In the days leading up to Christmas, my mum tentatively approached me as I was dropping my things having returned from work. Whenever Mum needs to tell me something I am not likely to be happy to hear she tends to engage with me when I am distracted, attempting to lighten the impact I expect. “Taz, I’m going on holiday to the British Virgin Islands on Boxing Day. I think I told you it might be a possibility [no see had not], but I am definitely going. I wasn’t going to say anything because I know how busy you will be and I didn’t want to depress you. I’m sorry that I will not be around to support you.” Honestly, it was a good job she went, she needed the rest and I was MIA (missing in action) working the post Christmas sales.
On Mum’s return she presented me with a top from HIHO, a brand I have never heard of but a little internet search soon got me acquainted. HIHO is inspired by tropical Caribbean lifestyle and pristine environment. As a result, it makes casual & comfortable clothing including linen shirts and sweaters, beach dresses, printed beach cover-ups and soft cotton tees. The brand’s founder, Andy, moved to the British Virgin Islands in 1969 with his family when he and his brother were little boys. The boys grew up on Tortola “…playing barefoot on the hills with our friends, hanging out in mango trees and sailing in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. We spent every Sunday on Cane Garden Bay which I honestly believed was the most beautiful beach in the World. As teens we sailed Sunfish, learned to surf & traveled to other islands to race yachts. Windsurfing became a passion and in 1986 I won the famous Johnnie Walker Hook-In-Hold-On race.” The stuff of children’s books.
These “boys” still enjoy island living, but now with the company of their own families who share a love for surfing, windsurfing & sailing, and stand-up paddling. In 1992 Andy took over the Hook-In-Hold-On event, shortened the name to HIHO, and has been running it each July ever since.
Oh how I need some sunshine right now. Might have to avoid the HIHO Instagram page, the rainbow pics of sunsets and cocktails might cause me to cry with envy. Next year I will have to book some Winter sun into my annual leave. In search of some soul sun, I decided to wear my HIHO ‘Hidden Surfer’ Suntech top for my first brick training session of the year. Ironically, it began to rain as I was finishing… Anyway, I chose to wear it over my black dhb undergarment, as one layer was not going to be enough against the cold but a jumper as well would produce profuse sweating (Caribbean-like you might say). It was also a way to jazz up my all black get up. The top is SPF50+ and fast drying so ideal for water sports. It is also incredibly soft and breathable against the skin so great for my training both in and outdoor.
All the pieces in the HIHO collections are soft, designed (through personal experience) to be functional, colourful and comfortable in keeping with island chic island.
Sadly HIHO pieces are only available in the Caribbean US stores (check the website for your nearest stockist), I had better get over to the BVI to stock up on sun and fashion then.