Draper James Brings Swim Line In-house

Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s fashion and lifestyle brand with a Southern point of view, will launch its first in-house swimwear line Saturday on draperjames.com and in its three freestanding stores in Nashville, Tennessee; Lexington, Kentucky, and The Galleria in Houston.

Four years ago Draper James launched swimwear with Lands’ End, which it did for three years as a collaboration and was available at Lands’ End and Draper James’ stores and websites.

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“We both decided last year it would be the last year of that collaboration. It was great and very successful on all sides, but we knew we should have a presence in the category and bring it in-house and launch our first line ourselves,” said Erin Moennich, chief executive officer of Draper James. “We’re also launching [swim] product under the RSVP line for Kohl’s.”

Moennich said the brand is working with Swim U.S.A., which is an 87-year-old family-owned business, as its supplier.

On Saturday, a 20-piece capsule that features bikinis, one-pieces and cover-ups will launch in the brand’s full size range of XS to 3X. The collection includes awning stripes, florals, gingham and seersucker. There are waist-defining faux-wrap styles, a long-sleeve rash guard, classic triangle halters and adjustable tie-shoulder bandeaus.

Retail prices range from $70 to $128.

A swimsuit from Draper James.
A swimsuit from Draper James.

“We designed it to have something for everyone. They’re all very colorful and optimistic prints in the same spirit of our ready-to-wear in a few different fabrications, and we also have some matching cover-ups so you can have that all-day look,” said Moennich.

She said the line is aimed toward busy women and moms who love color and want that head-to-toe look. “Our swimsuits offer coverage, but they’re still very feminine,” she said.

“We learned so much from Lands’ End. We kept the learnings, but we’ve evolved it. We wanted to try some new bodies that we didn’t have from Lands’ End. But we took inspiration from some of the bestselling styles there. We’ve always done this twisted bodice style which is very feminine and is a favorite of Reese’s and we interpreted that for this line as well,” she said.

A look from Draper James
A look from Draper James

Asked about current Draper James business, Moennich said, “Business is good. We’re definitely seeing improved momentum going into spring. Spring is a huge moment for us with our prints and bright colors, it’s always a very important season for us.” She said the swimwear shares some of the ready-to-wear prints.

Draper James’s ready-to-wear collection is sold in Belk, Zappos and Stitch Fix.

As for new categories, Draper James will be launching pet products with Foggy Dog in the fall, and is looking to expand its Mommy and Me assortment.

In addition to ready-to-wear, Draper James has such categories as handbags, shoes, jewelry, hair accessories, and a new sport line, which launched in January and is doing very well, said Moennich.

She said a new swim line will be introduced annually, and the brand has already started working on next spring and summer. “We definitely see this as an ongoing business,” she said.

As for Witherspoon’s involvement, Moennich said, “She loves the category. We worked with her very closely on the Lands’ End products for years. We took some of her inspiration on cover-ups and what she wanted to see on our line. She was very involved.”

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