With sales increasing year on year, swimwear and goggle guru Aqua Sphere is fast becoming a must-have brand amongst fitness swimmers for its high-comfort high-innovation technology. Set to unveil its most eye-catching range of fitness swimwear so far in February, we spoke to Lindsey Taylor, Swimwear Product Manager, and asked her to explain the evolution process behind each new collection.
For starters, how early does your team start working on a new swimwear collection?
“We start working on each new season two years ahead of time. Across the Design Team we are all really keen swimmers and this includes lap swimmers, aqua aerobics enthusiasts, aqua biking fiends (yes really!) and triathletes. We absolutely live and breathe swimming and this really helps us to understand what makes a great piece of swimwear – and what doesn't!”
How important is the world of fashion in your evolution process?
“At the forefront of our minds, we always take into account that each piece of swimwear must be functional. Great performance, fit and comfort are absolute essentials and we want our customers to feel the very best they can in the water. Only by feeling great can you begin to maximise on your swimming enjoyment and performance. That said, we also understand it’s important for people to look good too – why not?! - so we have worked hard to develop a strong visual identity for Aqua Sphere’s swimwear range and have positioned ourselves as the brand of colour. We love playing with colour and believe it’s integral to our lives. Before we start working on each collection we do a lot of research into colour trends, fashion trends and even lifestyle trends. Their influences are all deeply interwoven. For example, when the economy takes a downward turn, you often find that fashion becomes more colourful to offset the gloom. We value all of these influences and consult with all the top fashion gurus who work with the iconic global fashion brands to understand what is hot for the coming seasons. We then take several trends, play with them and integrate them into our swimwear, ensuring that our customers have a wide range of design choices in terms of shape, cut and pattern.”
How important is new fabric technology?
“ New fabric innovation is vitally important because it can deliver fantastic feel-good benefits to the regular swimmer. Who doesn’t appreciate a hardwearing chlorine resistant swimsuit if you are swimming twice a week? Who doesn’t love a fast drying garment when you are rushing from the pool to work? As well as our own in-house R&D, we are constantly in touch with other fields - including other sports, medical and scientific arenas - to understand what is happening in their markets and to see if any new developments beyond the pool can be of benefit to our swimmers. There is always great excitement in the office when we discover a new innovation that we know will bring a swimmer a new level of comfort and performance!”
So once it’s designed, how is each individual garment developed and tested?
“ Since the Aqua Sphere philosophy is to marry performance with style, we spend a lot of time working on the fit. For every new material and every new pattern cut, we involve top competitive swimmers, everyday fitness swimmers and our own team (we are often our own biggest critic!) and the fit is thoroughly scrutinised across the board. Each garment has to feel good so it is rigorously fit tested and swim tested. After we are satisfied, we can really have fun with styling and colour to ensure a great looking garment. We love working with different materials and different patterns to evolve a collection which is fresh and different, with something for everyone, whatever their needs, but is of the highest possible quality.”
Which collection are you working on at the moment and can you give us any hints about future technologies and fashion trends?
“We have just finished working on Spring Summer 2016. I can’t reveal too much for obvious reasons but, since everyone is understandably fed up with the slow moving global economic downturn, we are working hard to develop a really colourful and fun range to bring vivid pops of colour ( and hopefully a splash of optimism! ) into people’s lives. In addition, concern for our planet and a strong focus on environmental issues is especially starting to influence manufacturing and textiles and a global conversation is building about the importance of recycling post-consumer products to create entirely new materials, the like of which we haven’t seen before. Very exciting! In addition, the way that materials are being manufactured to reduce energy usage and water wastage will have an increasing effect on the end-product and we believe this will be a catalyst for a raft of exciting new garments beyond 2016.”
So what does Aqua Sphere have in store for swimmers from this February?
“ Wow - Aqua Sphere Spring Summer 2015 is in stark contrast to the doom and gloom of the economy! We have integrated the hottest colour trends for the season and introduced pops of the brightest pinks and blues, turquoises and yellows which are very strong stories for this season. With something for everyone, active female swimmers are sure to appreciate the body shaping geometric design of the Koa one-piece which showcases sizzling pinks, reds, electric blue, sea green and yellow within an athletic silhouette. Engineered in our proprietary Aqua X Cell maximum muscle compression fabric which aids performance and recovery, the Koa is great for frequent swimmers as it offers high-stretch chlorine-resistance. Or if you wish to make an elegant statement with echoes of the glamorous luxury of Monte Carlo, our stunning Abby presents a classic dark silhouette with integral bust support and body shaping panels which are beautifully enhanced by a slender ribbon of the season’s coolest pinks and red, purples or sea green. Once again, the much admired long lasting properties of our Aqua Infinity fabric make this a perfect choice for the regular active swimmer. Another big global fashion theme from February is shimmering underwater prints – so you can imagine how much fun we had creating fish scale prints reminiscent of mermaids! Our head turning Casbah one-piece blends iridescent electric blue and sea green in a fish scale print which reminds us of the underwater fantasy world of Atlantis, and it does this alongside the long lasting chlorine resistant properties of Aqua Infinity fabric. Show stopping looks with an enduring soul - this mermaid is going to live a long life! Last year we launched a revolutionary line of Aqua Light water repellent swimwear — the first ever collection of water repellent suits made specifically for fitness and recreational swimmers – which retains less water and dries six times faster than traditional fabrics, making the transition to life outside the pool markedly more comfortable and hassle-free. The Aqua Light collection was very well received and we have now extended this range for 2015, introducing striking bursts of colour. For Aqua Sphere, it’s all about pushing technology to the limits to deliver the best possible performance and then encasing it in a really desirable wrapper. Now - who doesn’t want that ?”
Check out the Aqua Sphere SS15 collection from February. Follow Aqua Sphere on facebook.com/aquasphereuk, visit www.aquasphereswim.com and shop from the range now at simplyswim.com.