Swimwear Market in India

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With increasing health consciousness, resort wears fashion shows and adoption of swimming as a sport is seeing a sustained increase in the swimwear space. In fact it is not just children taking to swimming but adults also joining them. Swimwear today is not only a prerequisite to get into a pool but is also becoming a fashion statement. Naturally the market has myriad choice of swim wear and beach wear as there is a clear uprising in the demand for the same.

Pool of Opportunities

With increasing accessibility to weekend getaways, beaches, and international travel, and acceptance of fashion beachwear, swimwear has become an important category in the intimate wear space. Spring summer 2018 swim collection is a good mix of silhouettes ranging from two-piece bikinis to swim dresses. “The colour palette has fresh blue, mint frosts and yellow, perfect for a trendy fashion statement on the next vacation. Bright coloured tribal and geometric prints are the dominant prints in the collection. Keeping in line with brand’s tradition to innovate with each new collection, and being in sync with latest global trend of new exposure – innerwear as outerwear, amanté’s Swimwear 18 collection features a fun crop top, with a halter tie-up, and a matching boy short,” says Smita Murarka – Head of Marketing & E- commerce MAS Holdings. PrettySecrets has launched its new SS18 swimwear collection and beachwear styles which includes bikinis, tankinis, two piece swim suits, monokinis, sarongs and cover ups in a variety of prints and colours. Incidentally, swimming is slowly becoming increasingly popular and is driving a majority of demand not just from children but adults too.

Culture Connect

Swimwear in a lot of ways represent the confidence of new Indian woman that are ready to take on the patriarchy in any form and is an expression of their freedom and strength. “The biggest roadblock in swimwear adoption has been the age old concept of Beach Body which has taken a strong beating, with women and men becoming confident in their own selves.  Retailers and brands are focusing more on celebrating all the body types and creating products to address various requirements,” says Utsaha Khara, Founder, Sitarrey. There has been a significant shift in the mindsight of the Indian consumers, wherein swimwear of all styles and silhouettes are being readily accepted. “However, conservative perception is still prevalent to some extent in the country. To tackle this issue and to empower women to feel confident in their own skin, we have designed swimwear suiting the Indian body type, and with styles that offer a flattering look,” says Muraka. Karan Behal, Founder & CEO, PrettySecrets explains, “the perception has definitely shifted from conservative styles to glamorous cuts and new swimwear styles. The market is thus in a unique predicament where designers are now exploring modest styles in smart cuts and stylish silhouettes. Instead of having a bigger percentage of one pieces, Brands/ designers are focusing on a lot of bikinis, tankinis and two piece swim suits to add to their collections.”

No Child’s Play

Swimming has gained tremendous popularity over the last decade among the urban and semi-urban markets. The perception of swimwear has changed; from being associated to glamour and exclusivity to a more active and healthy lifestyle. “Kids are the most popular age segment that is taking on swimming. Increasing access to infrastructure via clubs and housing societies has led to greater adoption among all income groups. Fun & sports along with fitness have more and more kids take up swimming as a sport. Besides, increased household incomes levels and bi-annual travel rituals have driven the spending in this category. The upwardly mobile consumer group that frequent beaches and spas have forced retailers to focus on this category with the intent of creating a niche for their customers,” says Khara.

Modesty Matters

The trend of Burkini that started in Australia way back in 2004 by Aheda Zanetti has been a constant topic of debate, especially in France where it was associated with a certain religious group. “However, I do not think that Burkini has anything to do with religion but it is about comfort and choice. It’s a fusion wear that mixes the comfort of being covered and yet being fashionable. Being in the water is one of the best feelings in the world and no one should be devoid of that fun because of their body type or the choice of their clothes. On similar lines designers are working on saree inspired Bikinis for Indian audiences,” avers Khara. “With the rise of empowerment among conservative females, burkini is a new concept of swimwear which follows a modest cover to ensure there is not as much skin show and gives them an option in the swimwear category. This is a niche segment and is trending mostly among Middle Eastern countries,” says Behal.

Trend Check

The one trend that’s undeniably dominating the global trends in swimwear right now is the 80’s style high cut bikinis and monokinis. They are also famously called the Brazilian cut. The Indian swimwear market is strongly influenced by cinema and the trends that celebrities endorse. Be it the Sunrise Monokini & Blue Hawaiin Bikini that Jacqueline Fernandes and Tapsee Pannu sported in the Judwa franchise or the classic black monokini of Deepika in Fast & Furious sequel, Bollywood will always influence the consumption pattern.  From a category perspective, while Bikini still remains the biggest segment, it’s the one piece (monokinis) that has witnessed the fastest growth. Highwaisters have made a comeback with strong adoption by plus size consumers. ScoopBacks are back in the shelves and retro lovers would surely not miss these products. Avneet Chadha, Style Expert says, “the off-shoulder swim suit is a fresh new take and emerges as one of the different kinds where one can wear a body-con one set swim suit or even a two piece bikini set will make your beach more fun and cute. The belted swimwear is quite a catch when it comes to style and adventure. Whether you go with a plain swim suit or a sporty style you can belt it up with a leather belt to make your swim wear look classy and different. A graphic neon or a color- block pattern or a bold color would look great in neon for your beach outings. Make a statement at the beach, stand out among the more common and give your beach wear a new look and feel this summer. If you like it simple, go minimalist and nude.”

Colour Coded

The new nude shades for your swim wear are quite a catch among the millennials and you can step it up and embrace the look with nude patterns and neutral hues. “We are also seeing the love for high waist trend and ruffles shift to the swimwear market as well. Flirty ruffled details are cute and add volume at the bust which works great for women with petite body types. We have incorporated such styles in our swimwear collection as well. We have seen global success in the strides to make swimwear and athletic wear fabrics UV protected, resistant to sand, chlorine and sun bleaching,” adds Behal. Some of the latest innovations include advancement in the way the fabric is created. Adding to the rise of the sustainability movement, the re-purposing of oceans threats, such as fishnets and debris, into thread, to create performance swimwear has been developed by ecologist Coralie Balmy. So get set to make a splash with cool swimwear – it still is the best antidote to beat the hot summers.

This story appeared in the May issue of Apparel Magazine here: Swimwear

All images courtesy PrettySecrets

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