September 6-8, 2013
Orange County Convention Center
Neons, Print Mixing, And Audacious Onesies Keep Looks Fresh And Increase Year-Round Appeal.
By Kailee Bradstreet of Transworld Business
Navigating stores in search of the perfect swimsuit can be a daunting task for the average gal. We envision what we want down to the most miniscule details, and depending on whether we’re spending the day surfing, partying poolside, or relaxing beachside, we’re always aiming for a fashion statement and unwilling to settle for anything less.
Retailers are certainly not lost on this concept, but there’s a LOT out there. Luckily, we did the homework for you and found out exactly what should be on your radar—and what should be dropping off—so you can get ahead of the curve moving into 2013.
As swimwear season starts earlier and ends later each year, the category is gradually turning into a year-round business. “We have seen increases from a lot of our retailers,” says L*Space President and Creative Director Monica Wise, whose brand is transitioning to selling swim 365 days a year. “This year, a lot of retailers experienced early strong sales for swim versus the year before. Sales channels have also grown within the Midwest territories this season.”
Consumers respond to newness, creating demand for fresh product at all times, in turn lengthening the season, explains Hurley Girl’s Marketing Manager Shannon Munoz. Consumer habits have changed to be more buy-now, wear-now. At the same time, swim lines report growth in resort sales in the early months.
Many key looks are carrying over from this season, especially the mixing—not matching—trend combining smaller, ruched bottoms in bright solids with printed tops, according to Southern California’s Becker and beachworks buyer Tasha D’Andrea. “We are selling more bottoms than tops, and we are selling a lot of the ruched, very cheeky bottoms at a high-end price point,” says D’Andrea, citing the Luli Fama brand in particular is flying off shelves. “I don’t think price is an issue—if you like it, you are going to buy it no matter what.”
The separates business continues its strong growth at retail. “Going forward, we’re focusing on as much separates as possible and a larger selection of solids that you can tie into every print from every company,” D’Andrea says.
Expect to see more print mixing in 2013 as well as updates on tropical, animal, hombre, and textured prints, and creative spins on different fabrics and embellishments. “String details, banding, knotting, and we’re bringing back crochet from our original line!” says Mikoh Co-owner Kalani Miller of the brand’s “blast from the past” 2013 collection.
D’Andrea says crochet has been a must-have item, and any suits with this type of detailing are selling fast, noting that Billabong’s Bob Marley-inspired crochet set did exceptional at retail. L*Space’s “Tiffany” aqua blue bandeau tops, as well as Tavik’s Tazmanian Tribal and snakeskin prints stood out in-store, and the Becker crew is looking forward to former Tavik designer Nicole Hanriot’s debut collection Beach Riot to hit shelves next season, D’Andrea says.
Make It Pop
“Strong colors are back with hints of neon and unabashed brights worked back with grungy ethnic prints,” says Insight women’s designer Fleur Boys. “It’s a really nice mash-up of clashing prints, strong ’80s lingerie detailing, and a great blend of high-octane, early ’90s glamour to sugary ’50s-inspired shapes.”
Over at Billabong, Head Designer Mandy Fry is backing the combination of brights and modern prints with a new collab collection by artist Maya Hayuk., in addition to its solids Mix Ups collection. “This Spring, we are loving all things neon,” says Fry.
B. Swim designer Nikol Roberts concurs that bright equals beautiful and expects to see bold colors continue to shine. “Swimwear is the one place you can experiment with bright shades. Since swim is becoming more of a fashion piece, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of it outside the typical watering holes.”
Many brands are fashioning swimwear that doubles as bra tops, as ladies get more creative with layering or just rocking bralette tops on their own with high-waisted denim cutoffs.
Molly Brown’s, a niche swimwear boutique, says specialty tops are doing well in their Newport and Laguna Beach locations this season, but that it expects to see a few styles dwindle in popularity for 2013. “I feel like fringe tops are really strong right now,” owner Donna Allen says. “There was just a few places you could get that, but now everyone is doing it. I do think that will move forward, but I’m not sure how long it will last.”
Nailing down a different look is what girls are really looking for, recognizes O’Neill swim designer Anya Violet. “We are noticing that even though everyone loves the classic triangle, the consumer is looking for newness,” she says, noting the brand is adding push-up, hybrid, and “V” wire bandeau tops to its ’13 collection.
In that same vein, Swim Systems is launching its new Ultimate Push-Up Bra top “that will increase your cup up to two sizes,” Marketing Director Eden Struss says. “Knock ’em out, baby! Shazaam!”
Tighter collections with shrinking SKUs are a resounding trend for most brands. Pricepoints also appear to be holding strong, and most brands say their 2013 collection will put a large emphasis on versatility.
“We are offering six smaller collections each year to ensure we are as close to market with trending and direction as possible, offering fresh product drops for our retailers every two months,” Boys says. “This and offering smaller ranges more often keeps the product fresh and relevant.”
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