As Swim’s Growth Slows, Miami Swim Market Shakes Things Up | WWD

From WWD

On the cusp of the annual Miami swim market, whose trade shows, runway presentations and activations are scheduled from July 11 to 16, the category appears to be as saturated as a wet swimsuit after a dive into the pool.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser, retail, at The NPD Group, said other than being the victim of its own success as new and existing brands, including mass-market retailers, piled on product, resortwear’s and swim’s robust growth has fallen flat as consumers buy the same quantity but at lower prices. He also noted that both categories’ early adoption of new uses, such as beach to street versatility, has been undermined by ath-leisure. Another culprit is climate change, which is wreaking havoc on traditional weather patterns — the U.S. is coming off its wettest 12 months in history, while summer forecasts for below and above average temperatures could keep more people indoors.

 “Swimwear has to get its mojo back and find growth outside the market,” said Cohen, of a sentiment felt across fashion from sportswear to trade shows, both of which have expanded well beyond their niches. “Innovation is paramount, too, so swimwear needs a wide-open throttle rather than waiting around for replenishment to drive business.”

He compared Miami’s ever-expanding trade show roster to MAGIC in Las Vegas. The number of satellite shows orbiting SwimShow — which launched in 1982 and will exhibit 3,000 lines at the Miami Beach Convention Center from July 13 to 16 — has this year increased from two, Hammock and Cabana, to four. Liberty Fashion Fairs, owner of Cabana, is adding Capsule Miami Beach, a smaller version of its New York events with 50 emerging collections from July 13 to 15. Coterie will transition from last year’s inaugural retail pop-up to DestinationMiami, a large-scale, wholesale showroom concept with 60 designer and contemporary vendors.

Having maxed out its two halls totaling more than 250,000 square feet, SwimShow will relocate runway presentations and some activations across the street to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. It is partnering with local insiders to introduce Nu Wave Swim from July 11 to 14. Taking advantage of its first year in the fully renovated convention center, SwimShow also has redesigned its layout and elevated amenities. Two food halls will serve tastier fare, and a photographer will be on call for impromptu photo shoots. Some exhibitors timed their makeovers with those of the venue and SwimShow, such as Manhattan Beachwear’s new booth and branding.

“Every year new brands want to participate, and we have a strict jury process to make sure exhibitors bring a lot to the table,” said Judy Stein, executive director for the Swimwear Association of Florida, producer of SwimShow.

Slated for July 13 to 15, Cabana is abandoning its longtime, beachside tents for the convention center’s reliable air conditioning and bathrooms. Cabana cofounder Janet Wong said the move will enable her to make a bigger splash with production, the umbrella theme of which is under wraps until the grand reveal. Occupying hall D, three sections will be devoted to Cabana and one will be for Capsule. Each will feature color-coded carpet among their distinct vibes.

“It logistically made sense to get everybody under the same roof. Buyers can be sure they’ve covered it all, and brands can participate in the same show in New York and Miami to avoid confusion,” Wong said.

A quarter of Cabana’s 300 vendors will be accessories, with the remaining 75 percent divided equally between swimwear and resortwear. Wong is pushing for sustainable practices by noting eco lines, like Yatay’s vegan leather sneakers and swimwear by Galamaar and Fair Harbor in the show guide and banning single-use plastic. She’s going full on with activations, too. VIPs will be lavished with them, while all attendees are invited to bring their Tkees to the flip-flop maker’s monogram station or have their hair braided with custom scarves by green-minded Verandah, among other experiences.

Hammock’s 100 vendors will be sprinkled across 1 Hotel South Beach’s suites, a ballroom and its adjoining atrium from July 13 to 15. The multicategory, international overview will span Colombia-based Goretty Medina to Dubai-born Nemozena’s reversible separates made in Italy. Lolli Swim will host a luncheon on the Miami River and Fashion Law Boutique, which provides legal services for designers, will sponsor a private cocktail at Casa Tua.

“We’re continuing to focus on the guest experience after positive feedback from last year’s programming,” said Hammock cofounder Rick Fatzinger.

Coterie is returning to Faena Bazaar for DestinationMiami from July 13 to 16. Stand-alone showrooms and a vintage boutique, the retail exception within its new B2B format, will be housed on the ground level. Two additional floors will feature a travel-themed assortment by 20 brands. It will mark Informa Markets’ foray into a tightly concentrated selection of showrooms as well as a show entirely dedicated to resort and other travel components. Though the category has increased at Coterie New York’s September market, it isn’t what instigated the Miami expansion, according to Hillary Joseph, senior events director, East Coast women’s.

“The Miami market is really special, and we’re aiming to gain the attention from designers and stores that don’t usually travel to the New York main markets with us, or those who genuinely are destination stores from all over the world, who thrive in resort with a bit of a higher price point,” said Joseph, of focusing on special product versus the accessible lines shown in New York. “We’re looking to build an incubator of sorts that can help new and established brands who understand limited distribution strategies and the purpose of brand alignment.”

Sheriff&Cherry, a retro collection of sunglasses and its Boatlife Club apparel division; Colombia-based LoboRosa’s printed kimonos and dresses; Héros, Scottish designer Joni Kilmurry’s seasonless separates, and Esenshel, stylist Rodney Patterson’s statement headwear handcrafted in New York fit the bill.

Since IMG left town, it’s been an ongoing challenge to produce cohesive runway showcases and wrangle editors at leading titles to make the trek to Miami. A few major players are taking a crack at it, however.

Paraiso Miami Beach, Liberty Fashion Fairs’ event production collaboration, will expand its footprint across Collins Avenue to Cabana’s former site. An enlarged, main tent will stage up to four shows daily from July 11 to 14, while more than 30 participating brands — a 25-percent uptick from last year — also had their pick of offsite venues. Maaji chose a public presentation at Brickell City Centre on the mainland, Acacia will show at the 1111 Building’s parking garage, and Style Saves’ group show fundraiser hosted by model Rocky Barnes will return to the Setai. Registration, a quagmire in previous years, is being relocated to a tent and will be streamlined by the Launchmetrics platform. Brad Kilgore, an award-winning chef who owns multiple restaurants here, will handle cuisine, and a nearby boutique hotel will host the upgraded media lounge, one of IMG’s most popular attractions.

Paraiso Bungalow, a bi-level pop-up structure with ocean views, debuts for brands to engage with the public. Chopard, Olivela, Aloha Collection and Tropic of C by Candice Swanepoel are setting up retail vignettes with activations like live-painting for local charities below, while upstairs is reserved for programming. The Upcycle Challenge, a student swimwear design competition with a $5,000 award, is also being launched. Students will receive materials, mentorship from designers like Cynthia Rowley and Vitamin A’s Amahlia Stevens, and a presentation at Paraiso.

“As the industry evolves, we’ve responded to consumer demand by opening our doors and exclusive content, conversations and experiential activations,” said cofounder Aleksander Stojanovic.

Though much smaller, Nu Wave Swim is betting on Miami’s crème de la crème to reenergize IMG’s void. Organizers Seth Browarnik, founder of World Red Eye photo agency, and Michelle Addison, a former publisher at Miami Modern Luxury and Ocean Drive magazines, partnered with Soho Beach House for talks, the Sacred Space for wellness, Bar Bevy for night life, Drunken Tiger for food, the Bungalow Bazaar for retail and Miami Waterkeeper for philanthropy.

“All our partners are elevated in nature, because it’s important to show how elevated we are, being our first event,” Browarnik said.

Tori Praver, Red Carter, Vitamin A, Gottex, Bleu Rod Beattie, Parke & Ronen, Charmosa and Revival took the bait and signed up for shows in the 250-person tent. Body Glove’s informal modeling presentation will require setting an alarm for sunrise yoga.

“People love Miami. Editors are genuinely interested, but their budgets were cut,” said Browarnik, whose team has reached out to Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Forbes and Cosmopolitan with incentives to come back. “Designers who showed many years ago jumped in again. Fashion shows are still important.”

Addison got straight to the point: “Swim is huge in Miami, and it’s the most important swim market in the world.”

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