View Slideshow

While many apparel categories continue to struggle at retail, the swimwear buyers and exhibitors heading to Miami for this week’s market can bask in the sunshine of robust growth.

Total U.S. swimwear dollar sales increased 13 percent in the 12 months ending in May to $6.1 billion, according to The NPD Group Inc. The firm reported all wearer segments grew, with women’s accounting for the majority at 65 percent. Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry adviser of retail, cited versatility, comfort, color, fit, year-round travel and the Millennial-charged experiential movement as selling factors that captivate customers.

“Swimwear is like the smartphone — it’s a universal product with a lot of uses,” he said of the category, while sportswear struggles. “Sportswear isn’t getting the reaction from consumers, so swimwear is taking the lead in trends and innovation.”

Smart fabrics are central to reinventing swim, ath-leisure and their hybrids, which are creeping into Miami Swim Week more each year. Invista will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its Lycra brand with a cocktail party at W South Beach on July 15. Though the company doesn’t exhibit during swim week, its Lycra Xtra Life fiber will be represented through Speedo’s resort capsule collection that will be shown in a W suite, as well as promotional partnerships between Lycra’s Brazil team and Brazilian swimwear designers.

“Everyone’s looking for a sustainable story,” said David Trerotola, president of Invista Apparel, of his primary swim fabric that outperforms spandex. “People don’t have to buy a new suit, but everyone likes a new suit.”

Trade and runway shows have also had to adapt to technology and lifestyle changes, as new and established events find their footing and tweak formats in a crowded pool. SwimShow, which holds its 36th event at the Miami Beach Convention Center from July 14 to 17, responded to the wellness boom and contemporary brands’ demand for their own show-within-a-show. Its zen lounge expands spa services for reiki healing to henna tattoos, while the Collection sector returns for a third year with an assortment of designers in an intimate, stylish setting.

“We are very pleased with the Collection’s growth, which is reflective in the positive feedback we are receiving from our retailers,” said SwimShow executive director Judy Stein, who also sees strong increases in her men’s, children’s and multifunctional resortwear categories, despite exhibiting 2,500 lines in less space due to the venue’s renovation. “We will be back on track next year, and the end result will be worth it.”

Hammock relocates from the W to 1 Hotel South Beach from July 14 to 16. Among more than 80 vendors exhibiting in suites and the ballroom and gallery, 15 percent are new to the show, including Shoshanna and Taj by Sabrina. Georgia May Jagger will host a launch party for Volcom for Every Body’s extended size collection. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council will hold a cocktail at Casa Tua The Club on July 14 for the Hong Kong brand Mazŭ Resortwear. Show amenities include Glamsquad hair and makeup services, but Hammock cofounder Rick Fatzinger is skipping the annual group fashion show.

“We decided to mix it up by hosting a private cocktail party and informal modeling at an off-site location for our top buyers, editors and influencers,” he said.

Cabana trade show, which has traditionally occupied one to three tents between 21st and 22nd streets in Miami Beach, moved 30 of its nearly 300 brands to the W. Aside from helping to accommodate a 20 percent increase in exhibitors from last year, the annex features complimentary manicures by New York-imported Chillhouse. Three thousand attendees will be further plied with fresh-cut coconuts and requisite rosé over three days. The lifestyle edit starts with the collections.

“We’ve been focusing on building out a full travel lifestyle assortment. It’s important that the show is so much more than swim,” said brand manager Hillary Joseph, of dividing swimwear versus all other categories down the middle. “Half caters to the jet-set mind-set—resortwear, summer ready-to-wear, bags, sandals, jewelry, sunglasses and the like.”

Cabana co-creator Sam Ben-Avraham partnered with Aleksandar Salé-Stojanovic, founder of local event production firm Funkshion, for the Paraiso fashion fair to July 16. Located in Collins Park across from Cabana, the multimedia platform also encompasses a lifestyle festival and 22 fashion shows with more than 30 designers — the most cohesive runway presentation since IMG’s departure from Miami Swim Week. Participants including Stone Fox Swim, Sinesia Karol, Agua Bendita and Kaohs as well as an Australian-themed showcase and a charity collaboration between Eberjey and Onia for Style Saves nonprofit, are presenting in the park’s tent and nearby hotels. Nearly 35 percent are exhibiting at Cabana.

“We’re happy to present both runway and trade-show options in Paraiso, so brands can choose to do one or the other, or both,” said Ben-Avraham, who has received a promising number of RSVPs from buyers, media and influencers. “There’s so much commercial interest and tourism in Miami in July that it’s impossible not to feel the energy and be excited about swim and resort.”

In addition to Lycra, several brands are coming along for Paraiso’s inaugural ride. Cynthia Rowley, who has a store on the mainland, is visiting for her wholesale and retail pop-up. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is staging a model search and runway show. Noise Cans and Chelsea Leyland will perform along with a surprise headliner.

“We’re appealing to lots of different sensibilities and tastes on the fashion and music spectrum,” said Ben-Avraham.

Like Paraiso, Coterie: Pop-up is open to the public. The concept store advances the New York trade show’s nontrade section for vintage fashion and beauty with multiple categories displayed throughout 20,000 square feet of Faena Bazaar in Miami Beach to July 18. Curated by Coterie through consignment partnerships, 40 brands like Chromat, Suboo, Carolina K and Innika Choo are selling see-now-buy-now merchandise. Shopping vignettes highlight Nineties-era Versace from New York vintage dealer Morphew, a selection of Hermès bags from Miami-based Mightychic’s cache, and emerging Columbian labels chosen by the owners of St. Dom boutique in Cartagena. Maris Collective, which is helping Coterie with logistics and will activate the space moving forward as Faena’s retail partner, is also setting up a shop-in-shop.

“It’s a natural brand extension since we share a lot of clients with Miami Swim Week. But it wouldn’t have been beneficial to do B2B because the market is saturated,” said Danielle Licata, Coterie’s vice president and fashion director, of testing the B2C format. “Everything is for sale literally down to the wallpaper.”

Designed by Valentino Vettori, founder of his namesake experiential retail firm in New York, the interactive pop-up features five walls with augmented reality for shoppers to strike a pose while discovering brands’ stories. Prior to their post, they can have their hair dry styled by IGK Hair and receive mini facials at Immunocologie. Licata said the unifying direction is light, happy product, whether an established or emerging brand.

“If brands are happy and we create a consumer following and build up our database, we could do 10 pop-ups in major cities or events like Coachella and SXSW,” Licata said.

You May Also Like