Swimwear Manufacturing: Everything you need to know

There are two main components of Swimwear manufacturing. The design process and the actual manufacturing process. Despite being such a small and simple garment, swimwear can be a highly technical garment to work with right from swimwear fabrics, patterns, design, techniques, cuts, silhouettes, manufacturing, finishing, hygiene, etc. Let us see how to simplify Swimwear manufacturing, To discuss in detail swimwear manufacturing, sourcing, buying or designing, contact us.

MARKET RESEARCH

In order to have a successful business model that sustains over a long period of time, It is important to understand the whys of it. Why are you designing them? Why would the clients like them? And to understand how to answer your whys, it is important to study and understand the target market. 

  • Who are you selling to? 
  • What do they like?
  • What is their lifestyle like?
  • What problems do they face?
  • What are their expectations with swimwear?
  • What is their expendable income?

Market research can be done in various ways, it all depends on the approach you would like to take and the approach your target market might appreciate. You can do surveys, use social media, talk to people, discuss on online forums, etc to understand what would form the base of your new collection. Let’s assume, your initial brand idea was to make include swimwear products, then you would survey people who come under this category and understand their preferences and priorities, which would help you to set your price points and to list down your market competitors.

DESIGN RESEARCH

Once you have a clear idea of your target market, your design research becomes more efficient.

Understanding what your competitors are serving in terms of categories, styles, sizes, colors, design options, services, etc can help you get some clarity about how you want to proceed. Also, you have to keep the season and year you’re catering to. Look at what’s trending, do some fashion trend forecasts, get some industry insights, understand the latest improvements in your category. Start noting down your ideas and start making rough sketches. If you need help with understanding the market and swimwear design trends, Deepwear can offer experienced industry insights and offer consultation and design services.

FABRIC SOURCING

One of the biggest distinctions between swimwear and regular apparel or lingerie is the fabric. Swimwear fabrics can be pretty technical and difficult to finalize. Usually, the biggest requirement for swimwear fabrics is their shape retention. Swimwear fabrics must be filtered down by considering various factors like comfort, weight, stretch, durability, quick-drying, fiber content, elasticity, etc.

It is important to understand what your needs with your swimwear are. Do you want to make professional swimwear costumes? Swimwear for people who swim a lot and intensely? Or for people who like to lounge and tan? Because if they are swimming more, the fabrics must be resistant to saltwater and chlorinated water, but if they are people who love to lounge/tan, the fabrics must not fade away after exposure to sunlight. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SOURCING SWIMWEAR FABRICS

STRETCH: Swimwear demands the fabric to stretch across the body both horizontally and vertically, so finding a 4-way stretchable textile is important. This is also important for linings as well.

RESILIENCY: This property of swimwear ensure how well and how long can a fabric last i.e quality and durability. Cheap or bad swimwear fabrics start losing shape after one or two years, but with a higher recovery rate or resiliency, the fabric stretches well but gets back to its original state after each use.

SWIMWEAR FABRICS

NYLON: Polyamide or Nylon is most commonly found in Swimwear pieces. The property that makes Nylon a great choice as a swimwear fabric is its ability to resist water and dry quickly. Swimwear pieces made with Nylon are extremely comfortable and flattering. With the right blends, the fabric can be stretchy and figure-hugging, which is a desirable quality with respect to swimwear. The subtle gloss and sheen associated with Nylon are interesting to work with.

POLYESTER: Polyester is well known for its soft feel, comfort, durability, water resistance, and quick-drying tendencies. It also has an innate resistance to UV rays and also does not get easily affected by Chlorine. Not just for proper swimwear, but Nylon is great for any garment that is worn by the pool or at the beach. 

ELASTANE: You must have heard of various materials like Lycra or Spandex being mentioned while discussing swimwear fabric compositions, but the general, specific name of that material is Elastane. It is a completely synthetic material made up of a chemical compound called Polyurethane. This material can help with the elasticity of swimwear materials, as well as for trims, etc. 

POLYBUTYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PBT): PBT is a plastic compound that has stretchy properties. It has a comparatively stiffer feel with a light and soft touch. This material when rightly treated with a dull or matte finish can move without resistance in the water and hence is an excellent choice for Competitive swimwear pieces.

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS:

It is difficult to efficiently incorporate sustainability in swimwear. Good swimwear fabrics mostly have a synthetic composition to make them more durable, water-resistant, chlorine resistant, etc. One way to incorporate sustainability is by using recycled materials like recycled polyester. But even then is not 100% sustainable, but at least it’s a start. Sustainable swimwear fabrics are rare to find, but not impossible.

COTTON: Before the invention of these above-mentioned synthetic compounds, natural fabrics like cotton or wool were used to make swimwear products. While cotton is comfortable, soft, lightweight, it is still not one of the most ideal swimwear fabrics because of its ability to retain moisture. This makes the swimwear extremely heavy when wet. Cotton is still a great option for resort/leisurewear, cover-ups, sarongs, etc, but not the most ideal for Swimwear.

HEMP: A hemp is a great option for sustainable swimwear fabrics. Hemp is in fact much more sustainable compared to most natural fabrics. It is durable, strong, and resistant to UV rays. It is pest resistant and does not leak out any toxins or microplastics into the water. 

ECO-NYL: Econyl is a sustainable option for brands who prefer a nylon base for their swimwear production. It takes Nylon from landfills and upcycles them into new products. Despite this, the quality and properties of Nylon are pretty much retained. The unique part of recycling Nylon is probably the fact that it can be recycled infinitely if constructed correctly.

REPREVE: Repreve is a fabric that has been made from recycled PET bottles. Even though it is synthetic, the fact that it is recycled makes it a comparatively eco-friendly swimwear fabric. It is definitely much better than letting those PET bottles stay in the landfills. It contributes to a sustainable lifestyle since it reduces the usage of additional petroleum products and aims on circulating pre-existing ones. 

There are certain limitations in terms of sustainable swimwear. When using plastic-based synthetics, there is always the possibility of tiny particles of microplastics leaking into the water. These particles are eroded during washing too. Even when you use natural fabrics, somewhere along the way you have to compromise on the performance because no matter how much you try, they cannot mimic the synthesized compound, which is why recycled plastic and polyester fabrics have gained popularity. 

The concept is simple, rather than depleting more resources like petroleum, it is comparatively better to remake products out of existing plastic rather than virgin plastic. Recycled synthetic compounds have their limitations too. Firstly the scalability of these materials is very low, it’s easier for smaller startups and establishments to adopt these materials, but large-scale adoption is still a little difficult. Currently, there aren’t many facilities that specialize in recycling recycled fabrics. So in reality, you are extending the lifestyle, but not avoiding the imminent landfall. 

Another way of being sustainable is by incorporating natural materials like cotton wherever possible, like cover-ups, scarves, etc. Ethically sourcing swimwear and making swimwear manufacturing transparent are some of the most sustainable things you can do. As we said sustainability is a complex concept with swimwear, it’s all on you which aspect of sustainability you would like to focus on, after all, doing something is so much better than doing nothing.

SWIMWEAR TRIMS

Swimwear trims are an important aspect of swimwear design and production. Most people put so much thought and research into choosing the right and most efficient swimwear fabrics, but fail to understand that trims contribute majorly to the efficiency of the garment. Not using the right water-resistant, chlorine-resistant, or corrosion-free trims can lead to less durability and comfort.

LINING:  It is always a good idea to add lining to your swimwear fabrics since they can get a little transparent or can stick to your body when wet. It is important to pick a fabric that matches well with the shell fabric. If the outer fabric is extremely stretchy, it wouldn’t be advisable to choose a non-stretchy fabric for the lining, this can end up with your garment getting distorted or really uncomfortable to use. Or it can simply negate all the properties you wanted to highlight in your main material. Mostly a power mesh is used commonly as swimwear lining.

ELASTIC: Mostly elastics of ⅜” and ¾” are used for most swimwear, Wider elastics are used at the waist for swim trunks. Just like every other component, it is important to check the durability, water resistance, Chlorine resistance, etc. Usually, a specific rubber-based elastic that doesn’t react with Chlorine is used for Swimwear.

BONING: Although it is not compulsory, most good swimsuits have some sort of additional structure in-built, be it underwires, boning, stays, etc. Boning on the sideseam gives a better structure to the garment and ensures it stays the same and does not buckle up from the sides. 

TECHNICAL DESIGNS

Having a good technical specification sheet is extremely important since swimwear is a category where one small mistake or miscommunication can compromise the entire garment’s fit and fall. The tech pack must have all possible information required for the factory or manufacturer to know exactly what to do. This includes details like fabrics, design details, measurements, trims, prints and colors, seams and stitch lines, trims, labels, tags, packaging and folding instructions, size grading, etc.

It also is a reference point to check with during quality control to compare the initial design and the sample. It also ensures that the margin of error is small and that quality is consistent. To get help with creating error-free and detailed tech packs, contact us.  

SOURCING SWIMWEAR FACTORIES

It is vital to think about a few things before finding manufacturers for swimwear. The first thing to decide is where would you like to manufacture your products. Would you like to produce your products overseas, or would you like to contact domestic manufacturers? 

Overseas suppliers can be affordable, but having a contactless long-distance relationship with your supplier only supported by calls can be difficult. The margin of miscommunication and information being lost in translation is really high. 

To make Overseas work, you will have to be very clear about your goals, quality requirements, timelines, etc with the supplier. You will also have to set up a clear medium of communication, But being on the ground can be the best thing you can do to avoid getting scammed. Deepwear can help you with all your Overseas manufacturing endeavors as we have our exclusive teams in most of the prominent swimwear production countries like China, Portugal, Thailand, etc. 

Working with domestic manufacturers can be easy in terms of communication, but the options will be limited since you will be restricted to whatever is available in that particular geographical location. There are advantages and disadvantages of both, and this totally depends on what your goals and needs are.

One piece of advice we can give is to avoid producing in Bali. Bali manufacturers and suppliers attract a lot of Instagram brands, but it is not the most ideal place to produce due to the lack of efficient infrastructure, Import of raw materials, etc. In fact, our office in Bali helps brands who have started manufacturing in Bali to shift their manufacturing process to other countries like Thailand, China, Portugal, Turkey, or Vietnam with minimal losses. 

PRICING

Price of your product depends on various factors like desired quality, fabrics, trims, order quantities, customizations, etc. The more complex your design is, the higher the price gets. Custom elements like buttons, pins can add up to the price of the product. On average, swimwear production can range from $9 to $20 per piece, and you can obviously go higher or lower depending on your preferences. If you plan on adding custom gemstones or premium materials can escalate the price.

 MINIMUM ORDER QUANTITIES

Almost all factories have a minimum number of products they can produce. This means that your order quantity cannot be smaller than that, although in most cases this number is negotiable depending on the type of order, designs, etc. It is important to take note of this number and be sure about what range are you comfortable with. It is an established fact that the higher your order quantity, the lower the price would be and vice versa. At Deepwear we advise to produce around 300 pc per style as to get good conditions but we can go lower and higher depending on your preferences.

CATEGORIES AND CAPABILITIES

Not all factories can produce all categories well. Some factories have specialties they can produce the best. For example, one factory can be great at producing women’s swimsuits, whereas another can be good at producing swim trunks, there can also be swimwear manufacturers that can do both. You should be clear about what you want to produce, which can help in shortlisting the factories. Another thing to check is what all techniques can the factory work with, some factories have in-house embroidery facilities or printing facilities, whereas some others get them outsourced. 

With Deepwear you can source factories that can cater to your specific needs like MOQs, fabric types, techniques, location, timeline, etc as well as other social requirements like sustainability, ethical swimwear manufacturing, etc. We can establish clear lines of communication with the factories and can help you stick to your plans. To know more about Deepwear’s sourcing services, click here.

swimwear manufacturers

SWIMWEAR MANUFACTURING AND QUALITY CONTROL

Once the techpacks, and factory sourcing is done, Swimwear manufacturing can commence. First, a prototype is made and the aim of making the prototype before commencing full production is to check if the product matches your designs or changes are required. This is one of the most important stages since this is where you can correct things. 
Doing a thorough check during this stage is important. Having someone physically check every stitch, every measurement, fabric quality, etc is indispensable but can be difficult with overseas suppliers. This is where Deepwear can help you. To know more about Deepwear’s detailed quality check and manufacturing services click here.

WHITE LABELLING

Many factories have pre-made collections with no branding or labels that can be purchased by fashion brands. These collections can then have small customizations and can be rebranded to fit the brand’s direction and aesthetics. This is called White labeling. If you are looking for White label options and private label swimwear manufacturers, Deepwear can help you create a great and cohesive collection keeping all your requirements and needs in mind. Send us your requirements and book a consultation today.

BRANDING AND PACKAGING

Swimwear branding and Packaging are just as important as the whole production process because this is what ensures that all the hard work and effort gets translated and conveyed to the clients. You can also extend your inspiration to custom packaging elements. Whether you prefer natural packaging options, sustainable options, reusable options, biodegradable options, etc Deepwear can help you. We have in-house graphic designers who can design packaging for you. We can also help with designing and producing tags and labels for your products. To know more about branding and packaging, send us your queries at enquire@deepwear.info

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