer for water-borne entrepreneur, Emily Evan. WORDS: DIANA MASSEY
Emily Evan is the founder of sustainable swimwear brand Mor Swimmy, and lives in Penzance, where she is at the heart of the thriving wild swimming community. Along with her ‘Mor-maids’ crew, Emily personifies community spirit with their most recent project comprising raising funds for a pontoon in the harbour for swimmers to use over the summer months.
Originally from London, Emily made the most down to west Cornwall after the lockdown. She explains “I came down to Penzance on August bank holiday weekend three years ago. I fell in love with the place and never left! I stayed with friends I’d made to delay my return and, in the end, just rented a place and have never looked back.
“It was the summer during Covid when the prevalence of outdoor swimming for exercise and distanced socialising was a lifeline for most of us. When we fell into lockdown again, it was really my main way of meeting people in a new town where you couldn’t go too close or into each other’s houses!”
One of the friends Emily met during this time was Magda, who become one of the co-founders of the brand, as Emily explains: “We had the idea of doing a pop-up shop with apparel branding positive messages about wild swimming and to celebrate our swim community and help empower women to get into the sea.
“I had an online store from my London days, so I already knew what we needed to do. We weren’t making much actual swimwear then, but people loved our fun approach, and we ended up having three more pop-up shops in town until I took it solely online making swimwear.”
Emily is passionate about Penzance and the wonderfully welcoming community: “People tend to live here for a better quality of life, so they are very open to making new friends, being outdoors and generally being up for stuff. This summer, I had the idea of fundraising for a swim pontoon. Within a month we’d raised over £5k from local swimmers and businesses and installed it the following month. The community getting behind the project just made me so proud.”
With their colourful and vibrant designs, and sustainable ethos, Emily and the Mor Swimmy crew are on a mission to welcome new swimmers and encourage them to dive into the water for a dip! But why does Emily love it so much? “It’s like flying! I think it’s the closet I can get to feeling like a playful child again. When it’s clear enough to see the seabed below it’s like another world.”