NEW YORK - It may be the one item you did not know you needed in the midst of a global pandemic but as it turns out, consumers are diving headfirst into swimwear.
"This past year has been incredibly challenging, our guests need to escape more than ever," said Bradley O'Brien, the executive vice president of design, product development, and marketing at Tommy Bahama.
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We spoke to three women: a product design executive at Tommy Bahama, Cosmopolitan Magazine's fashion features editor, and an apparel market analyst from the NPD group. All are noticing a similar summer trend.
"We saw a nosedive of customers buying swim because people weren't going on spring break," Cosmo's Rachel Torgerson said. "As summer rolled around, there has been an uptick in consumers buying swimsuits."
The market research firm NPD Group estimates throughout all of 2020, swimwear sales dipped 23% but it picked up in time for summer. That coincides with an uptick in inflatable pool purchases, stand-up paddles, and even luggage.
The trending styles this year are very nostalgic and something of a throwback. The most popular styles are focused on 1970s and 1990s fashion. Think bold and funky prints, Versace-like patterns, abstract designs, neon, and high-cut athletic bottoms.
Tommy Bahama is known for the easy, breezy way their patterns make you feel. They report an uptick in separates and cover-up sales but also one-pieces.
And while they are selling separates and cover-ups, their one-pieces are also doing well. For the first time in a long time — maybe ever — the industry isn't pushing one particular trend, color, or cut.
The approach for spring-summer 2021: You do what works for you.