A LABEL OF ITS OWN

Byline: Georgia Lee

Miami is so eager to be seen as a swimwear mecca that it is introducing its own official line of products.
Dubbed “Tropicool,” the new swimwear and apparel line will make its debut at the Cruise 2001 swimwear show here. According to its creators, it is an attempt to communicate the city’s unique style to its tourists and spread Miami’s image far beyond the beach.
“We’re branding Miami, with swimwear and apparel at the heart of the effort,” said David Whitaker, senior vice president, marketing and tourism for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the local who spearheaded the effort. “We want ‘Tropicool’ to be associated with Miami, the way ‘I Love New York’ became the slogan and the Big Apple became the symbol for New York.”
Under the label Tropicool Miami Swimwear Designs by Matteo, the new swimwear line is being manufactured by Matteo International, a Cape Coral, Fla.-based company that has produced coverup sportswear under the Biaggio label for eight years. The new Tropicool line includes about 25 pieces of swimsuits and swimwear separates, as well as three-piece sets that include a swimsuit and a matching coverup.
All the apparel sports an embroidered four-color Tropicool Miami logo, designed by the convention bureau’s advertising agency, Turkel Schwartz & Partners (TSP).
Intended as “American basics with an international feel,” the swimwear’s colors are inspired by the pastel color palette of Miami’s beaches, sunsets and Art Deco architecture, according to Laurel Bethel, marketing director for Biaggio. The new line is the first swimwear production effort for Biaggio, a company with sales of more than $5 million. Biaggio will also offer swimwear under its own label, without the Miami logo.
Meanwhile, the convention bureau has already plastered the Tropicool logo around the airport, on billboards, at resorts and in department stores in the area, as part of a $5.8 million marketing and advertising campaign.
The overall merchandising program — besides swimwear, it includes resortwear and about a dozen other products ranging from beach towels to disposable cameras, mugs and umbrellas — will be distributed at hotels, gifts shops, malls and department stores. As Whitaker put it, the city is counting on outfitting tourists as “walking billboards” for the city of Miami. With the city’s growing appeal as an international vacation spot, organizers hope the project could eventually foster additional street-level exposure worldwide. More than 60 percent of Miami’s 9.8 million visitors in 1999 were from Latin America and Europe.

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