This article originally appeared in the June print issue of LOCALE Magazine.
Co-Owner Elizabeth Southwood Discusses Swimwear Trends
Expert: Elizabeth Southwood
Credentials: Co-Owner of Sauvage Swimwear
Q: Tell me about how you got your start in the swimwear industry.
Elizabeth Southwood: It was quite by accident, really! I was making things for other people and started making swimsuits for friends. My partner decided he would take the pieces and start selling them. We started in our garage; it was a very small start.
Q: Who is Sauvage’s ideal consumer?
ES: Anybody who wants to look more fashionable by the pool or beach. Our consumer is someone special, someone with confidence.
Q: Tell me about your day-to-day.
ES: I am actually starting to prepare for next season already. I’m working to cut samples and organize that collection. It will all be presented in Miami in July. We’re a full year ahead in this industry! Typically, I work with quality control and design. I make sure everything looks great and fits great. Simon [Southwood] is more on the business end.
Q: What are you most passionate about with Sauvage? What inspires you?
ES: Definitely the design aspect. I like seeing the process from start to finish. I love seeing the final result on someone; it’s a great feeling when it looks and fits great as a final product. I really am inspired by everything—travel and colors. We do a lot of research too on the web to gauge the mood in the fashion industry. We like to give our swimwear a fashion edge.
Q: Tell me a little bit about Sauvage’s storefront. Why La Jolla?
ES: La Jolla is the more high-end area of San Diego. It’s a nice community where people are always walking around outside. It’s important for them to look good. Our space is quite minimal; it was designed by Graham Downs. It has white porcelain floors, very spare details and stainless steel grillwork on the walls to hang our suits. It’s very chic.
Q: How do you want customers to feel wearing your line?
ES: I want them to feel confident and happy. The suits flatter bodies, and it’s a good feeling. It shows when you try the suits on.
Q: How do you want Sauvage to shape the swimwear industry?
ES: I want to lead the industry towards fashion—elevate swimwear to fashion. We just finished a huge velvet collection, which is just taking off. It’s a luxurious fabric that you can swim in. It comes from Italy and is very high fashion right now. We also have been working on layered swimsuits and coverups, as well as great one pieces that girls can wear with jeans to look like a bodysuit.