Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusivity at Miami Swim Week
As always, Miami Swim Week has proven to be the industry’s hottest event of the year, able to bring together the most notable swimwear brands, buyers, retailers, influencers and fashion editors from across the globe for a full week of activations, runway presentations and leading trade shows for the swimwear market. But underneath all the glitz, glam and suntan, it was evident that the industry is making great efforts to address important topics through their offerings—namely, sustainability, diversity and inclusivity—which are imperative for a more equitable and resilient world.
Making Strides Toward a More Sustainable Future
Growing consumer demand for more transparency, accountability and sustainability is pushing the industry to innovate in its swimwear offerings, prompting brands to look for alternatives that have a positive social and environmental impact. An increasing number of brands are adopting recycled alternatives such as Econyl, regenerated nylon collected from landfills and oceans, as well as organic, natural materials and low-impact dyes—achievable sustainable solutions that can be implemented without compromising on fashionable styles.
The trade-show circuit, which included SwimShow, Cabana, Destination:Miami by Coterie, Hammock and La Plage Miami, showcased a plethora of Spring ’23 and resort collections that championed better practices and eco-friendly swimwear with many addressing subtopics of social impact and fairer wages.
At SwimShow, newly remodeled for its 40th anniversary, Natasha Tonic showcased its hemp swimwear line—a fabric that wastes less water and doesn’t use harmful pesticides in the fiber production, and representatives were keen to speak on the brand’s production process focused on no fabric waste, where scrap fabrics are used to create new designs.
Similarly, at Cabana, Colombian brand OndadeMar showcased a collection of sustainable fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles as well as eco-friendly processes for waterless prints.
Runway shows, many of which were blend of see-now-buy-now and upcoming collections, also featured a wide range of sustainable-swimwear lines. Hawaiian brand Acacia hosted a memorable Resort ’23 presentation on the sandy beaches of Miami where models walked in recycled, organic and eco-conscious minimal swimwear in a breezy palette of soft mauve, lavender and hints of soft neon greens. But perhaps most interesting was the Paraiso Upcycle Challenge, where, for the third year in a row, students from the Istituto Marangoni Miami presented looks using dead-stock fabrics donated by reputable swimwear brands. The winner, Camila Balleste, mentored by Bondi Born, took home a $10,000 scholarship prize, showcasing beautiful asymmetric and retro-inspired sustainable pieces.
Every Body Is a Beach Body
The ability to embrace diverse communities and provide representation for the unique voices within the fashion and swimwear industry remains at the forefront of equity and representation. Large and small companies have committed to promote diversity by showcasing models of varied backgrounds on Miami runways, including Black, Latinx, Asian, disabled and members of the LGBTQ+ communities.
B FYNE, a brand founded with the intention of elevating and highlighting Black beauty, presented its upcoming collection through a powerful cast of models of color by MOCM (Models of Color Matter). Continuing the brand’s ethos to fight for equity, safety and visibility of diverse Black and brown models on the runway, the show exuded high energy with a glamorous lineup of swim- and resortwear bursting in vivid colors and lively prints.
Another example came from PrettyLittleThing, whose star-studded runway show titled #EveryBODYinPLT championed diverse models including transgender star Tokyo Styles and bionic model Marsha Elee.
With the plus-size market anticipated to reach $697 billion by 2027, it’s imperative that swimwear brands cater to larger sizes within its ranges. Shopping for swimwear is already a difficult undertaking for many women, and finding fashion-forward swimwear can be an even harder task for curvier bodies. Fortunately, swimwear brands are waking up to this gap and launching collections that fit well beyond straight sizes.
Monday Swimwear is no stranger to this model. With a swimwear range that offers A to G cup sizes—fitted to every cup rather than simply scaled up from a size S, as per industry standards–the brand once again highlighted its attention to fit, construction and body positivity in the heat of Miami. Minimal and timeless pieces included underwire bikinis, printed one-pieces and trendy cover-ups designed for every body.
Cupshe also presented a size-inclusive collection that celebrated Beauty in All Forms, where strategically placed cutouts and straps highlighted all the right places.
While sustainability, diversity and inclusivity are broad and complex topics that need to be addressed through different initiatives beyond product and marketing, it is exciting to see positive changes coming from the swimwear industry.
Not too long ago Miami Swim Week was synonymous with excess and exclusivity, but the season has finally changed and the future looks brighter than it’s ever been.
About Fashion Snoops: FS is a global trend forecasting agency helping leading consumer-facing brands around the world 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. Learn more at www.fashionsnoops.com.