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Things are holding steady on the swimwear front for spring. Much like last season, swim vendors expect retailers’ eyes to be on color and cost for the coming market.
This story first appeared in the February 2, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Color is the first thing people look toward,” said David Burnett, vice president of merchandising for In Gear. “Fluorescents look right on. They look happy and there’s a lot of energy with them.” This is particularly true in the active swim category, which Burnett sees as a prime market for bright tones. “It’s a new approach to active, which we haven’t seen in a long time,” he said.
Within that vibrant spectrum, several firms cited tie-dye as a key look. “All of the tie-dye and the ombré prints that are really color driven still seem to be carrying the same weight,” said Natalie Wierzba, national sales manager and merchandiser at Beach Rays, a division of Southern California swimwear manufacturer J.Y. Rays. “Better specialty stores are looking for product that’s well merchandised, so they literally see visual that makes an impact.” That includes embellishments such as hardware, crystals and beading.
“Swimwear has become a fashion statement,” said Rosie Kendall, designer and an owner of Las Vegas-based Unleashed Swimwear, which is launching at WWDMAGIC. “In Vegas, I see a lot of trends. It’s really important to look hot and sexy, and bring your personality out. Retailers want something that will draw attention to their customers.”
According to Burnett, such decorative effects “give a sense of perceived value,” or bang for the buck, which helps justify price. In Gear’s stable of labels retails from $10 for junior sets to $29.99, $49.99 and $79.99 tiers before hitting the highest mark, $122, for the Plunge line. “Everything is price-driven,” he added. “They’re value-oriented with embellishments and we’re seeing the payoff. People are buying for looks first, but at an enticing price.”
In terms of silhouette, while bikinis still reign supreme for most labels, monokinis and one-pieces are edging in. “One-pieces are incredibly important across [all of our lines],” said Wierzba.
Meanwhile, Kendall was sure to include a range of monokinis and cutout styles in her debut collection. “They’re sexy and really flirty,” she said.
As for the bikini market, Burnett said In Gear’s sales indicate Seventies-style bandeau “sunworshipper” silhouettes will continue to be hot.