17 June, 2015
Reset Priority is a baby in the swimwear fashion sector but is already present in the US and Paris and has just launched its second collection on the market.
Undertaking a business venture is a challenge and doing so in the swimwear fashion sector involves added obstacles, the most important being the seasonal nature of the product. In the middle of sales season, designer Esther Milano explains Reset Priority’s strategy for upholding good sales levels year-round and the features of this label which has just entered the fashion market. “One of our priorities now is to continue to gain ground in the US and Central America to tackle the seasonal nature of our business. In two years from now we would like to have achieved a good position and be releasing two collections per year – one in summer and the other in winter. The latter would be the Resort collection, designed particularly for cruises in the opposite hemisphere. We are also working on the Beach Wear line of pieces to wear outside of the water”.
The first designs from the Resort collection will hit the stores in September and be presented at SwimShow in Miami in July, the world’s largest swimwear fashion trade show that draws together over 2,500 sector firms. Reset Priority will show there for the second time, following on from last year, when, Milano says, the designs proved popular with the public. “If you’re going into the US you have to present something different to what they already know. They want to see new styles and designs and if you have them, they will welcome you with open arms”.
The Reset Priority collection, which can be seen in the firm’s 12 retail outlets in Spain and abroad this summer, featured on the Miami runway last year. It was an eco-friendly selection boasting neoprene as the basis for the bikinis. “We weren’t the first to use it in the US but we were the first here, and we gave them a really unusual finish with metallic pigments that delivered a gorgeous and unique play of lights. If you have a style that is different you can attract the American customer,” the designer underlines.
Putting their soul into the patterns
Besides the materials, patterns are another of the firm’s strengths. Although the company has a microstructure of just three people, they are committed to designing the patterns themselves before commissioning production to fabric suppliers. “I don’t think all labels work like that. We want a premium firm both in terms of quality and product identity. We want it to be recognisable and different. To do that, we reflect our visión in the patterns; they are a very important part of the product”.
That’s why the Reset Priority team includes a graphic designer and the planning necessarily involves more production time, as Milano explains. “It winds up being a fairly long process, to which you have to add the design and the different test runs with the pattern-makers until we get the result we are after. We run many tests with each piece of fabric and do the pattern-designing by hand to get the result we are looking for”.
The end of the sales season of the next Reset Priority collection will take place in Paris in October at the Mode City trade show. “This is the showcase for promoting our work in Europe. However, we are also starting to work with a showroom in London which can help establish the label in the UK and Ireland. We are looking to international markets with more potential, but without ignoring Spain, because that is a very large market”.
Indeed, Reset Priority plans to produce part of its collection in Catalonia. It initially started working with suppliers from Italy and says they “worked very well”. But the need for more control over the production process led the firm to reconsider its supplier strategy. It is now seeking local textile companies that specialise in swimwear. “We want to manage growth better, which is why we want local production. Here there is a longstanding tradition of swimwear workshops, and customers also place a great deal of value on local production. Italy and Barcelona both offer very good finishes and qualities but we also have to know how to explain this commitment of ours to the customer, because it is reflected in the end price of the product”.
They are currently making the last samples with the Italian firms that Esther Milano met through her family’s relationship with the fashion sector. “These producers worked for firms like Versace and thanks to my mother’s family’s atelier in Italy, where the fabrics were sold, I was able to contact them”.
Despite this family background, Milano did not have any direct relationship with the fashion world prior to creating Reset Priority. She had experienced the sector from close quarters, but originally trained in international marketing. When she arrived in Barcelona, she went back to school and this time around chose fashion design, studying at the Felicidad Duce fashion school while also working. And her passion for swimwear came about after analysing the different sector labels in Europe and realising there was room for quality swimwear with unique designs like the ones she presents with Reset Priority. “It might seem like I made a huge life change, but the fact is that fashion had always been a part of me through my family. Barcelona’s creativity, the number of designers and artists who live here, encouraged me to study what I really wanted to do,” she confesses.
She didn’t choose the best time economically to launch her company, doing so in 2013 in the middle of a still very incipient recovery. But she says that as she didn’t know what starting a business in a period of growth and strong demand involved she didn’t realise the added difficulties she would face. “Maybe it would have been easier if I’d chosen a
different period in time,” she says.
Although growing on new markets and expanding product lines is a priority for Reset Priorty, its creator has no doubt that the firm will run up against limits within swimwear fashion and that from now on it is important to shore up the label’s values and identity. “That is the most important thing. We have to achieve a linear nature and for the brand to evolve correctly year-in year-out. The objective is to ensure a well-defined style”. Reset Priority’s immediate future projects also include diverse collaborations which are currently being negotiated with different fashion firms to take on their swimwear lines. “Swimwear fashion is greatly appreciated by other brands because it is not an easy thing to introduce. Collaborations benefit both parties. We get visibility and they get products. We are already working with these labels and people are going to hear a lot about it because there is still a lot of ground we can cover!” the designer says enthusiastically.