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West S/S 2024 WETSUITS Preview

Retail Buyers Guide:  Wetsuits S/S 2024 Retail Buyer‘s Guide
Brand:  West
Interviewee: Patrick Watin – sales manager

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?

In 2022, there were few deliveries due to the post-covid situation of Asian suppliers.

On the contrary, the year 2023 is strongly impacted by a general overstock of neoprene due to various factors ranging from production delays, the takeover of large structures which led to large destocking, and recurrent overproduction specific to this market.

What are the biggest trends in buying habits nowadays? Buy less often but high end, go for cheap options, wait for sales period…

Wait for sales period definitely!

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?

I think it is a groundswell trend but as usually the market will take care of rationalizing this trend a bit, in my opinion.

Which style are the customer favorites nowadays: fullsuit, short sleeve, springsuit, fancy styles?

Full suits have a wider sales window with the different thicknesses, so in terms of sales volume and turnover, these models represent the largest share. Springsuits only sell out in high summer, and many save money by surfing bare-chested or only with a rash vest especially as the water temperatures get high earlier and earlier.

Which are your key innovations in materials& constructions for SS24?

Quick colors/graphics focus: will wetsuits mimick the surf apparel for SS24 with a comeback of bold colors?

In our opinion, black or dark colors are always the most in demand, and the more we address the hard core of practitioners, the more this is true.

Apart from the material sourcing and production addressed in question #5, do you implement complementary durability campaigns? (partnerships, give-back actions, recycling…)

Since last year, the profession must pay an ecological tax when it does not implement a recycling solution. So in any case, it is no longer a choice but an obligation. And it’s good like that.

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