A look from Australian brand Lahana Swim's Euro Collection.

Bathing-suit season is in full swing as the fashionable flock to Miami Beach this week for one of summer’s hottest fashion events. Miami Swim Week takes place July 11 to July 16 and is a chance for retailers, fashion consultants, stylists, influencers and other industry leaders to find out what’s trending in the industry and to make purchases for upcoming seasons. 

Miami Swim Week began 37 years ago with the Swim Show, which runs July 13 to 16 in Miami’s Convention Center. The trade show is still perhaps Miami Swim Week’s biggest event, featuring men’s, women’s and children’s swimwear, beachwear, activewear, resort wear, cruise and accessories for sale. But since its inception, the event has expanded to include cocktail parties, pop-up events, launch parties, wellness activations and runway shows. Other amenities have popped up too. Like Nu Wave Swim, which runs July 11 to 14 at the nearby Botanical Gardens, offering designers a complete package of backdrops, production assistants, makeup artists and even models upon arrival. Sports Illustrated will also be there, scouting out potential models for its annual Swimsuit issue. 

Lahana Swim  Courtesy

Still, the Swim Show remains the biggest event, one that draws about 2,500 companies and brands from 60 different companies, according to Judy Stein, executive director of the Swim Show. Retailers and manufacturers from around the globe looking to buy — about 7,500 people are expected to attend this year — will have their chance to shop this season’s swimwear, fall’s resort and cruise looks and even some spring 2020 swimwear. 

Brands like Red Carter, Bleu Rod Beattie, Kulani Kinis, Robin Piccone and Sunday St. Tropez will make return appearances. Big companies, such as Dolce Vita, Ellen Tracy, Jessica Simpson, BCBGeneration, Pia Rossini Resortwear, Polo Ralph Lauren and Anne Cole, the brand that invented the tankini, will be there too. Meanwhile, Kendall & Kylie, Malmok, Carolina Socias, 209 Mare, Lily & Rose and Feather & Find are a few of this year’s new arrivals. 

While the styles run the gamut — from barely-there bikinis and one-pieces to tankinis and maternity suits to resort and accessory wear — a few common threads are seen across the industry, including size inclusivity and sustainability. In fact, a number of brands are emphasizing these factors in their current and upcoming collections. 

Here, some brands and trends to watch this year, at the shows and beyond. 

Sustainability

The Bikini Lab is available on Victoria’s Secret’s web site.  Courtesy Victoria's Secret

Consumers love The Bikini Lab’s mix of vibrant colors and style options, ranging from tank top bralettes and triangle bikinis to monokinis and other one pieces that double as mini dresses. But now the collection is growing to include sustainable swimwear. 

The contemporary swimsuit brand, which is available at Nordstrom and Zappos.com as well as other stockists, is just one example of a brand that has a new collection made with recycled fabrics (Victoria’s Secret liked it so much that the entire collection is available on its web site). That’s because sustainability, said Nicole Haase, chief merchant officer of Manhattan Beachwear, parent company to The Bikini Lab, has grown increasingly important to Millennial and Gen Z shoppers. 

“Recycling materials makes people feel good about the money they’re spending for a particular garment,” Haase said. “Understanding where your garment is coming from, understanding who’s producing the garment, understanding the impact to the Earth— particularly in swim, where you’re close to the water — is important to Millennial consumers. What you’re wearing is a representation of doing something good for the environment.”

Haase added that The Bikini Lab will continue to add recycled materials, such as fabrics and packaging, to the portfolio over time. 

Size-Inclusivity

The demand for plus-size swimwear continues to grow.  Shutterstock / FashionStock.com

Swimwear and other fun-in-the-sun collections that fit everybody is another essential element for companies and brands that wish to succeed long term, Haase said. 

“The goal is that we treat the consumer with respect and offer her the same assortment in a wider range of size,” said Haase, who added that it does cost more to produce both larger and smaller sizes.  

“But ultimately, the goal would be that you build a lifetime value or connection with that consumer and she stays with you throughout her journey,” she said. “We’re not as concerned about the contraction in margin; it’s more about what that means for the overall brand and the loyalty we hope to gain with our customer. At the end of the day, if you sell more to a broader audience, you’ll make more money.” 

In Miami, Kenneth Cole will present new size-inclusive swimsuits in its Cruise 2020 collection, ranging from sizes 4 to 20W. The collection also includes swimsuits made with UV-protected materials and a capsule collection with four shades of nude swimwear that will come to market sometime in the fall.

Trina Turk, which began as a women’s apparel brand in 1995, will also have extended sizes starting in the fall. The flower-power printed bikinis and colorful onesies, currently available in sizes 2 through 14, will be available up to size 20W as part of the cruise 2020 collection.

Brand to Watch: Maaji

A look from Maaji’s new Thalassophile spring 2020 collection.  Courtesy

Why be an Angel when you can be a mermaid? Colombian swim and activewear brand Maaji, the “Mermaid Brand,” is coming out with two new collections during Miami Swim Week: Thalassophile spring 2020 swim collection and the Com-Unity activewear collection.  

Thalassophile, which translates to “Lover of the Sea,” has swimsuits in six color groups, including shades of neon, neutrals and “happy colors.”  

“It’s our most Maaji-cal collections ever,” said Manuela Sierra, who co-founded the business with her sister Amalia. The mermaids attracted the attention of investors including L Catterton Asia, a partnership between Catterton, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Groupe Arnault. The firm bought a majority stake in Maaji a few years ago. But the sisters continued with the brand as partners, overseeing new looks and making sure that Maaji’s mermaid DNA remains in tact. 

Attendees in Miami can get a preview of the mermaids in Thalassophile during the July 14 show at Miami’s Brickell City Centre shopping mall. 

Meanwhile, Maaji is also releasing a new activewear collection called Com-Unity and plans to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of that collection to Union Latina, a dance academy in the founders’ native Colombia. 

In addition, Maaji’s “Earth Warriors” line of sustainable swimwear, which uses yarn made from recycled plastic bottles and a printing process that requires less water and carbon dioxide to produce, will be released in October. 

Australian Brands

Skwosh Swim, an Australian men’s wear brand.  Courtesy

It’s no surprise that the land Down Under, with its warm climates surrounded by beaches and ocean, continues to produce direct-to-consumer swimwear brands that are sought after around the world. Celebrities like J. Lo and Kourtney Kardashian have been spotted in Myra Swim, famous for its plunging necklines and high-cut pieces. Meanwhile, basketball stars such as Meyers Leonard and Ben Simmons have been photographed in Skwosh Club swim trunks. The men’s wear brand also sells children’s swim apparel for boys. 

Myra Swimwear  Courtesy

Myra Swim and Lahana Swim, both of which have recently moved into activewear, will be showing at the Cabana trade show, while Skwosh will be at the Hammock Resort and Swimwear trade show. Attendees in Miami can also request an invite to The Fashion Palette: A showcase Of Australian Brands at the Setai Hotel in Miami on July 14 to see Lahana Swim, along with other Aussie brands.

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