Thursday, November 20, 2008

Swim Fashion Week (eventually) launched in Sydney

Late Tuesday night frockwriter mentioned that IMG was about to announce a new swimwear dedicated showcase to run February 25-28 2009 at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast. IMG’s local division had in fact, as it later emerged, flown up to Sanctuary Cove on Tuesday to stage a full press conference. To which only the local press was alerted - a full two days before announcing the event to the rest of the Australian media. And notably, the fashion media. This is curious because once this event is up and running, IMG FASHION Asia Pacific md Simon Lock (pictured below) will presumably be hoping to generate national, and also international, coverage – and at a time when there’s plenty of competition for media space from the Fall/Winter 2009-2010 European collections, which will be underway. Today's press call was staged at Jackie’s Café in Paddington.

On deck were Nicky and Simone Zimmermann and two Chadwicks models in Zimmermann’s latest swim collection (pictured at the top of the post).

Great to chat to the Zimmermanns, as usual. For a recent story in WWD, Nicky Zimmermann told me that in spite of the tough economic climate, which has witnessed at least one local fashion chain on the brink of closure, her company has been doing “Christmas figures”.

We will talk more about this next Wednesday at the FGI panel discussion.

As for Swim Fashion Week, it sounds like a great idea, provided everyone is happy to trek to Sanctuary Cove to see the season’s swim collections.

February is when swimwear manufacturers present their main summer ranges, so the timing certainly makes sense. IMG is also hoping to tap into the burgeoning Asia Pacific resort market.

IMG and Sanctuary Cove will no doubt pull out all the stops to ensure maximum eye candy for the inaugural event.

Lock was talking about A$8million mansions and superyachts being thrown open for events and parties. Sanctuary Cove is a beautiful location and vis-a-vis Australian newsrooms, it’s hard to go wrong with a bunch of beautiful women in swimsuits.

Beyond shining a spotlight on swimwear, the event will also undoubtedly be a tremendous new opportunity for the local modelling industry.

chadwick's hope watson (L) and trine nielsen stop glenmore rd traffic

But let's just clarify one thing here which so far appears to have been overlooked in the face of IMG’s marketing muscle.

In a press release, IMG refers to the “heritage” of its Miami swimwear showcase, which is staged in July. The company hopes that the Gold Coast event might match the latter's success.

As reported by The Gold Coast News, Swim Fashion Week:
“would be a southern sister event to IMG Fashion's successful Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami, Florida, which has a huge following among fashion circles in the northern hemisphere”.

Yes, Miami is the world epicentre of swimwear.

Miami is the backdrop for a very well established event called the SwimShow which takes place each July.

SwimShow is the biggest swimwear trade show in the world and is operated not by IMG, but the 26 year-old Swimwear Association of Florida.

Staged at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the event claims to attract 350 exhibitors, 2000 swimwear lines, 2000 buyers from the US alone - and other buyers from an additional 46 markets. Many Australian swimwear designers/manufacturers have either participated in the show or attended it. Zimmermann has taken part for 12 years.

Concurrent to the SwimShow, IMG operates a much younger, smaller showcase of runway collections at Miami's Raleigh Hotel called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim.

This year there were 16 shows – including Zimmermann.

How would IMG’s Miami event stack up on its own without the juggernaut of the SwimShow taking place behind it? That's a hypothetical obviously.

Australia’s Swim Fashion Week is due to have a trade show component, however it’s worth remembering that IMG’s forte thus far in Australia has been with high-glamour runway showcases, as opposed to traditional trade shows. The Source trade show which is attached to Australian Fashion Week, is a very small component of the event.

According to Lock, the Swim Fashion Week runway shows – four a day – are most likely to take place at night, with the day reserved for showroom appointments.

On site, IMG will build a large showroom, boasting, according to the release:

“world-class state-of-the-art staging, lighting and audio-visual display, alongside a fully-equipped media pit and onsite media centre, delegate registration area, designer and sponsor exhibition spaces and VIP bar”.

But Zimmermann and co certainly seem very excited about it so that’s a good sign.


Leah Madden said...

I'm one local designer keen to show. I expect it will be great for Australian designers, as Miami is a really long way away, and a huge expence for emerging designers. Our selling seasons are opposite, so to have a local show will be great!
Leah Madden
White Sands Australia

marian said...

The photographer Chris Pavlich is looking like he has his card full in your pic LOL.
Are you going PP ?

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