The swimwear business is one of the most competitive to enter because of its limited seasonality. This gives swimwear designers a more challenging window of time in which to try out designs that will sell or fail, but it can also be energizing due to the pressure that comes with rising to that occasion. Keep reading to learn strategies for creating a hot-selling swimwear line that’s Hawaii-worthy and stands out.
Brainstorm Unique Swimsuit Designs and Adjust to the Latest Trends
Since the swimwear industry is one of the most competitive, it is crucial to design a line that catches attention fast just ahead of and during peak season. While designing purses or t-shirts leaves more room for trial and error in the merchandising calendar, focusing on seasonally driven apparel products like bikinis, swim trunks, etc. doesn’t. You have one shot to design a hot-selling line.
Surprisingly, swimwear is more costly to produce than other seasonal summer garments due to the high degree of complexity and the amount of fabric required for production. While it may initially seem like swimwear only requires a few fabric squares, the truth is that it’s just as complicated as producing dresses and purses.
With the need to be durable and stand up to a variety of elements like water, chlorine, and beach activities, it is essential for swimwear designers to research how to best construct their bathing suits before attempting prototyping or sampling. Researching your target market to better understand what designs and trends your customers will most likely invest in can make this process easier because different demographics often prefer different swimsuit characteristics.
Also, take the time to research past and present swimwear trends to understand trend evolution and gain inspiration from past and present swimwear top sellers. This will allow for your designs to evoke certain emotional responses and attract your desirable target market. It will also provide you with clear ideas of what colors, patterns, and styles consumers will invest in during the upcoming season.
Pick a Swimsuit Fabric and Reach Out to Manufacturers
Swimwear manufacturing differs from the processes involved in making other garments because, as mentioned previously, the garments must be able to stand up to uniquely harsh use cases.
Ask yourself not only which fabric materials are the most popular in swim at the moment, but also:
- Will the swimwear be made for athletes or beach visitors?
- How much should the fabric weigh to survive beach conditions while also being comfortable for the chosen target market?
- What about stretchiness and durability for beach activities?
Here are some quick factors to think about when selecting fabrics based on the above questions:
- Control: Swimwear usually involves more skin exposure than other types of apparel, so it’s important to take garment security into consideration.
For swimmer athletes or lap swimmers, you should choose a fabric that will tightly conform to bodies to allow them to easily glide in water. Fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex work best, as they are form-fitted, long lasting, and don't stretch easily.
In normal beach swimwear, there is more room for designers to attach sequins and aesthetics, as there is less pressure to choose fabrics that provide control. You can consider fabrics with more stretch for comfort in suits meant for relaxed beach or poolside activities. Fabrics like nylon blends and lycra are ideal because they are soft and provide plenty of stretch while maintaining durability for beach conditions.
- Stretch: The amount of stretch varies for different types of swimwear, whether it be made for more athletic purposes or for lounging at the beach. Specifically, swimwear comes in two-way-stretch and four-way-stretch.
For one-piece swimming suits, four-way-stretch fabrics are the way to go. For body conforming swimwear, you want the fabric to stretch in all four directions (left, right, up, and down) to prevent bagginess and promote aerodynamic, slick movement in water.
For two-piece swimming suits, two-way-stretch fabrics are ideal. Due to this swimwear being two pieces and not connected, it only needs to stretch from two directions -- left and right horizontally and not vertically.
- Lining: Lining will make up the inner portion of your swimwear, so it’s important that it is comfortable and durable for all consumers. Choose a high quality and long lasting lining fabric, as cheap lining fabrics can easily tear and wear out, which ends up harming the appearance of the rest of the bathing suit and dissuading customers from making repeat purchases.
The most common fabrics chosen as lining are 100% nylon, power mesh, and even some of the same fabrics chosen for the outside of the bathing suit, as long as they are lightweight.
100% nylon is able to stretch both two-way and four-way and dries quickly, which makes it convenient for consumers.
Power mesh is often a blend of nylon and spandex, making it ideal as lining for athletic one-piece swimwear because it provides both support and flexibility. While it does have less stretch than other lining options, it can also be great for two-piece swimsuits if you are looking for a lining that enhances body shape.
Before reaching out to manufacturers to produce your swimsuit, create a tech pack with your required swimwear product features, fabrics, and lining materials clearly communicated. If you need some guidance with the fabric selection process don’t be afraid to reach out to specific manufacturers to ask for fabric suggestions.
Bringing Your Line to Shelves During Swimwear Peak Season
Now comes the fun part – bringing your manufactured designs to the hands of consumers. Automatically landing designs in high-end stores as an emerging designer is difficult, but through effective networking strategies it is not impossible.
If bringing your designs to stores doesn’t seem like the best option to reach consumers at first, then consider selling through your own website. For a lot of emerging designers, this is a good option because it allows for more control over your fashion designs, design to storefront brand alignment, and profit.
As you increase your profits, we recommend using that to invest in networking with professionals in the fashion industry to bring your designs to a wider audience. One of the most common ways to do that is to reach out to social media influencers and bloggers. The more original your bikini, swim trunks, or one-piece bathing suits, the easier it will be to prompt an influencer to promote your products on their network and increase their own community’s post engagement.