How do you create a swimwear line?

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Corrado Manenti
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Article updated on 04/01/2024

INTRODUCTION:

How do you create a swimwear collection in 2024? What are the fundamental steps that every designer (or aspiring designer) must know in order to approach this specific market segment BEFORE making the products?

In this article, updated to the new macro trends of 2024, we will look at how we can create a brand focused on swimwear with a view to resort wear. 

I will use our canvas the Fashion Business Designer to show you how product creation is just the tip of the iceberg!

I will also tell you about the trends that we have seen in our style department in 2023 and which ones will be most in vogue for 2024.

We will then see an initial analysis of how much a swimwear line can cost and with what budget such a project should be tackled. And finally I will give you 6 tips to get off to a good start.  

Are you ready? Let's get started!

Imagine yourself on a beach. One of those endless stretches of sand on one side an avenue of palm trees, on the other the sea. The warmth of the sun warms your skin, you feel inspired after all you are on holiday and it is summer, the season of the heart that we all prefer since we are children.

You look around and something strikes you! There are boys and girls wearing beautiful costumes, you almost can't believe, they are the very ones you created!

Beautiful, isn't it? The ultimate goal of making fashion is to see one's collections, lived, worn, to become accomplices of people's important moments. Obviously nothing happens by chance!

We cannot create products by simply thinking that they are relevant to people and that they will simply buy them, we have to create products that offer the customer a story and make them the protagonist of ours!

For this we need to create and communicate our history for this we need to work on our identity: on create our own fashion brand!

 

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THE BAD METHOD FOR CREATING A COLLECTION:

If this is the first article you read welcome to Be A Designer lat the home of up-and-coming designers and anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur in fashion.

We are a creative team specialising in the creation of new product lines and what will effectively become your fashion brand! I

n the last few years I have worked on so many types of product, each market segment has unique peculiarities which partly define both the type of product to be produced and the shape and timing of our business. 

How the development and building a swimwear brand differs from the development of a 'Classic' fashion line?

  • Why does it make sense to think of it from a resort-wear perspective?
  • How should I organise my business to sell and distribute my product?

These are just some of the questions I am asked most often and they are important questions because if you are thinking that 2024 is the right year to start a project in fashion you need all the information you can get to get off to a good start! 

In this article, we will analyse together the peculiarities in the creation of swimwear lines and how we can design an iconic brand for the beach (and beyond!).

We will use (as usual) our Fashion Business Designer? Be A Designer's tool for making the whole creative process 'simple' and 'understandable'.

I will guide you Corrado Manenti founder of Be A Designer! I will guide you through this fascinating type of merchandise.

BEFORE STARTING A BRIEF REMINDER:

To better understand my approach it is useful to print out the canvas! you can find all the resources in the Fashion Business Academy in your reserved area and access the free video course where you will also find all the downloadable materials]

The Canvas is designed to be accompanied by my handbook: "Do you want to be a designer too? at the end of each chapter you will find exercises to fill in the canvas correctly if you have NOT bought it yet. find it HERE

We therefore start with the BRAND DESIGN which is the area you see highlighted in red in the picture below:

A diagram of a business plan for sportswear with 'brand design' written on it.

FOLLOWING THE CANVAS WE WILL ANALYSE SOME POINTS THAT DISTINGUISH SWIMWEAR FROM A FASHION OR ACCESSORY BRAND

A woman in a red bikini on the beach.

BRAND DESIGN:

How to structure the design of your Beachwear Brand

  1. IDEA: A swimwear brand is born in a well-defined imagination. The mind immediately wanders to the white beaches of the Caribbean, between two drinks in a chiringuito in Formentera and culminating in a beach disco where day automatically mixes with night.

    As I always say, fashion companies don't just sell objects to cover oneself? but they try to offer their customers a lifestyle, a way of being and belonging to the community of their brand enthusiasts.

    In the case of a brand with costumes as its main focus this is even more important and intimately connected.

    The costume (especially in the women's version) has a counter-intuitive function, it does not serve to cover us but serves to emphasise the parts that remain uncovered.

    In 2021 we worked on a project on the gods Burquini for one of our customers and I can assure you that the logic is the same even though the function would seem at first sight to be to cover everything!

    It is a product from the strong emotional content because unlike other products that can give us a certain security? and hide our points weak? leaves us metaphorically naked?.

    That is why if we dream of building a brand whose main product is swimwear, we must have very clear ideas!

    Like any product, we have two psychological dimensions that underlie the creation of your brand and what your products will be:

    1. excellence in the functional dimension: The swimming costume is analogous to any garment for technical/sports use, the primary function being to go into water whether salt/ fresh water, resist sweat, heat, UV rays, sand abrasion, etc.

    2. the set of perceived intrinsic qualities relevant to the customer.

A woman in a green swimming costume poses for a photo.

COLLECTION DESIGN:

How do you structure the collection part of your swimwear line?

A business plan for a collection of sportswear products.

DETAIL OF THE COLLECTION DESIGN DIAL:

COLLECTION PYRAMID: Seasonality should not be a limitation. If it is true that by calendar the sale of costumes follows its own distinct seasonality, you have to structure your brand, collections and various releases to be able to overcome the classic seasonality while still selling something.

In my approach I always recommend starting with a product category in the case of swimwear, the philosophy of the lifestyle.

So choose complementary items to build your Pyramid Collection? Always keep in mind that the main product should always be the costumes.

Depending on your market positioning (and the price at which you place your products) try to complete the steps of the pyramid with complementary products.

A few examples:

  • IN THE CASE OF MAN: If your Massive Impact products are costumes, you can propose for the aspirational band a light-weight shirt or one that uses fine materials (linen- fine cotton) to promote a lifestyle of Yatch / Sailboat?. If your brand is more light-hearted and sporty-oriented, you can repurpose lightweight K-Ways / neoprene surf bodies and so on in the same patterns.

  • IN THE CASE OF THE WOMAN: Your Aspirational products can be premium versions of swimming costumes with greater detailing (crystal inserts/metallic foils/thickened screen prints) that can with a skirt or shorts function as underwear even in the evening.

 

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A diagram illustrating the creation of a swimwear line.

MATERIALS: Swimming costumes do not have a large selection of materials to choose from. In almost all cases, synthetic fibres derived from plastic polymers such as polyester in its various declinations are used.

Within this type of fabric we can find fabrics of different qualities/elasticity. There are fabrics that dry quickly, reduce rubbing abrasion, let UV-B rays through and do not spoil the tan.

There are also polyester fabrics completely regenerated from recycled plastic at sea that can help you add value to your proposition in case your target customer is sensitive to sustainability and the circular economy.

APPLICATION: When we talk about swimwear fabrics, we are almost always talking about polyester fabrics with a variable amount of elastic fibre. Polyester fabrics as synthetic fabrics (derived from plastic) are usually solution-dyed. 

Unlike cellulosic or protein fabrics (cotton/silk/viscose etc.), they cannot be dyed, but have great weather resistance and light fastness. However, in the case of white fabric bases, they can easily be printed with the sublimation ink jet printing.

Colour is always present in the imagery of costume design, so you too can develop patterns and designs to print.

Swimwear.

Some examples of prints typical? of costume design.

HOW CAN WE SELL AND LAUNCH OUR SWIMWEAR LINE?

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CREATE A SWIMWEAR LINE?

At this point I would no doubt be asking: "But how much does it cost me to create my own swimwear line? Let's go and see it together! 

As usual we have standard cost items and some variables depending on your product type. Of course, I recommend you use the link at the end of the article if you want to know more in detail how we could handle the creation part for YOU.

1) TEXTILES: The families of fabrics from which swimming costumes are usually made are Nylon fibre synthetics, Lycra stretch fabrics for tighter-fitting swimming costumes, polyester fabrics and so on. They are usually fairly inexpensive fabrics and you can find them made in Italy as low as 4.50? per metre ready to print. Going up in price, you can find more special fabrics with more obvious technical (weight, lightness, hand) and marketing properties e.g. fabrics made from fishing nets recovered from the sea and so on.

The great thing that makes the cost of fabric a variable in our favour is that usually swimwear consume very little fabric. In fact, we buy fabrics by the linear metre in a height of usually 160 cm, so we can make about four costumes (it always depends on whether they are men's, women's, large or particularly skimpy)

2) PRINTING:  The most common print for swimwear is sublimation transfer printing with the latest price increases due to the socio-political situation the price has risen especially for small quantities but we are around 12? per linear metre.

3) MODELLING:  Making a swimming costume model from scratch with its size development and sizing costs about 200/250? 

4) ACCESSORIES/LABELS: In addition to all the standard and our own brand labels, the swimming costume requires fabrics for the inner part in contact with the skin. There are accessories that can further enrich our swimwear such as inserts or embroidery.

5) PACKAGING: In Italy, a swimming costume costs more or less between 15-20? for small quantities depending on the difficulty of the model.

To give you a concrete idea the average price of a costume made in Italy in limited quantities with a good fabric finished and ready to be sold should cost you between 25/35? This serves to make it clear from the outset that you will find it IMPOSSIBLE to compete with Fast Fashion where on average a costume costs between 8? and 15? (made in Bangladesh / Pakistan).

For this you will need to make something unique with a strong brand that can sustain an adequate multiplier! (Usually an X2.5 or X3) 

WHAT TO DO FROM HERE ON?

We have seen some of the features that make creating a swimwear line quite simple! On the one hand we have a simple product that consumes little fabric and can be beautifully customised with print, on the other hand we have to deal with an initial cost to be borne by specific marketing actions and a brand that can convey that energy and dream of a life on the beach.

We have seen what the main items are that make up the cost of a swimwear line in Italy, obviously they will not sell themselves! So we will have to wisely calculate MARKETING costs and also LOGISTICS especially if we want to sell online and physically ship our products.

Our BAD approach addresses all these steps and makes everything easy and understandable even for those who are new to this world of creating and selling a fashion line. So if you liked this article and you have not yet read my book, I recommend that you BUY IT NOW.

To conclude, I want to leave you with 6 valuable tips to get off to a good start!

6 TIPS FOR THE BEST START:

1) Beware of gravity: for both men and women, the swimming costume is constructed on the body with precise volumes that may vary from person to person. If the discourse of fit in a clothing collection is important in the modelling of a swimwear collection (similarly to underwear and lingerie) it is FUNDAMENTAL.

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the 5 mistakes to avoid when creating your costume brand

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A man in a green bikini on a beach.Keywords: line, swimwear

The Borat costume is a nice example of how an object can become unintentionally ICONIC despite completely wrong design premises.

2) Care in the Choice of Materials: Almost all swimwear with very few exceptions is made of polyester or Lycra? Like all materials we can find many qualities. In the case of polyester if we wanted to go for the "ingredient branding or have some 'special ingredient' that adds value to our products are available on the market some very good bases of recycled materials / from plastics collected at sea and so on. If this is in line with the values of your target customer it is worth considering these (generally more expensive) materials for an emotional element to use in your marketing and communication.

3) Packaging Wants Its Part: Swimwear as well as underwear and all small items need their own dedicated packaging. In addition to the practical function of containment, this can increase the impact and experience of your product. Depending on your product, you can think of different types of packaging (customised bags with the same motif as the swimming costume, bio-degradable bags and boxes, glass jars, bottles).

4) Create a Complete Experience: In my approach I always recommend starting with a product category in the case of swimwear, the philosophy of the lifestyle. So choose complementary items to build your Pyramid Collection? Always keep in mind that the main product should always be the costumes.

5) Simple Models: ( But not too much) The swimming costume is still a commodity, you have to find the right balance between functionality, aesthetics and design. While the function of the swimming costume is ostensibly to cover the body everything revolves around the parts you leave uncovered. Especially in women, the body itself is the subject, your designs must respect it, emphasise it and cover / uncover it where needed.

6) Beware of seasonality: Seasonality should not be a limitation. If it is true that by calendar the sale of costumes follows its own distinct seasonality, you have to structure your brand, collections and various releases to be able to overcome the classic seasonality while still selling something.

You can do this by selling in different markets that have a different seasonality from ours. Or by offering complementary products in the 'cold' periods that are in line with our philosophy.

DO YOU WANT TO BUILD YOUR BRAND AND CREATE YOUR OWN SWIMWEAR LINE BUT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START?

Sketch of a female dress incorporating stylistic design.
Example work in progress of some design proposals for our customers

What were the trends of 2023 in the swimwear world?

Incorporation of Jewellery: One of the trends emerging for 2023 is the use of jewellery and precious details in swimwear, which add a touch of luxury and distinction.

Earthy shades: Browns and earthy tones have become a dominant trend, reflecting a minimalist aesthetic that resonates with broader fashion trends.

Halter necklines: Halter necklines have become popular in both tops and fashionable dresses, and this trend has also spread to swimwear, offering a fashionable and versatile look.

Use of Silk Scarves: For sun protection, in addition to SPF cream, silk scarves have become a favourite fashion accessory, adding an elegant and functional touch.

Reflective Costumes: Super-shiny costumes, both in foil and Lurex, have become very popular, with saturated colours such as cobalt or green, or delicate shades such as silver.

Linen shirts: Another trend is the use of relaxed linen shirts over swimwear, a practical choice for both the city and the beach, with a preference for bright colours.

A palette of colours for women's swimwear.

What will be some trends in the world of beachwear for 2024?

Textured Fabrics: Textured fabrics such as ribbed, seersucker and ruffles add depth and visual interest to swimming costumes, making them a fashionable choice for the beach or the pool.

Cutout and strappy details: Cutout details and intricate straps are in vogue, offering a unique way to show some skin while maintaining the structure and support of the garment.

High Cut Funds: High-cut 80s-inspired bikini bottoms are back in a big way, creating an illusion of longer legs and a more defined waist.

Earthy and Neutral tones: Colours such as sand, olive green, terracotta and soft pastels are in vogue, evoking a natural beauty perfect for relaxing on the beach.

Asymmetrical Styles: Asymmetry is dominating swimwear design, with one-shoulder tops and off-centre details adding an unexpected twist to classic silhouettes.

Retro Pattern: Retro patterns are making a comeback, with vintage floral prints, polka dots and graphics offering a playful and charming aesthetic.

Sustainability: The use of eco-friendly fabrics and sustainable practices is becoming increasingly popular, with brands incorporating recycled materials and environmentally friendly processes.

Sporty Vibrations: Sports swimwear is on the rise, suitable for those who enjoy an active beach lifestyle, with racerback tops, high necklines and elegant one-pieces with athletic-inspired details.

Colour Pink: Pink is not just a colour, but an attitude, loved for its gentle, stable, noble and elegant temperament.

Embroidery Effect Print: Digital printing technology allows for a refined embroidery effect, offering an affordable alternative to hand-embroidered swimwear.

Shimmering fabrics: Metallic fabrics add a touch of elegance to any outfit, making swimwear brighter and also suitable for social occasions after the beach.

Design with buckles: Buckle designs can liven up swimming costumes and make them unique, with different buckles or positions for surprising effects.

Vivid colours: Trend colours for 2024 include Optic White, Black, Sea Kelp, Radiant Red, Nutshell, Tidal Teal, Gold, Cornflower and Galactic Cobalt Shimmer.

If you want to discover more trends for 2024 in fashion and clothing I wrote an article HERE!

A wide range of women's swimwear and accessories.

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Would you like to join me and other visionary students on an innovative journey where we will set out to conquer the fashion world? Trust us, together nothing will stop us even Borat-style costumes!

WARNING!

If you have read this article it is because you are certainly a fashion enthusiast, but the real reason why you read these topics on my site and not in a fashion magazine

is because you have most likely had in your drawer for some time
the idea of creating your own fashion brand.

I am Corrado Manenti and now for more than 10 years I founded the first independent style office specialising in supporting emerging designers in the development of their collections and their path to self-entrepreneurship.

If you are a designer or simply a creative person and have always dreamed of building your own fashion collection and selling it, you are in the right place!

Will 2024 be the right year to bring your project to life?
Schedule a free consultation with me and let's evaluate the future of your project together.

A book entitled 'How do you create a swimwear line?' on a table.

At Corrado's is everything!

Until the next article!

Corrado Manenti, the designer of designers, showcases his work in Elementor Single Article #3277.
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Hayat
Hayat
1 year ago

Merci tous ces conseils vont probablement m?aider

They talk about us

Some of the major newspapers have already started talking about our project and our customers with great enthusiasm and attention. This media resonance is testament to our commitment and professionalism in promoting Italian-made products around the world. In a short time we have become a point of reference for the entire segment of emerging designers 

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Swimwear ctacostumi.

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