After the delivery delays and poor sell-in of last summer, was 2022 a bad year for spring-summer wetsuits? And how is 2023 doing so far?
Fortunately, Ride Engine experienced a stroke of luck. We made the decision to refrain from altering our production schedule before the raw material and production crisis occurred, resulting in delayed deliveries that later turned into an excess. Consequently, we were able to provide products when others faced shortages, and we were fortunate to effectively manage our inventory. Moreover, as a relatively new brand in the wetsuit industry, we possessed the agility to respond swiftly to market dynamics.
What are the biggest trends in buying habits nowadays?
Buy less often but high end, go for cheap options, wait for sales period…Certainly, there is a noticeable divergence in customer purchasing behavior. The high-end premium segment, where Ride Engine resides, remains robust. These customers prioritize quality and are willing to invest in the best products available. Conversely, at the opposite end of the spectrum, we encounter budget-conscious shoppers who are primarily motivated by finding the lowest possible prices. Currently, the middle price range seems to be in a state of flux and uncertainty, resembling a “no man’s land” in the market.
The women category has energized summer wetsuit designs with the outbreak of multiple silhouettes (long jane, short john, wetsuit pants, etc.). Is this just a Insta fad or groundswell trend?
Absolutely, in our view, this is far from being a passing trend. Women are actively seeking performance-oriented wetsuit options, just as men do. The undeniable functionality of these suits leads us to believe that they are a permanent fixture in the market.
Which style are the customer favorites nowadays: fullsuit, short sleeve, springsuit, fancy styles?
Full suits are undeniably the cornerstone of every wetsuit brand, with spring suits firmly securing the second position. However, we’re observing spring suits gradually gaining more traction in consumers’ wetsuit collections. It’s not just about combatting the chill anymore; these suits are becoming versatile options for warmer conditions, offering UV protection alongside their traditional purpose.
Which are your key innovations in materials& constructions for SS24?
We take great pride in crafting our wetsuits using top-tier materials and construction techniques. In our Onsen full suit collection for both men and women, we exclusively utilize 100% Yamamoto #40 neoprene throughout the entire suit. We don’t mix grades, such as incorporating Yamamoto #39 in the lower torso and legs. Our philosophy is that the exceptional qualities of the highest-grade material should be consistently applied across the entire suit. Furthermore, we’ve adopted what we consider to be the most dependable seam construction method for our full suits, which involves a combination of gluing and blind stitching, complemented by strategic taping that varies based on thickness. For our spring suits, we are committed to using the highest grade of environmentally sustainable neoprene and liners, aligning with our dedication to quality and environmental responsibility.
Quick colors/graphics focus: will wetsuits mimick the surf apparel for SS24 with a comeback of bold colors?
We focus on performance rather than fashion in wetsuits. Thus, our collection currently is based on black. That said we do see that there are customers that like to be bold and stand out, or for women prints will always trend.
Apart from the material sourcing and production addressed in question #5, do you implement complementary durability campaigns? (partnerships, give-back actions, recycling…)
Our primary focus revolves around durability and sustainability through recycling. While materials that biodegrade over time are available, we believe that this approach can inadvertently encourage products to end up in landfills after their useful lifespan. Our commitment is to create wetsuits with extended usability, ensuring they have a longer lifecycle and can ultimately be repurposed through recycling into valuable products.
Onsen Mens and womens full suit line: We are proud of our Onsen range of wetsuits for men and women. Being constructed out of 100% Yamamoto neoprene and the use of proven and trusted glue and blind stitched panel connections we have developed what we believe to be the lightest, warmest and longest lasting wetsuit available today
Sensor Mens and womens full suit line: The Sensor range of warm water suits are based around pure functionality and performance. These sustainably built wetsuits cut the chill and cut the UV exposure for long days on the water.