NEW YORK — With the airline industry facing upheaval, terrorism still weighing heavily on the minds of travelers and cruise ships plagued with sick passengers, vacation-dependent swimwear firms are employing a variety of strategies and special...
NEW YORK — With the airline industry facing upheaval, terrorism still weighing heavily on the minds of travelers and cruise ships plagued with sick passengers, vacation-dependent swimwear firms are employing a variety of strategies and special promotions to attract shoppers.
And with this year’s retail sales expected to be flat or slightly up from last year’s $1.8 billion, executives are breaking away from well-worn formulas in favor of new practices.
Peter Rubin, president of the Swimwear Manufacturers Industry Association, expects travel to pick up next year.
"A lot of people didn’t travel last year because they were afraid to get on planes," Rubin said. "Now people feel it’s necessary to get away. They might not go see the pyramids, but they will drive or get on a plane to go to Florida."
There is a tremendous amount of pressure on manufacturers to keep prices down, said Brenda West, vice president of Manhattan Beachwear, the maker of the Hot Kiss, Hobie, Surfside and Ocean Avenue junior lines. The company also produces VM Sport, a misses’ label.
Department stores have seen retail prices of junior swimsuits creep up to $70 and $80, which is too pricey, she said. "Price is the number-one concern," West said.
To keep retail prices in the $50-to-$70 range, Manhattan Beachwear is doing more manufacturing in Mexico and Brazil, and is sourcing fabrics from a greater range of locales. The company is using its four factories in the Los Angeles area to chase trends, West said.
Department stores and mass marketers like Target and Mervyn’s are increasing their private label business, with suits that retail from $40 to $60, West said. Private label sales account for 30 percent of Manhattan Beachwear’s business. Overall, the company expects sales to increase by 20 percent, but West was quick to point out that Sept. 11 took a toll on last year’s business.
To mark its 75th anniversary next year, Speedo plans to highlight that milestone on hang tags, its Web site and in its first consumer catalog, said Craig Brommers, vice president of marketing. A sweepstakes will be held for consumers to win a trip to Australia, the place where Speedo was founded in 1982.For the first time, the company is also looking into doing consumer advertising in May or June. The brand may also run some commercials during NBC’s coverage of the "Duel in the Pool," a swimming showdown between the U.S. and Australia in April.
On the product front, Speedo Endurance, $70 reversible suits made of PBT fabric and available in "brighter, fun" colors, will be the focus, Brommers said.
Sunset Beach, a junior label owned by Speedo Authentic Fitness, will be trying its hand at special events this spring. The brand has teamed up with the cosmetics company Hard Candy to develop a tie-side bikini with Hard Candy-inspired charms like plastic hearts, and a gift-with-purchase: nail polish dyed to match the swimwear.
In February, Sunset Beach will hold a sweepstakes at Gadzooks, encouraging shoppers to design their own suit. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to select the fabric for their suit, which will be produced on a limited run.
For 2003, La Perla has produced a few hundred extra swimsuits because this year the company sold out of almost everything, a company spokeswoman said. For the first time, there are plans to run print ads this spring for La Perla Mare, swimsuits that retail for $250 to $600.
To make the line more glamourous, the emphasis will be on suits embellished with sequins, jewelry and hand embroidery. There will also be plenty of colors like bright pink, orange and red. Variations of the bikinis that were especially made for Halle Berry to wear in "Die Another Day" are expected to be important at retail.
Swimwear sales are slightly ahead of last year, and the new La Perla store in New York’s SoHo district, its seventh store in the U.S., should help boost 2003 sales, the spokeswoman said.
Amahlia Stevens, designer of Vitamin A, lists Minnie Driver and Britney Spears among her brand’s fans and is working to provide her bikinis to the entertainment industry. On the East Coast, the brand is represented by the Simply Chic showroom, which also handles Juicy Couture. Stevens prefers to focus on better specialty stores and has developed a lifestyle collection to layer over the swimwear for 2003.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)