Increase in Resources Has Swim Collective Outgrowing its Venue in Huntington Beach, Calif.


Sunsets Inc.


Stone Fox Swim and Mint. by Jessica Snyder

Traffic was steady and brisk at the Aug. 12–13 run of Swim Collective at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, Calif., which featured a 20 percent increase in exhibitors showing contemporary swimwear, active surf apparel, swim accessories and activewear.

The activewear resources at Swim Collective served as a preview of Active Collective, a new section of the show for activewear resources, which will officially launch during the January 2015 edition of Swim Collective in Dana Point, Calif.

“Since many brands are offering cross-over swim and active products already, this will strengthen our position as a destination trade show with everyone under one roof,” said Shannon Leggett, Swim Collective executive show director.

The recent show in Huntington Beach featured high-profile swim brands such as L*Space, Body Glove, Gottex, Little Marc Jacobs Swimwear, Becca and Speedo with noteworthy retailers in attendance that included Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s, Net-a-Porter, Dillard’s, Planet Blue, Revolve, Zappos, Diane’s Swimwear and Victoria’s Secret. According to Leggett, attendance increased 50 percent over last August.

“The location of this show is extremely beneficial to connect with West Coast and Hawaiian retailers,” said Anna Petitfils, marketing coordinator for Sunsets Inc.—an umbrella company that represents and manufactures Curve by Sunset, Lavish, Aerin Rose, B. Swim, Swim Systems and Sunsets out of the Harbor City area of Los Angeles—who has been participating in Swim Collective since its first show four years ago. “Every year, we have witnessed the show and market growing.” Selling mainly Spring ’15 collections at the recent edition, Petitfils reported “great traffic despite not being in the main room.”

Indeed, many exhibitors noted the tight space on the main show floor with an overflow of booths located in adjacent halls.

Kelly Ellingson, vice president of North American sales and marketing for Colombia-manufactured brand Maaji, has also participated in Swim Collective since it first bowed. She echoed Petitfils’ praises for the show, saying, “This show suits us well, with all the surf-specialty and swim-specific retailers who attend. We offer contemporary women’s swim, men’s, lingerie, kids’, and active beach wear and were able to meet with department stores and specialty boutiques such as Sun Diego.”

Los Angeles contemporary label Clover Canyon has had a swim collection for three years but until now has always showed the swim line with the ready-to-wear line.

“This is the only swim show on the West Coast, and it has proved to be a great place to connect with new accounts and gain exposure,” said sales representative Jillian Burchell.

Erica Segerberg, designer and co-owner of Citrine, a new contemporary swim line made in Bali, Indonesia, was participating in her first trade show ever.

“We decided to participate in this show to break into the West Coast swim market, and it has surpassed our expectations,” she said. “We met with retailers from Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, all over Los Angeles and Santa Cruz. This show is going really well for us, and buyers are writing.”

Many West Coast retailers emphasized the convenience of Swim Collective’s location in addition to the wide array of brands and products offered. Chris Thornburg of Old Honolulu in San Clemente, Calif., said he usually shops for new merchandise at MAGIC Market Week in Las Vegas but decided to visit Swim Collective this season.

“Since we live in a beach town, swim season for us is year-round, so we have to constantly stay on top of the market,” he said. “This show is more intimate, very easily manageable as opposed to [the swim trade shows in] Miami and Vegas, and it is in our backyard. We have discovered brands from all around, including Dubai, North America and South America.”

Danise Otis of online swimwear retailer Sundance Beach, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., was a returning buyer at Swim Collective. “Our customers collect bikinis like they collect socks,” she said. “They can never have enough. There are definitely more exhibitors here this season than last, and I look forward to discovering new brands.”

Jessiut Serrano, women’s buyer for Active Ride Shop in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was also a returning buyer.

“We always attend this show,” she said. “It is a great place to discover new vendors and see what’s trending. It is nice to be able to come to one place and see everything at once.”

Although many retailers were writing orders, others used the show to get first and second looks at collections and write notes.

“We like to assess what’s out there and review the line sheets and then make private appointments at our Anaheim [Calif.] headquarters after the shows,” said Erin Connery, women’s buyer for Pacific Sunwear. “We are currently buying for Resort, Spring and Summer ’15.”

Next season, Swim Collective will move to the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort in Dana Point for the Jan. 15–16 run of the show. Leggett said 250 brands have already signed up to participate in the January show, including 50 activewear brands that have committed to show in Active Collective.

In addition to Active Collective, Leggett will launch a Swim Preview show June 23–24.