MIAMI, United States — The desire for luxury experiences driven by the Millennials continues to impact consumer trends globally. In the next 5 years, market research firm Euromonitor projects that global international arrivals will reach 1.6 billion. As more and more consumers seek to share aspirational lives on Instagram, the visibility of every aspect of their wardrobe has increased, which is driving increasing demand for premium and elevated resort and swimwear.
An immersive experience showcasing international contemporary and designer brands during Miami Swim Week, DestinationMiami is seeking to tap this opportunity by creating a space where “emerging premium international brands can thrive and where it’s much easier to support brands’ first steps,” says its Senior Events Director, Hillary Joseph.
Owned by fashion event organiser Informa Plc., parent company to global tradeshows including Coterie, Magic and Project, and launching this July, the move is timely. In 2017, the global swimwear market was valued at $18.4 billion. By 2024, it is projected to reach $28.1 billion, registering a CAGR of 6.2 percent from 2018 to 2024, according to Allied Market Research — and the luxury market is optimising on this upswing. Retail analyst firm Edited reported last year that Farfetch had increased its women’s swim offering by 349 percent and MatchesFashion by 288 percent, counting on luxury e-commerce’s global reach and its consumers’ penchant for travel.
The Asian markets, particularly in China, Korea and Japan, are also increasingly interested in, and benefitting from, the upswing in resort and swimwear. One remote Chinese coastal city, Xingcheng, produced more than 200 million bathing suits shipped worldwide in 2018, China Daily reported in May.
BoF sits down with Hillary Joseph to hear how the new event is designed to create growth in the market, for both the brands and the buyers by elevating the category itself.
What market opportunity are you tapping with DestinationMiami?
For DestinationMiami, we wanted to build a platform where emerging premium international brands can thrive and where it’s much easier to support brands’ first steps. This year, we’re launching with 60 brands and for the next three years, it’s going to stay very small — between 60 and 100 brands. We are looking to expand our venue footprint over the next few years.
The larger businesses behind DestinationMiami are absolutely aligned on the vision and the potential. The opportunity was presented as, “Look, we understand the strength of swimwear and it’s growing. We have the opportunity to build something new that has a cool factor around it, that has a brand with reach that will help enhance the trade experience over time.”
How do you see your brand strategy evolving?
Resort is no longer, “I need to just buy a bathing suit for vacation.” It’s now, “I need a bathing suit and a cover up that I can post on Instagram and look fashionable.” When we look at trade shows and the foundation as a whole, people get very concerned with selling to these stores. But rather than selling to a specific store, you should look at the end consumer. You could sell to a department store but then be on a designer floor versus a contemporary floor.
It should be a brand that we can seriously help establish in the market and grow with them.
People are no longer afraid to wear resort and swimwear prints and fabrics in their normal day-to-day wardrobes. DestinationMiami is the hero brand of Destination and I believe it has to evolve into a b2b and b2c consumer facing business that hit different markets. In five years, I would love a DestinationParis that could be in partnership with somebody — it doesn’t have to be a standalone event because ultimately, we’re just trying to reach all of the same people.
What is your background in the industry?
My background is heavy in swim week trade events, so I know a tonne about the swim and the resort industries. Being that connector between brands and buyers without trying to force a relationship between them fosters an organic connection — that makes the event. That is what we’re trying to adopt. In our bigger shows at Coterie, we have over 100 brands in all the different categories and it’s figuring out how to break down our teams to get an expert in this category or that category, who knows the brands and the buyers so they can help connect them without it feeling like we’re just trying to pitch all the brands that are in our show.
How can buyers interact with the brands at the event?
Essentially, it is a showroom environment so when you come in on the first floor, you register at the lobby, walk into the courtyard and there’s a number of rooms. One of them is a New York-based resort showroom, the other one is a showcase salon by St. Dom, the leading multi-brand store in Colombia, which includes 13 of the best Colombia designers in this space. Then the other room on the ground is vintage, for wholesale and for personal retail. Then you walk upstairs and there’s two more floors and each floor has about 15 to 20 brands on what we’re seeing in the market and how they should be positioned.
Being that connector between brands and buyers without trying to force a relationship between them is doing it in an organic way — that makes the event.
Rather than looking at it at a store level and at that individual floor, you need to make sure that it is all cohesive. That means it can be people who are super established and people who are in that space, but it can also be people who deserve to sit next to them because of the quality of the brand, their price point and what we see as their potential to reach that.
How do you work with your brands to decide on the selection for DestinationMiami?
It’s a combination of things. It’s about meeting the brands and knowing what’s relevant in the market. So far this year, I’ve travelled to Brazil, Australia and Paris, to make sure each collection fits our purpose. What we’re doing is finding out how relevant the new brand is and how relevant it is compared to what is already penetrating the market.
It’s not my job to say if something is bad — it’s my job to understand if it has a point of view and an end consumer that fits who we want to talk to. Do the price points fit in line with a more premium market where I can get Matches Fashion, Net-A-Porter or Moda Operandi interested? I’m trying to find those cool girl brands that also have longevity. It should be brands that we can seriously help establish in the markets and to grow with them.
This is a sponsored feature paid for by Coterie as part of a BoF Careers partnership. To explore careers at Coterie, please click here.