SWIM’S BRIGHT AND SHINY FUTURE
Byline: Katherine Bowers
Long Beach, Calif. — Swimwear is bolder, brighter and shinier, according to trends highlighted this month at ASR.
Hot oranges paired with pinks, blazing yellows offset with limes, and a range of true blues color the summer 2001 palette.
Hawaiian-style florals, a perennial favorite, blossomed to dimensions “so huge you can’t tell if you’re looking at a flower or a leaf,” noted Christie Fish, merchandise manager for Apparel Ventures.
Scenics are brightening. Stripes are straight and narrow or bending to create a swirly Sixties look. Animal prints are still key, although now appearing abstract and atypically colored. Apparel Ventures’ Op swimwear license flaunted a blue-and-white zebra print trimmed in lime.
Silhouettes remain consistent with triangles, bandeaux and side ties reportedly still doing blockbuster business. Swim companies believe shirred-side hipsters and swim’s version of HotPants — a curvier, higher-legged counterpart to the boy short — will emerge as the new fashion bottom.
Although February ASR is not known as a swim show, several manufacturers beefed up their summer offerings to meet growing market demand. Quiksilver showed six Roxy groups, up from last year’s four; Rusty swim increased from six to eight, and Billabong produced a summer line after its spring debut.
“We had such a good response to spring that we hustled and got together a summer line,” said Jessica Trent, girls marketing manager of the Irvine, Calif.-based Billabong. Heidi Tucker, vice president of sales for Roxy swim, said the line is up 20 percent over last year. The company is shooting for a 40 percent increase by fiscal yearend.
An all-over logo and solid suits sequined with a Roxy heart are driving volume now, she noted, and Roxy’s argyle bikini was sampled as a first dip into surf-prepster looks.
Rusty increased its separates program, with reversible patchwork, dots and so-called ditsy florals that mix with crocheted solids. Kari Kramer, the company’s national sales manager, said pre-bookings are up 30 percent over last year.
Dawls showed swimwear with a late Seventies feel. The junior sportswear label, owned by Vernon, Calif.,-based sportswear maker B.C. Ethic, just finished a one-year exclusive swim program for Pacific Sunwear, which brought in roughly $300,000 in revenues, said Ryan Rush, Dawls’ creative director. Hot sellers included a tankini with an all-over “Dawls” in a Seventies spirograph font and suits with iron-on decal-type graphics. Britney Spears, known for generating tidal-wave trends in sportswear, appears to have repopularized the micro-mini for swim cover-ups. Shorter-than-short looks, such as the Body Glove 11-inch pouch-front skirt and the Citrus A-line wrap skirt, were getting notice.