Women's beachwear fashion is a modern phenomenon, developing in the last two centuries, especially as the railway arrived in Europe, and mass tourism became widespread. The beach in particular become a tourist venue, important for healing purposes both for the sea and swimming and, more recently, for the sun and open air. This has been stressed by the desire to contrast the effects of the rise of large cities and Industrialization. It spread around the world becoming a cultural phenomenon and as a result, along with this new outdoor pastime came the need for a stylish garment for the privileged lady.
According to Simmel, the “fashion” is a form of imitation and social equalization, display in a set of styles and trends in women's clothing and accessories that have been developed together with the society mind-set. The role of women is subject of particular attention because of the change of her position in a male-dominated society in which she had to maintain modesty and seriousness in the behaviors and clothing. This aspect, from a sociological point of view, highlights the steps that led to fill the gap between the roles of men and women in society and its customs in new contexts such as leisure and entertainment, especially when seaside amusement was involved.
Alan Corbin’s opinion points out that the seaside tourism was born in the middle of XVIII century. Before that period the coastal landscape was a synonymous of danger, where the natural disaster occurred. The famous philosophers Horace and Seneca thought the sea was a sort of social power which separated the people. Also a lot of Shakespeare's stories about the sea is an emblem of chaotic travels and shipwrecks. In the XVI and XVII centuries France was the cradle of a revolution. In those years there was a changing of perspective of the seaside, starting from the poetry, this element didn’t symbolize something frightful anymore. Indeed, English doctors suggest to the nobles to go to the seaside as a therapy against melancholy and spleen. In the middle of XIX century, Thomas Cook starts to organized collective travel for the English nobles in the Mediterranean places, especially in French riviera and Liguria. Between 1860 and 1914 Nice is one of the most famous place for holiday. The beach becomes a place of human consumption, a way to escape from the city. The development of the trains facilitated this cultural and commercial process. In the beaches the bodies are the most potent cultural symbol because represent cultural identities.
The early 1800s was the beginning of a revolution in swimwear when women flocked to the beaches for seaside recreation using typically black dress, knee-length, puffed-sleeve wool dresses, often featuring a sailor collar. This outfit had the goal of cover all skin to avoid suntan that was the sign of belonging to the social class of common laborers. In that period there were bathing machines, little wood houses on wheels haul by horses, usually located in seaside place where the water was very shallow near the beach. Inside these people undressed were drawn out into deep water in order to let them swimming, and after came back when the bath was finished. By the end of the 19th century there was the need of having swimsuit less burdensome to allow exposure to the sun and for the new popular seaside activities. Despite the only game for women involved jumping through the waves while holding on a rope attached to a buoy. The bikini was introduced in 1946, when two French designers, Louis Reard and Jacob Heim, reinvented the suit female swimsuit divided in two-piece, from the beginning was given the name of 'atome'. Although the belly bottom was still covered, this was an important transformation because this new form of beachwear was accepted. In 1950's women's curves were emphasized together with vivid colors until the 1970s when sexual revolution was in full force letting people show off their bodies. The cultural parameters, increasingly influenced by the media, inspired by the TV series, such as the famous "Baywatch" in 1989 where the high-cut leg become popular, taking as a model of sports looks. Nowadays fashion continues on this track. The swimwear industry is driven by the influences of fashion stylists and the media such as TV, advertising and web.
Thanks to the birth of beachwear fashion, it develops the business in relation to swimwear.
The principal occasion of use is the maritime holiday, where the most used material in the making of swimwear is the Lycra, born in 1958, and with the ability to stretch up to 7 times and then return to the original size. In 1974, the Lycra enters in the market of beachwear. This transformation allowed to replace the swimwear from wet and misshapen clothes, in light garments. Another occasion refers to the use of beachwear in sport. In 2008, it is provided a swimwear with inserts of plastic material with the aim of reducing the friction with the water and improve performance. An example is "Speedo LZR Racer," a swimwear with an ultra-light fabric. The fashion shows are another occasion of use where many brands choose to show their beachwear lines. In this case, the beachwear is decorated to attract attention. An example is the brand Victoria's Secret who devotes entire shows to its sea line.
There are different famous companies and brands (online and offline) that start to produce beachwear in order to satisfy the market demand. Some examples are: Arena, Bikinicolors, Bikinilovers, Calzedonia, Golden Point, Just Cavalli Beachwear, La Perla, Lovable, Parah, Pin-Up Stars, Speedo, Triumph and Yamamay.
Thanks to the development of science, society and new technologies there are innovations. The first concerns the birth of burkinis, created for Muslim women. This is similar to a diving suit made more feminine, so that these women can swim in comfortable clothes that respect their religious faith. Another innovation concerns ecological beach bags, created using recycled sails. Even thong present innovations: from Indonesia comes Paperflop, the first thong made of recyclable and Eco-sustainable materials. Their bottom is made of recycled newspapers and other Eco-friendly materials such as palm roots and husks of coconuts. As for the bikini, the Canadian Franky Shaw has developed a hydrophobic material that repels water. Different is Sponge Suit, designed in California, that is a bikini made with a material that absorbs pollutants: people will use up to 25 times and then it can be recycled. The cost is low and it is safe for those who use it.
Nowadays it is important for companies or privates to sell their products on social platforms. In the past the means of communication were magazines or TV, but now users prefer to use social network, faster and easier with the invention of smartphones and tablets. In fact, those who have at least a profile on one of these platforms, are always increasing day by day. That's why it is essential using social networks, not only to sell products but also for creating a relationship with users with an active participation. This happens in all the market sectors. Now there are not only pages or profiles of the beachwear’s companies, in which the buyer can compare the price, the quality, material and feedback, but also private seller have decided to focus directly on social. In this case, users can purchase with a single click or a comment. In brief, social networks simplify the sale and purchase market in all sectors.