Consumers continue to dive into the growing swimwear industry, as retailers and brands adjust with niche product categories, such as bridal swimwear. At first glance, the client pool may seem small, but the opportunity isn’t.
“But bridal shopping is a whole different game,” Stefana Tabacaru, founder and creative director of Tabacaru Swim told WWD. The Los Angeles-based brand introduced its first bridal swim collection last month.
“Brides have been doing everything under the sun to look and feel their best,” Tabacaru said. “They know they are going to be the center of attention. They’ve been working out hard, eating clean and are ready to show off in a fabulous swimsuit. Also, the bridal mentality is that everything is a one-time, special purchase. So price sensitivity isn’t so much a thing.”
Hence the desire to splurge on a pricier-than-normal swimsuit (think the $200 to $300 range).
Oana Romaneiro, founder of Tokyo-based swimwear brand Koraru, had that experience. The former model was on vacation with her then boyfriend, now husband in the Maldives and was dismayed when she realized only one out of the three fancy swimsuits she brought lasted the length of the trip. She started Koraru last year in order to create timeless, long-lasting pieces.
“I wanted to go on my honeymoon and feel beautiful,” Romaneiro said. “But I also wanted pieces that I could invest in and would last.” Since its inception, Koraru’s white-one piece swimsuit has been one of its bestsellers, selling out in multiple sizes.
But the popularity also stems from the fact that bridal swimwear is at the intersection of two competing trends: the fast-growing swimwear industry and the return of weddings. Revenues in the swimwear industry are expected to climb to about $21.4 billion by 2025, (up from $16 billion in 2020), according to market research firm Euromonitor International.
Meanwhile, as consumers (hopefully) emerge from more than two years of pandemic-induced social isolation, many of 2020’s wedding events have been rescheduled for this year. According to The Wedding Report, which compiles data on weddings and the wedding industry, more than 2.5 million weddings are expected to take place in 2022 — the most since 1984.
Many of them will be in warm-weather destinations (thanks also to the return of travel). And it’s not just brides that need swimsuits, but in some cases, whole bridal parties, and even guests, too.
“There is a huge gap in the market for chic bridal swim,” Tabacaru said. “Most of what is available now is more cheesy pieces, like suits that say — or quite honestly scream — ‘bride,’ or ‘wife,’ or ‘just married,’ or whatever. We wanted to give our customer and all our dream brides pieces that were elevated, glamorous and more in line with their style and wedding aesthetic.
“We designed our own prints starting with watercolor illustrations, hand-painted by illustrator Milly Jean Wall, and worked with embroidery and appliqué to create both detachable bows and flowers that elevate the collection and make it special,” the designer added.
This Thursday, Tabacaru will also launch the bridal collection on wedding shopping and fashion platform Over the Moon. But there are others, too, like La Chenille’s line of bridal bikinis and one-pieces, and plenty of luxury white bathing suits that are wedding-ready.
“The pieces are all versatile and make great staples,” Tabacaru said. “I know these pieces are going to be great for brides for everything from bridal showers, to bachelorette parties, to wedding weekends to honeymoons and more.”