As of Friday, July 23, 2021
After a challenging year, the return to in-person events at Miami Swim Week felt like a fresh dose of good news for the swimwear industry. Trade shows Cabana, SwimShow and destination:miami by Coterie revamped market week after nearly two years of events held on digital platforms. Elsewhere, runway presentations at Paraiso welcomed buyers, influencers and press in what seemed like a family reunion after a long period apart.
While we’re still approaching the new season with caution—smaller trade shows and fewer runway presentations than previous years—the overall feeling of optimism was evident. Not only are sales of swimwear expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022, but Spring/Summer ’22 collections channeled this energy through exciting new trends that scream optimism and liberation.
The rising theme of optimism influences products that deliver mood-boosting effects. After spending so much time in sweatpants and loungewear, vacation-deprived consumers are willing to invest in energetic styles and make up for lost time under the sun. From electric colors to statement prints including bold florals, color blocking and tie-dyes, bright expressions alleviate pandemic blues and set the tone for a vibrant summer. At Pretty Little Thing, bright neons were mixed with groovy psychedelic patterns in looks that demand to be noticed, while tie-dye applications at Simonett were appreciated for their uniqueness.
Swimwear is sexier than ever. Cutouts, a trend that has only gained momentum, continues to permeate almost every SS ’22 collection, leaving almost nothing to the imagination. Wraparound straps applied to micro bikinis and the new crossover halter silhouette are key emerging trends heating up the season. As we come to understand the psychological effects of sensual dressing on boosting confidence and lifting spirits, this new sartorial trend seems to be perfectly timed with consumer desire.
Beach to Street
In a post-pandemic fashion economy, versatility is a key driver for brands to adapt to the changing landscape brought about by the COVID-19 reality. Demand for swimwear that can be worn from beach to street continues to rise, pushing the trend for versatile items and matching beachwear assortments. At Swim Week, we saw Maaji’s matching sets, which are just as appropriate for poolside as they are for brunch, while details such as puff sleeves and waist ties elevate beach essentials to street-style heights.
There is a clear emphasis on more environmentally friendly material alternatives in swimwear, and at Swim Week this conversation resonated loud and clear among vendors and buyers. Recycled and repurposed materials such as Econyl, nylon made from post-consumer-waste products, and Repreve, a fiber made from recycled plastic bottles, were key fabrics in SS ’22 collections, including offerings from La Gotta, Ola Azul and Azulu.
The shift from swimwear being a realm of insecurity to a platform of confidence is perhaps the most valuable takeaway from this year’s events. A great example was seen in the collaboration between BFyne and Models of Color Matter, which focused on promoting the beauty of Blackness, casting only Black models to walk the runway and working with hair and makeup teams to create a safe space celebrating their unique beauty. Swimwear is for everybody, and collections that celebrate beauty in all its forms are likely to resonate with today’s consumers. Size inclusivity is helping retailers unlock success in this market, while encouraging body positivity across social platforms pushes the industry forward.
Reflecting on this year’s Miami Swim Week, it’s clear that swimwear will be key for delivering excitement and refreshing wardrobes for Spring/Summer ’22. As designers and buyers were planning Summer assortments last fall when the pandemic was still an issue of much concern, many contemporary ready-to-wear collections still felt cautious. Swimwear, however, had no other choice but to continue to speak to what the category is best known for: summer vacation, joy and release. For swimwear, escapism is not a seasonal concept but its very backbone. So, while the category was particularly hit last year, swimwear is now paving the way for an optimistic summer reset. The future of the industry is bright, and this new season’s offerings epitomize the unique optimistic sentiment that continues to give us hope.
Fashion Snoops is a global trend forecasting agency helping leading brands, retailers and manufacturers around the world to unlock innovation and propel growth. Through a combination of human and artificial intelligence, we analyze cultural shifts and interpret detected patterns in order to surface trend-driven business opportunities. To learn more, visit www.fashionsnoops.com