Beach season is back. And while you may have put substantial effort into cultivating the perfect beach babe outfit, can the same be said for your beach towel? Undoubtedly the last thing to be considered, an old, bulky bath sheet invariably gets taken for a day out on the sand – but thanks to a lightbulb moment from an ex-Dubai dweller and her childhood best friend, the boring beach towel is a concept that has quite literally been hung out to dry.
“Necessity truly is the mother of invention – which we learn quickly when we become mothers,” says beach lifestyle brand Anaskela’s co-founder, and one time Dubai resident, Jana Khoury. “Your appreciation for efficiency, for products that make life easier and don’t compromise on style multiply when you have a hectic lifestyle – and raising a family makes you so much more aware of the need for items that make daily activities just that little bit simpler.”
Growing up in Greece, and currently living in the UK, Jana spent every summer on the beaches of her homeland, returning now with her own young family in tow. And it was on one of those beautiful Greek beaches that the idea for Anaskela was born.
“My business partner and childhood friend Melissa Ward-Papageorgiou came up with the concept when travelling around the Greek Islands with her kids in 2018,” explains Jana, whose 20-year career in luxury fashion PR saw her working with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. “She felt that their bulky beach towels were weighing the family down and taking up too much space in their luggage, and wanted to create something better. So she brought the idea to me, and we decided that there must be a better way to live – at least while on vacation. The rest of the story, like those soggy, terry cloth towels covered in sand, is Anaskela history.”
The goal was to create a stylish and functional towel that was more conducive to travel, and less than a year after they started work on their business plan, Jana and Melissa launched their debut collection. Weighing just 200 – 300 grams, each super-thin, eco-friendly Anaskela towel is made using fibres made from recycled PET bottles, is super absorbent, quick-drying, and sand-repellant.
“The concept of the travel towel already existed of course, but we couldn’t find one that was aesthetically exciting or sustainable,” explains Jana. “So we decided those three values – functionality, sustainability and design – would be the pillars of our business, and behind every decision we would make. Designed to be stunning, compact, lightweight, absorbent, and quick-drying, our towels blend functionality with aesthetics in order to perform as well as looking great.”
With sustainability central to their ethos, ensuring that Anaskela products were created with as much thought and consideration for the planet as possible is fundamental to their business. “At launch, each towel was produced using six recycled plastic bottles,” says Jana. “As Anaskela’s business grows, so is our pledge to increasing the amount of recycled material in our fabric.”
Jana and Melissa work together on each collection’s design, colour and concepts, usually brainstorming on or somewhere near a beach in Greece. Once rough designs are finalised and translated into a printable format, the initial edit is put together, which is gradually whittled down to a final offering. “We’re not really driven by fashion or trends, but more by what we would want to have for the summer, or what we can see our friends liking,” Jana explains. “Our collection usually starts with a vibe or something we’ve seen or experienced, and evolves from there. And we’ve been so lucky and happy with how the towels have been received. Customers have been leaving great reviews and even emailing directly to give us their feedback, which we appreciate so much. I think a lot of people were really surprised that a product made using recycled plastic bottles could actually feel so soft to the touch.”
With such positive feedback for items made wholly from recycled materials, Jana hopes consumers are learning just how technologically advanced sustainable fashion products are. “Supply comes from demand, so I hope consumers become more and more demanding for products that are well made, long-lasting and are not detrimental to our planet. We need to become more innovative and create ways to fulfil the desire for beauty and consumption with products that are smart and enduring.”
Aside from product and packaging, the brand also contribute financially to specific charitable organisations, donating a percentage of profits to WWF Greece, as well as organising beach cleanups – something they hope can resume once it’s safe to gather in groups again
“As true lovers of the beach, we’re doing what we can to protect our precious environment, and will always look for ways to improve our products and reduce our carbon footprint,” explains Jana. “We’re very conscious of practicing what we preach, but in no way do we claim to be the perfect example. We’re really mindful about what we put into the world, because sustainability is massively important to us, and we’re learning more and more what that means every day.”
For more information, visit anaskela.com