The watersports industry is growing steadily. Be it long-distance stand-up paddling, kitesurfing or the more leisurely boogie board: the fact is, the customer, whether beginner or advanced, prefers water to solid ground more often. For this reason, functional fabrics for this industry have been promoted and brands for swimwear showed an increased interest in the development of sporty inspired collections. This particular evolution recalls how brands, especially lingerie brands, opened the athleisure market by developing sports bras. They took their existing know-how and used it for a new application in the watersports tools and equipment industry.
As the hardware market, from boards to kayaks, grows on its own, the opportunities for advanced styling in swimwear, beach/urban wear and accessories are also a potential growth market. Brands emphasized this direction with sexy styling, through functional fabrics, to coordinated collections of accessories that complete the look. It is becoming apparent that suppliers of swimwear fabrics are moving from pure fashion swimwear to adding a combination of existing fashion designs and added features. The swimwear brands want to benefit from the growth in the water sports industry and offer a combination of sporty lifestyle aspects and high performance. Consumers are eager to either do water sports or simply want to look that way at the beach bar – the swimwear reflects the effect that the athleisure lifestyle had on activewear.
High compression fabrics for warp knit fabrics and woven fabrics offer hybrid styling, where stability and UV protection are of paramount importance. Sun protection is not only attractive for the adult market, this functionality is also very important for children. UV resistance can be achieved through compact fabric structures with innovative yarns and coatings that protect against harmful UV rays. Protection is also important in swimsuits, as the long-sleeved rashguards inspire and convince with print patterns.
Clearly, the sportswear apparel industry has picked up speed by pursuing the most important innovations in the market, from extremely chlorine-resistant elastane to recycled synthetic fibers to UV protection and, most importantly, a distinctive style. Not only high-performance swimwear sets on performance textiles, but also in conventional swimwear and fashion.This market is expected to grow as consumers now enjoy doing yoga on a surfboard, as well as on a yoga mat, and cycling and running for stand-up paddling during the summer.