Brands Turn Out at Swim Collective for the West Coast Market
More than 200 emerging and veteran swimwear brands showed their latest collections at the Aug. 12–13 run of the Swim Collective trade show, held at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Exhibitors said this season’s show featured 217 exhibitors, up from about 190 brands last season.
Pockets of buyers roamed the aisles and reaction from exhibitors was mixed, but, overall, the mood was upbeat.
The trade show was scheduled between two giant trade shows—Miami SwimShow in July and the MAGIC Market Week in Las Vegas in August. For some East Coast brands, Swim Collective was an opportunity to reach West Coast buyers. That was the case for Alejandra Boggiano of Solkissed,who presented her second collection at Swim Collective and was hoping to reach a Southern California base. Boggiano’s Peruvian background is evident throughout the collection, which is manufactured in Peru with Peruvian fabrics. While there is a California feel to the pieces, Boggiano added colorful woven Peruvian bracelets on the side paneling of the bottoms.
This was the first time at Swim Collective for Despina Filios of Despi designs, launched in 2008 in Brazil. Filios said she decided to join the show at the last minute, which, she said, may have impacted traffic at her booth. Still, she landed a few key orders with retailers she anticipated stopping by, such as Diane’s and Molly Brown’s.
Despi’s style mixes in a classic fit with a contemporary edge. She focuses on braided string details, crochet fabrications and intricate prints. Filios uses microfiber and forgiving fabrics that wear well on varying body types, as well. In addition, she incorporates Swarovski crystals and gold-plated metals in her suits.
Agua Bendita, based in Colombia, has been around for more than eight years and mixed sophistication with more-youthful looks. Styles have eye-catching patterns, knotted straps and subtle cutouts. Wholesale price points for the tops range from $46 to $52.
Diana Galvis, a sales representative with the brand, said no orders were placed at the show, but she was looking to meet new people on the West Coast.
West Coast brands were eager to show off their Southern California vibe. Costa Mesa, Calif.–based House of Au + Ora showed Hawaiian- and Brazilian-inspired suits, many with reversible and multi-tie options. Designer, co-owner and Huntington Beach, Calif., native Lindsay Rochelle said she incorporates an eco-friendly approach in her suits, which mix Italian fabric and old fishing nets. Wholesale priced between $35 and $41, House of Au + Ora is manufactured in Los Angeles.
Aaron Taylor, marketing director of Odina, was also mixing earth-friendly materials and the active lifestyle. The eco swimwear line combines fashion and functionality with suits made from recycled nylon.
Marissa Eveland and Melissa Jasniy of Issa de’ Mar are based in Oahu, Hawaii. The two designers grew up surfing the beaches of Hawaii and wanted to bridge the gap between traditional surfwear and high-end swimwear. With wholesale price points ranging between $26 and $35, the line’s details include elaborate cutouts and string backings.
Belusso designer Kirsten Ehrig-Sarkisian manufactures her suits and coverups in Los Angeles but takes her inspiration from Mediterranean resort destinations. “We spend a lot of time in the South of France,” she said. “I am inspired by the way French and Italian women have a very chic but relaxed way of dressing at the beach; this fascinates me.”
Ehrig-Sarkisian was showing separates, one-pieces and a rash guard. “There is an upswing with rash guards,” she said. “We are seeing more interesting ones—not so utilitarian.”
Wholesale price points for the full-piece suits average $89 while silk coverups are priced higher.
Ehrig-Sarkisian said she picked up several new accounts at Swim Collective, which she described as a nice complement to the Miami shows.
Big brands such as Tigerlily, based out of Australia, and New York–based Mara Hoffman showed ethnic prints using Indian and world design motifs. Tigerlily included power mesh for support while Mara Hoffman pieces featured bustier tops with underwire foundation.
There were clean cuts, digitalized prints, and string- and crochet-knotted details from sister designers Oleema and Kalani Miller of Mikoh Swimwear swimwear. Manufactured in Bali, the suits are wholesale priced at about $48 and sell in better stores such as Barneys New York and Shopbop.
Rosalie Macke, who handles sales for Seafolly, outlined several trends, including retro/vintage looks in bold bright neons or soft pastels, a sublimation-printed net. “There is quite an influence in surf/scuba looks, as well as a ‘Maude’ group, featuring black and white with a 1960s influence,” she said.
Macke said she met with her big accounts, including Zappos, and major surf accounts that placed orders.
Tavik, known for its unconventional take on swimwear, played around with mesh for its Summer/Spring 2014 season. Nicole Kegley, who handles public relations and marketing for Tavik, described the brand as for the festival girl looking for a suit that can take her from swimming, surfing or paddleboarding by day to ready-to-wear by night.
The collection introduced one-piece suits, incorporating mesh, hardware, neoprene and different types of fabric for a more edgy look.