The classic French swimwear brand Eres has an extensive process for making their coveted swimsuits.
Buying swimwear is quite the ordeal. You have to go through the usually frustrating experience of trying on lots of different suits to find one you like, and then cringe at the price tag for what feels like not a whole lot of fabric. There’s a reason why it’s not something most women look forward to!
But at the same time, when you do find a swimsuit you love, you’ll feel a million times more confident when you’re at the beach or pool, which can be really important since a swimsuit feels very vulnerable to lots of women (myself included). So you want the fit, the color, and the material to be just right. And sometimes that means investing in a more expensive suit.
But when I say an expensive swimsuit, the prices of Eres are probably still higher than you’re imagining. Their cheapest suits are going to be about $350, while the more involved swimwear will cost you closer to $500. That’s a crazy amount of money for a swimsuit! I better look like the illustrious French girl wearing it, right? Why do they love them so much?
Despite costing an arm and a leg, Eres remains very popular with the French girl and will be spotted on all your favorite Parisian influencers come summertime. So I decided to investigate. Is it all hype? What about this suit could possibly make it worth that much money?
The start of the Eres swimsuit all begins with the design. In the design room at Eres, when they first start a sketch they’re very focused on “the architecture of the body,” something you’re definitely going to notice when you try it on. From the beginning, the goal is for the suit to look great on the female figure, and in something as skin-baring and tight fitting as a swimsuit, you want one that’s as flattering as possible.
Next, there’s the fabric. All of the fabrics that Eres uses are made exclusively for the brand. They use both parachute and peau douce. The first is said to dry instantaneously, while the second is a bit thicker, and might take a little longer to dry after you get out of the water.
Once the type of fabric is chosen, color has to be decided upon. The creative team will test “countless nuances of each shade using the studio’s color library.” So if you’re looking for that perfect shade of blue, you might want to check to see if Eres happens to carry what you’re searching for!
And when Eres says “tests,” they mean it. It’s not just a marketing ploy. They have an actual sun machine that’s meant to replicate the sun at noon in Miami so they can test how the fabric performs under the light and heat. Each fabric will be left in the machine for four days before being approved for use. And that four days is essentially the same as if a woman wore her swimsuit every day for a whole year.
The testers then use a scale to test for any fading of color. The slightest variation means it’s back to the drawing board.
After the color tests, the fabric is tested (yes, again), but this time to see if the material was damaged at all during the dying of the fabric. So how does it work? A machine pinches a small piece of the fabric into a dome shape, and to pass it needs to return to its normal shape within the next couple of hours. They also test for elasticity (very important for a swimsuit!).
Now if you’re like me after all these fabric tests, you’re beginning to understand the cost of the swimsuit. But we aren’t nearly done with the process of making the swimsuit yet.
After a fabric has been approved, it will be cut into the patterns used to make the swimsuits before the team makes adjustments on the computer software to get the prototype exactly right. Can you believe we aren’t even in production yet?
Once they make a sample suit, they fit models with different body types so they can make the final adjustments so that the fit is as close to perfect as humanly possible.
Now, the real manufacturing of the swimsuits begins. The fabric is cut into strips. Then a digital map machine is used to ensure that each of the patterns is cut to the exactness they were designed with on the computer software.
Now the fabric is ready to move through the production line. But it’s not a traditional assembly line like you would picture in a factory where each successive step is done in order. The work is specialized based on the skills each seamstress has, not on the next step in the process. So one woman might work exclusively on putting the foam bonnets in the bust so that the coverage of the suit is exactly right, while another does the ruching included on certain Eres designs. For example, Eres suits are known to have flat-felled seams and curved bust darts, which both require a high level of skill from the seamstress.
After the tags are on and you think a suit is done, Eres has a final step. The suits are sent to a station where each article will be inspected for any loose threads that will be removed before they’re sent out to retail.
Seeing as French women are as a rule much more focused on quality when purchasing clothing than American women, I see why an Eres suit is such a coveted item. A minimum price tag of $350 for a swimsuit is still a hard pill to swallow, but for a high quality garment made in France, where employees are being paid fairly and an obscene attention to detail is being taken on each suit, you might find that it’s a worthwhile investment. So the next time you’re wandering around the bathing suit section of a department store, consider grabbing an Eres suit before you head off to the changing room.
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