The biggest swimwear trade show in the world is making waves this year with the addition of another exhibition hall at the Miami Beach Convention Center, lining up more than 2,500 lines that contribute to a multi-billion dollar industry.
The 31st annual SwimShow organized by the Swimwear Association of Florida, which serves as a platform for designers and manufacturers to showcase their latest trends and styles for buyers, ends today.
"In order for consumers to be able to purchase in stores, this show has to take place," said Judy Stein, SwimShow executive director. "Buyers come in to determine what they want at their stores."
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This year was the third time Joanne Snodgrass, owner and designer of the Palm Beach-based resort apparel and accessories line Nouvelle, showcased her collection.
"Every year has been better for me," Snodgrass said. "I get more orders, a wider range of people stopping by. There's people coming in who saw me last year, didn't know me very well, but are now more familiar with my brand."
Snodgrass' swimwear, which she classified as "casual sophisticated," is priced from $80 to $240 and sells at spas, resorts and hotels , she said. Nouvelle's sales jumped 50 percent after last year's trade show, Snodgrass said, pointing out that her three-year-old company is at a "growing stage."
Antonella Carlozzi, president and chief executive of skinForma LLC, was optimistic the show would also help spark sales for her Coconut Creek-based startup, which sells G'skin, a self-adhering, strapless panty for women.
She launched the underwear line online this year and is now seeking to "aggressively" go after retail customers.
Though women's swimwear and accessories are still the most popular at the show, children and men's wear gained "prime positioning" this year, said Stein from SwimShow.
Lines for men and children are "growing significantly," she said, "becoming more of a fashion statement."
Sales for men's swimwear are up 7.9 percent, while women's swimwear increased only 2.1 percent nationwide, according to April 2012 to March 2013 tracking data from retail specialists NPD Group.
Overall, swimwear sales are up 3.1 percent, and sales are at $3.5 billion, according to the New York-based market research firm.
The SwimShow, which kicked off Saturday, overlapped the high-profile Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim organized by IMG Fashion.
SwimShow organizers estimate more than 8,500 people will visit their trade show. This year's exhibition space grew from 250,000 square feet to 400,000 square feet.
"The demand for space at the SwimShow has absolutely skyrocketed, which meant at times we had to turn away new brands that we wanted to include," said Diane Brucks, president of the Swimwear Association of Florida. "This expansion will give more companies a chance to join the show and become one of our members."
The Miami Beach Convention Center is at 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach. The show, with nearly 500 booths exhibiting more than 2,500 lines, is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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