RIP CURL – SWIMWEAR BRAND OF THE YEAR
Swimwear is arguably one of the most important acquisitions to woman’s wardrobe. The summer staple, which is carefully selected based on its fit, fabric, silhouette and depending on your chosen water based activity…performance.
Rip Curl has once again proven that they’re one of the best swimwear producers in the industry by taking out the SBIA Swimwear Brand of the Year for the second year in a row at the 2018 Banquet & Awards.
Fresh off the back of their Spring Swimwear release we spoke with Rip Curl Women’s Product Manager, Sophie Marshall about what goes into an award-winning swimwear collection.
Lyndall: Given the swimwear purchase is such an important one for women, can you give us a bit of a run-down of your key considerations before the inception of each collection gets off the ground?
Sophie: Many considerations are made in the upfront planning of each collection to ensure we offer the consumer the best swimwear we possibly can within a certain amount of styles and parameters.
During range planning, we tend to consider the initial style count we are developing within our key stories, right through to our brand target market to ensure our customer segmentation is catered for.
We have so many best selling shapes; tops, pants and one pieces, that we have built shape equity in and need to continue to offer in our ranges. However, we also want to ensure we are offering new and fresh silhouettes. My job is to help give the designers the creative parameters’ and guide them in to what shape to move on, keep rolling with or update!
As we all know there are so many female shapes and sizes – it is our upmost priority to make sure we continue to offer our loyal customers AND our new customers discovering Rip Curl swimwear that makes them feel confident within themselves. This is through fit, fabric and quality, as well as offering a broad a range of bottom coverage’s and top support. We want all our customers to feel confident and amazing wearing our swimwear down to the beach or to paddling out in!
Lyndall: What are some of the elements that inspire the creative direction of each collection?
Sophie: So many. It could come from anywhere…… our designers travel the world and find that inspo can pop up in some surprising places. We have been known to throw our own necklaces off our necks and down on a print fabric for a trim idea, our graphics team love a good painting session also….one of our best selling One-pieces from the Moontide story, the yardage was hand painted with water colour by one of our graphic artists.
Lyndall: Swimwear fabrics have come such a long way, particularly premium performance fabrics, what are some of the ingredients you look for in selecting your seasonal fabrics?
Sophie: This is the part that blows me away and excites me the most. The wider team loves a new fabric! Fabrics have evolved so much since basic lycra and have continued to evolve over the 17 years I have been in the industry. We are looking at hand feel, quality, durability and texture. The eco fabrics are amazing also so watch this space…
Lyndall: What have been some of the major changes in fabrics and fits over the years?
Sophie: Basic Lycra to Microfibre – soft like butter and one of the largest and best changes! The popularity of textured fabric, bonded Lycra and of course the introduction and importance of sustainable fabrics which is so exciting to see how this evolves.
The massive success of the pant cheeky fit vs a fuller pant fit – this was a major coverage shift that make girls butts look even better on and Rip Curl has helped in pioneering this!
BUT I promise…..everything comes around again in cycles!!
Lyndall: Rip Curl offer a diverse range of fits and silhouettes in their swimwear range, are these evolving constantly?
Sophie: We are now at a stage where we must offer all fits and shapes for most sizes. We have increased our D-DD offering due to the demand and our new Skimpy pant has been very well received….AND we about to launch a new Bare pant with 5cm coverage!!
Lyndall: Is there a style or fit in your range that continues to be a winner with your customers’ year-on-year?
Sophie: The Full Pant and the Cheeky pant lives in all collections – poles apart in coverage but they both sell so well
Lyndall: How do your athletes, ambassadors and influencers play a key role in promoting your collections?
Sophie: Alana Blanchard put our cheeky pant on the map for Rip Curl– she has 1.4M followers that follow her journey and last few weeks she hasn’t taken off the new Sunchaser’s One piece and bikini – AND It’s in our top 20 !
Leah is also a Rip Curl team rider who rips, who is looking amazing on our cover shot from her last trip (the Searcher trip) along with the guys.
All team riders test the product in and out of the surf on these trips – we take all fit and print feedback from them and the samples that don’t make it back too us means they love them
Lyndall: What can we expect to see in the Rip Curl Spring Swimwear collection?
Sophie: I hope you all love it as much as we have loved producing it. It’s like Christmas day when we see the final samples and images from our location shoots.
We are so proud, as The Spring 19 range will be our first truly global range. Beginning in June all Rip Curl regions (USA and Europe) have aligned on dropping the same product at the same time and also marketed across all of our platforms at the same time. A very difficult task to achieve in all regions with different weather and swim fit requirements but as a global team, we have been able to align.
You will also see our new premium lifestyle range called “Searchers”, which features swim styles in premium Italian Lycra that we wouldn’t usually use and double lined lycra that offers a compression and comfort.
You will also see some stunning yardages that have been designed in house by our artists, ensuring they are unique to Rip Curl.
Lyndall: Congratulations again on taking out the Swimwear Brand of the Year award for two consecutive years in a row. No doubt you’ll be aiming for the trifecta this year?
Sophie: Thanks so much to the SBIA. Rip Curl is celebrating 50 years this year so it would be amazing for our team to be recognised again. We are offering swim ranges that are resonating so much with our customers – In fact, the upcoming Spring 19 range is the strongest I have seen in my 17 years in the surf industry. I think the next 12 months retailers and the wider marketplace will see some amazing product FLY off the racks and hopefully that will set us up for another amazing year for all involved!