Trendy Directions & Exotic Fabrics

The Swim Journal gets the inside scoop on the fashion forecast from industry designers and suppliers

By N. Jayne Seward

Swimwear designers are following lifestyle trends more closely than ever. While there is plenty of newness this season, trends could be viewed as evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Designers are building on existing themes while creating new original designs. For Season 2017, look for innovative takes on the ’70s and boho styling, crochet, artisan trims, romanticism, tropical prints, nature and, of course, sporty, activewear-inspired looks that continue to evolve and drive the beachwear market.

With active lifestyles and a focus on wellness continuing to influence consumers, athleisure is here to stay. “Health is the new wealth; athleisure is in constant evolution,” says Julie Gosselin, creative director for the swim division of Trimera Brands, which includes the Christina, Captiva and Costa Del Sol labels. “Consumer groups have emerged [that] invest in healthy life choices.” The trend touches all categories and now is being offered in plus sizes. Sport technology is combining with fashion styling and innovations such as intelligent textiles, Gosselin notes.

For creora®, the concept of “Equilibrium” is a key trend for 2017, evoking balance, support, symmetry and buoyancy. Geared toward the performance swim market, the palette for the trend includes basic black updated with energetic prints and trims. Fabrics are lightweight, quick-drying and include chlorine-resistant creora® highclo™.

Active-inspired looks are on point for many brands. Trends range from sports styling to scuba effects, neoprene fabrics, high-neck tanks, mesh sportswear, rash guards, active silhouettes and bright colors. Swimwear and sportswear are crossovers. “I think the line has become extremely blurry, which also adds a great deal of crossover function,” says Brian Davis, designer of Magicsuit by Miraclesuit. Davis says customers are looking to the brand to provide feminine, activewear-inspired looks. “That’s been something that we’ve really explored—racerbacks, more active details, but in a polished way,” he explains, adding that key treatments include creating illusion with mesh and adjustability using draw cords, as well as fabric sculpting and lattice-work or strapping detail. “It’s all about drape and ease, but any kind of back interest like back cowl, special ties, really opening up the back of a swimsuit or a tankini, that’s been really strong.”

Across the board, bohemian inspiration continues to influence swim. “The whole bohemian look has become more and more popular over the last few years, and it doesn’t seem like it will stop growing in popularity,” says Jimmy Cameron, designer of Point Zero Ocean, who adds that boho is now seen in all categories. “It is evolving, and it is definitely here to stay. It is now a lifestyle to adopt, and it is affecting fashion swimwear in a major way.” Bohemian looks in the Point Zero Ocean collection include bandana, paisley and border prints, as well as crochet details and fringe.

According to Rebecca Virtue, BECCA designer, the ’70s era is continuing to trend on the runways. “Strong references from hippie-inspired looks and rock ’n’ roll music come through,” she says. BECCA’s 2017 collection features washed, marbled and hand-pigment dyes, which create a distorted wave of colors in its Cosmic suits. Key silhouettes in the collection include body tops, long liners, and halters that can be worn as a swimsuit or street-wear. Details such as slashed laser-cutting add a sexy edge, and bold macramé straps “create major back drama for beach-to-bar dressing,” says Virtue.

The ále by Alessandra 2017 collection also takes inspiration from the ’70s, but with an artisan hippie vibe. Think festival chic with suede, tie-dye and batik effects as well as allover butterfly prints. According to Alessandra Ambrosio, designer, skin is a focal point, strategically revealed through multi-strap styling, macrame and cut-out one-pieces. Nature-inspired embellishments include cowrie shells, wood beads, feathers and stones.

“Global/handcrafted looks are inspiring because of new details, especially hand-knit crochets,” says Jaclyn Mack, head designer of the Junior division of Oceanfront, a division of Trimera Brands. “There is a lot that inspires us! This includes a beach-to-festival lifestyle, sport elements, global treasures and the beauty in Mother Nature.” Color palettes range from new neutrals in clay and olive tones to cool blues, new corals, burnt-sienna tones and vivid brights.

Several brands have given their 2017 collections a romantic update to bohemian style with a flirty feminine twist. Nathalie Nasri, director of product development and sales for Everyday Sunday, describes this season’s collection for women as sophistication and simplicity with a vintage feeling, featuring floral and retro patterns. Envision lingerie inspiration, crochet, ruffles and laced-up details.

The look is also key for Caribbean Joe. “The Bohemian trend continues into 2017,” says Laura Barrett, designer. “We have translated that romantic feeling into our Caribbean Joe vacation lifestyle swim brand, with scarf prints and designs that have a hand-drawn feel.” Exotic tropical getaways are inspiring more than a few designers this season. “Tropicals are hot—especially with a vintage feeling,” says Barrett. “Our ‘Greetings from…’ print for 2017 features a richly saturated tropical flora-and-fauna that feels fresh from a nostalgic postcard.”

Color and print are indeed important for Cruise 2017. Creora’s “Jamboree” trend reflects a carnival holiday spirit in vibrant, tropical colors and abstract prints. Intense bright hues are reminiscent of those found in the Amazon.

“We have been observing an increase in what I like to call ‘the variety of individuality’ in the bold use of prints,” says Adrian Carstens at La Lame. “Some have been more controversial than others, however, the wilder, the better. 2017 is going to be a year without limits, bringing out sexy colors and contours. The array of flowers and animal prints has added to the charm of a new season.” Key fabrics for 2017 include double-sided fabrics, such as stretch jacquards and bonded stretch lace, he adds. Metallic stretch yarns are important techniques going forward.

Color is also key for Anne Cole. “For our Anne Cole customer, it’s about great bright color and bold, bright prints,” says Anna Kenney, designer, who created a palette this season with colors such as bright Sunkist Orange, Love Red, Pacific Blue, Tahoe teal, Blue Lagoon and Flamingo Pink. “We really study color to make sure we are providing her with the newest, hottest, latest color palette for 2017.” Print direction for 2017 takes inspiration from floral prints, oversized graphics, and painterly and small bouquets, she adds.

According to Octavio Quintana, vice president of the North America division for Leonisa, “the hottest trends for Cruise 2017 are inspired by nature.” Visualize vibrant tropical flower prints with lush green leaves and palm trees in contrasting lighting. “This is what our Cruise 2017 collection is all about; it’s about presenting different perspectives in nature that remind you of your happy experiences on the beach,” adds Quintana.

The feel-good factor is a quality that many consumers are gravitating toward, and designers are taking note. Creora’s “Summer Loving” trend evokes feelings of happiness, pleasure, comfort and the innocence of the ’50s. Colors are cheerful and uplifting, and inspire rest and relaxation. Flashback to old Havana and envision a dreamy holiday weekend in Cuba to capture the mood. For Everyday Sunday, comfort is part of its everyday philosophy. The brand’s Junior collection includes retro Cuban inspiration with crochet, denim and zig-zag stitching. Its “Sunday Splash” retro pop look is on point for Cruise, with sporty bodies, vertical stripes and fresh, colorful tropical prints.