Oakley Set to Launch Women’s Swimwear

The first licensed collection, which will be unveiled at the July 14 to 18 Miami Swim Show, will hit stores globally in November.

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A cover-up by Oakley that doubles as ready-to-wear.

Thomas Iannaccone

The first licensed collection of women’s swimwear by Oakley will hit stores globally in November.

This story first appeared in the July 9, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The line, which will be a fusion of both lifestyle and performance swimwear, as well as swim-related accessories, is being produced, marketed and distributed under license by Montreal-based Trimera Group.

Distribution is aimed at Oakley O and Oakley Vault stores and oakley.com, as well as department stores, specialty shops and sporting goods outlets worldwide. There will also be exclusive products, prints and designs offered only through Oakley retail.

The collection will be unveiled at the July 14 to 18 Miami Swim Show, said Kathy Van Ness, president of Trimera Group’s Swim division.

“Oakley came to us a year ago in an effort to expand their global brand. It’s been an exciting project to understand and translate Oakley’s DNA into swimwear,” said Van Ness. “This is not a collection for a girly girl, it’s for the sporty girl and it has a lot of attitude. It’s athletic sporty and not meant to be flirty.”

Raphael Peck, chief merchandising officer, said the brand philosophy is “focused on a point of difference.

“Aesthetically, our product is designed for the active woman and we wanted product that worked without sacrificing trend and fashion. Inherent in this product line is our belief that every swim piece needs to work while flattering a woman’s body. The target consumer is clear, she’s active, confident and demands more from her product,” said Peck.

He added that the Oakley company is “extremely protective” of its brand.

“Our brand ID is so strong that finding partnerships that fit has proven to be difficult. At the end of the day, Oakley prides itself in being the very best product building brand in the world, but we are humble enough to understand we can’t build it all. Surf is a critical vertical for us, and the active female consumer remains paramount to our success long term,” said Peck.

Regarding the look of the line, Van Ness described it as “distressed.

“The whole line has steel-colored hardware and also pops with neon-colored hardware, zippers, pockets….There’s logo branding on grommets, marled yarns lined with multiple logos….Everything is reversible. There also are [engineered fabric] sand filtrations on the interior of the suits,” said Van Ness. Prints and colors will include 3-D stripes, tartan plaid, neon brights and solid black. Suggested retail will be $44 for bikini sets, $88 for monokinis, and $44 for tops and boy shorts. All styles will be rendered in an exclusive quick-dry fabric that features increased durability and recovery.

A first-year wholesale sales projection was not available, but the swimwear collection could generate sales in excess of $10 million, according to industry estimates.

“We hope to double our swim business in two years,” said Peck.

The 37-year-old Oakley brand is a subsidiary of Milan-based Luxottica Group SpA, an $8.09 billion fashion and sports eyewear specialist.

Privately-held Trimera owns and manufactures a portfolio of swimwear brands including Gottex, Profile, Gideon Oberson, Captiva and Christina.

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