It’s safe to say that after spending nearly two decades working as a buying manager for South African womenswear retailer Miladys, Hayley Firth knows a thing or two about flattering the female physique. Not to mention, the fitting-room fear that many middle-aged women feel when it comes to shopping for something to wear to the pool or beach. So when she turned 40 and decided to switch careers and start a swimwear line, she had plenty of food for thought.
Since making its market debut in the summer of 2013, Blu-Blu Swimwear has been picked up by independent boutiques throughout the rainbow nation and Firth is hoping a successful showcase at CurveNV@Magic (Feb. 16-18 as part of Magic Marketplace) will give the brand the momentum it needs to launch stateside.
“We have been excited to see our growth double each season,” she shared, adding, “This has given us the confidence to explore new territories outside of South Africa.”
Blu-Blu’s Summer ’16 collection comprises such features as ruching on the front or side panels of suits for subtle tummy control and generous fits, as well as roll tops and overlay frills on bottoms for extra cover. Color themes range from classic combinations of navy and red, monochromatic black and white with pops of cobalt and tribal prints.
“I felt the need to cater for the woman out there who hasn’t got the perfect model figure, needs to flatter her body shape, has perhaps had children so hasn’t got an ‘ironing board’ figure anymore but still wants to feel confident when wearing her swimsuit,” Firth said of the motivation behind launching the line, calling her customer “a confident, classy woman who always looks gorgeous no matter her age.”
Using fabrics made from a blend of nylon and elastane, sourced from South Korea, Vietnam and China, the line is made at a factory in Durban in eastern South Africa that’s been making women’s swimwear for the past 50 years. Wholesale prices range from $50 to $80.
Firth added, “It is trend-right without looking junior, fits her well which imparts confidence and offers her some form of tummy control or figure flattering styling detailing per suit to ensure she walks out looking and feeling her best.”