Arts & Leisure

By Camille Erika R. Sarte, Reporter

Going beyond itsy-bitsy swim briefs

Posted on February 25, 2013

WHEN THE ENTIRE Australian swim team sported swimwear brand Speedo’s little next-to-nothings in 1956, the brand became legendary. To this day, for many the name “Speedo” refers to any swim briefs, regardless of the maker. But, despite being strongly associated with this iconic scrap of lycra and owing its reputation to it, Speedo is hoping to stretch the brand beyond swim trunks.

Aside from its itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie swim briefs, Speedo is also widely known for its competitive swimming products. Worn by some of the best Olympic swimmers (Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughline and Ryan Lochte, just to name a few) over the last century, the brand has built its reputation by being closely linked to athletic swimming and Olympic winners.

However, in the last five years, the brand has been attempting to establish itself in fashionable active wear. According to the LA Times (, in 2006, it launched an expensive campaign introducing its expanded line of products, which included track jackets, cropped yoga pants, and sexier swimsuits for women.

The brand did not just kick its popular items to the curb -- along with the new line, its swimwear category was also expanded to cater to a new generation of both competitive and leisurely swimmers.

Mayleen H. Valentino, sales and marketing manager of Speedo Philippines, noted that from having two swimwear categories a decade ago in the country, the brand has now four.

From its original Competitive and Swim Fitness categories, Health and Well-Being and Play and Fun has been added to the list. The rise of fast fashion and the demand for more trendy pieces can be attributed to the expansion of categories, she explained.

“We’ve started going into swimwear that is meant for indulging in the beach and relaxing, and not just for training and exercise, which we are mostly known for,” she said, adding, “these are for people who are more interested in water activities and leisurely water play than swimming.”

At the unveiling of its Spring/Summer collection last Thursday, Speedo showcased new styles and a more colorful look, which included competitive and training swimwear.

When it comes to the Competitive and Swim Fitness categories, swimmers used to be more conservative and Speedo’s products for them reflected that, said Ms. Valentino, pointing to the older swimwear styles in black and gray. However, athletes and hard-core swimmers now also want to inject a bit of fun and fashion into their regime.

The competitive collection now boasts of training products in bright and vibrant prints. While there are still classic black suits, the brand has made them more contemporary with the addition of an all-over or paneled sublimated gradient print, and a bit of color here and there.

For the more fashion conscious, more on-trend styles are introduced under Health and Well-being and Play and Fun categories. They offer more feminine styles and functionalities women care about, she told BusinessWorld -- like bust support, adjustable straps, tummy control, and all-over body shaping.

Play and Fun now has a bright, retro inspired range, which boasts of paisley and floral prints; pink, blue, green, yellow, and lilac hues; animal print and purple lining; and, for the more classic-inclined, matte colors.

Different swimwear styles also abounded at the show, going beyong the brand’s popular racerback one-piece swimsuits. Seen were tankinis, boy-leg bikini bottoms, swim dresses, and of course, bikinis.

According to Ms. Valentino, there is a huge demand for more covered swimsuits in Asia, especially the Philippines. Tankinis, boylegs and swimdresses are still a popular choice here.

“Asia is still a bit conservative,” she noted, “Philippine stores also carry Muslimah swimsuits for the more conservative. There are a lot of choices from the brand.”

Meanwhile, while Speedo’s tiny swim briefs for men has still not lost its charm for the brand, they shared the spotlight with different styles of watershorts featuring an Xpress Dry technology, which dries the shorts almost immediately after leaving the water.

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