The swimwear market is globally expected to grow by US $ 6.74 billion during 2020-2024, according to the latest market research report by Technavio. A key driver for this growth is the pull brought in by sustainable swimwear brands. Health consciousness and the growing awareness towards environment is seen to pull the growth of the market, which was earlier a little stunted towards sustainability. However, from the Indian perspective, the sustainable swimwear space is still very nascent and only few brands have entered the market to do their bit.
What’s the reality?
“When E.L swimwear entered this space, we decided that we didn’t want to be just another swimwear brand not being conscious about what we are giving back to the environment. We took inspiration from a lot of sustainable swimwear brands around the world with respect to their conscious decisions and looked up to them. In India, there were already a few newly launched brands that were creating sustainable swimwear and that brought us joy that locally made brands were stepping forward in this criteria. Especially after the onset of the pandemic, being conscious has become a criteria for a lot of consumers. Increasing health consciousness among consumers is a huge factor in market growth, finally making sustainability a fashion trend and thus giving a chance to a lot of brands to be finally able to make a switch to more ethical production means that can benefit our environment in any way possible,” Esha Lal, Founder of Esha Lal Swimwear mentions.
This brand with an effort to make conscious swimwear available to customers on an affordable price tag, uses Carvico Italy fabrics for its swimwear range. “Consumers have begun to buy consciously and they have started to care about their health and the environment. The pandemic has woken the consumer up to more sustainable lifestyle choices. Though there is still a long way to go as a lot still believe in fast fashion. As a brand that started in 2019, we have a long term vision. Most importantly we aim to become a 100 per cent sustainable and ethical brand in the near future and we do that by making conscious decisions as we keep going forward and making changes with respect to our production techniques, fabrics, tags and packaging. We have recently launched Seed Paper Tags that are biodegradable, 100 per cent wood free and made up of waste cotton scraps, making the extremely environmental-friendly,” Esha adds about the efforts the brand is taking.
Esha and her team is gearing up to launch a new line of swimwear that will be made out of recycled fishing nets and another line that will be made from recycled polyester, this year.
Making it work
Shivangini Padhiyar, Co-Founder, The Summer House talking about the market says, “I and Rekha Datla (Co-Founder, The Summer House) started The Summer House in early 2015 and when we did, we didn’t really know what we were doing is called sustainable fashion; we didn’t know there was a term for it. We just wanted to build a brand that followed processes, which were kind to the planet and its people. Right from there to now, sustainability has become a buzzword. This is amazing! There is a lot more awareness, a lot of potential in terms of more people getting to know about it and actually shopping sustainable ware as well. But the exposure to the term has been huge as such in the last 6 years. The global swimwear market is expected to reach US $ 29 billion by 2025. We’d like to think that the sustainable swim market is the same in the sense that ideally we would want everyone who buys swimwear to wear sustainable swimwear and there’s a lot of potential to convert these consumers into sustainable swimwear consumers. Obviously, it’s going to take a long time for it to reach the popularity of regular swimwear but nonetheless the market exists; everyone who buys swimwear can eventually buy sustainable swimwear.”
“Currently, our plan for the brand is to increase awareness and double our reach and hence revenue in the next 12 months. We don’t see ourselves being an offline brand because we believe in smaller inventory management. The way we function right now is all garments are made post we receive an order. Hence, it doesn’t really make sense for us to go offline currently. With the pandemic as the backdrop, we’ve definitely tweaked our design approach; we’re going from a very ‘this or nothing’ approach to a very customer pleasing approach. We realised that everyone is in a different state of mind and they are going to choose as per their mood. Hence we need to be able to cater to the mood of the customer rather than the trend which is on the upswing,” she further adds.
Vivek Agarwal, Founder of OOKIOH mentions that his company saw a 550 per cent growth in 2020 over 2019 and, in 2021, it continues to see 150 per cent growth month-over-month. A hardcore sustainable swimwear brand, this growth story definitely paints a positive picture for the segment.
“Unsurprisingly, we have seen a significant shift in how consumers look at fashion. While the product itself is important, we are witnessing that consumers are drawn to the brand’s story and its views. Customers need to know where the brands stand on critical issues and who the people are behind the brand. It can be both a boon and a curse. Moreover, there have been many new entrants in this niche, and I am glad to see more brands coming in. I do believe that the pie is big enough for everyone, and we all have our unique aesthetic and point of view that we bring to the market. We are currently working on our next collection as well as new product categories for next year. We are present in Urban Outfitters locations in the US and are eyeing retail opportunities in India and Australia,” Vivek explains highlighting a positive picture.
“We don’t believe that there can be a competition with respect to sustainability and we would proudly applaud any brand’s efforts to make their products more conscious. We as a brand are very transparent and believe in the final outcome, which is to safeguard our environment. New brands will always keep emerging and competition will also be there, but the fact that they are consciously made, gives us all a common goal, which is our planet,” Esha says. Taking hint from her, it is time for brands to line-up for this market and innovate to make it sustainable and conscious.