Wholesale launch imminent for aspirational swimwear start-up Away That Day
Menswear industry veteran David Krantz has returned to the fashion sector after a 25-year gap as an investor in sustainable premium women’s swimwear supplier Away That Day, which made its wholesaling debut during London Fashion Week.
The business was founded in London in 2018 by Ingemae Kotze, a former dancer and fashion stylist, who has been selling solely online direct-to-consumer until now. It has shipped to around 80 countries since its launch.
Away That Day was named by Marie Claire magazine as Best Sustainable Swimwear Brand in 2022. It has been featured editorially in Glamour, Condé Nast Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar and You Magazine, and has been worn by Kendall Jenner.
Kotze and Krantz were introduced early in 2020, just before the lockdown struck, and he was so impressed by the South African-born Kotze’s approach and the potential of the brand he bought around 25% of the business in the summer of that year.
Since then Away That Day has doubled its turnover every year and sales are now into seven figures. Initially the goods were made in Bali. Krantz has moved production to a small factory in East London and one in Portugal. He also brought in his long-time associate Jussie Hall, who has overseen the technical details of Kotze’s designs.
Kotze is based in a small studio in Soho with a permanent staff of three, complemented by various freelance specialists for specific projects. Online orders are fulfilled from a warehouse in Essex.
The range has grown to offer bikinis, one-piece swimsuits, sarongs, beach cover-ups and dresses. The business model is to have monthly drops of between three and six new styles. Sizes have been expanded from the original narrow, small range to run from XS to XXXL. Retail prices go from £49 for a bikini to £195 for a swimsuit.
Kotze stresses the sustainability credentials of the brand, which uses fabric from regenerated ocean plastic. A new premium addition is fabric from Pyratex, a Spanish company that produces natural, biobased and recycled compositions. “Of course we will never be perfect, but we are continuously trying to find solutions and a better approach to everything we do,” she said.
Given her styling background, Kotze takes care of the brand’s impressive and extensive visual imagery. The brand’s reputation has been created via social media. Away That Day has 72,500 followers on Instagram and #awaythatday has had 2.8m views on Tik Tok.
The brand is so-named because as a busy stylist Kotze, who turned 31 in May, often had to tell friends she could not meet up as she was “away that day”. Krantz admits initially he disliked the name but very quickly realised its quirkiness was its strength.
The first step into wholesaling will see the brand stocked by Selfridges from October. The store bought from Kotze a year after she had first made contact.
On 15 and 16 September, to coincide with London Fashion Week, Away That Day invited buyers to a pop-up showroom at its studio in Archer Street, Soho. It is also taking a stand at the Splash trade show in Paris on 28-30 September
“We are taking very small steps into wholesaling,” said Krantz. “We will just be interested to meet buyers from premium stores who might like what we do and want to stock us. Then we can have a chat to see how we get on. We already have great sales on the west coast of America and in Australia, so we know we have global appeal."
Wholesale prices will range from about £18 for a bikini to £70 for a one-piece in a premium fabric.
Krantz, who turned 70 in April this year, has brought more than 50 years’ experience to the partnership. He started work with the Take Six chain in London in 1969 and opened his first shop, called Belt Up, in north London in 1971. After a stint as an agent, he set up the preppy-inspired menswear chain Blazer in 1979, selling it to the Storehouse group in 1986. In 1991 he introduced the Racing Green retail concept and sold the business to The Burton Group (later Arcadia) in 1996.
After that he was an early investor in the skincare brand Space NK and also invested in restaurants, a bakery and CBD products. Away That Day marks his first return to his fashion roots.
Main image: Ingemae Katze & David Krantz by Eric Musgrave