Raj & Sports Illustrated Team for Swim Brand


As of Monday, July 10, 2017

For more than 50 years, the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue has been making headlines with its pictorials of supermodels posing in fashion’s most stylish swimwear in exotic locales.

After side ventures such as SI swimsuit calendars and television specials, Time Inc., Sports Illustrated’s publisher, recently announced that it had signed a multiyear agreement with Raj Swim to make a brand called Sports Illustrated. The Tustin, Calif.–based swimwear manufacturer will design the swimwear with input from MJ Day, the editor of the SI Swimsuit issue.

“The opportunity to expand the Sports Illustrated brand into the premium apparel space is a perfect fit, and it falls in line with our strategy to unlock new consumer programs leveraging Time Inc. brands, said Bruce Gersh, Time Inc.’s senior vice president of strategy and business development.

Brenda West, Raj’s president, said that the brand will offer three swim collections and four active collections in 2018. It will include styles that the models will wear in the pages of the 2018 SI Swimsuit issue.

The collection’s silhouettes will include a variety of other suits including one-pieces swimwear for athletic pursuits such as swimming and surfing. The venture also will mark Raj’s largest expansion into athleisure and exercise clothes such as sports bras, leggings, hoodies and jackets bearing the logo of Sports Illustrated. Raj will manufacture four collections annually of the line’s athleisure. Retail price points for the activewear will start at $30. Swim separates will start at $50.

The collection will be sold on the magazine’s upcoming e-commerce shop (shopsiswim.com). It also will be sold at Raj’s Swim Spot boutiques and across the retail spectrum from high-end department stores to swim shops. West said that the first deliveries of Sports Illustrated will arrive in stores in January 2018, just a few weeks before the 2018 SI Swimsuit issue hits newsstands.

West did not give a sales forecast, but she anticipated that it will be the biggest brand that the company has ever offered in its 50-year history.