Former Kate Spade Designer Launches Swimwear Brand Change of Scenery – WWD

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Former Kate Spade designer Jamie Banks was looking for a change of scenery when she quit ready-to-wearar brand and dove into the swimwear market.

What she came up with was an assortment of sexy but still practical swimsuits.

Change of Scenery swimwear includes a selection of one-pieces and bikinis.
Photo courtesy Shaye Babb

“None of my friends could find swimwear that was a bit sexy and cool, but tasteful and appropriate for pool moms and all of our kids hanging out with us,” Banks, founder and CEO of swimwear based in New York brand Change of Scenery, told WWD. “All clothing categories are very saturated. There are now hundreds of brands for each category. But in a swimsuit, the 30 to 55-year-old woman was completely ignored. The swim is either this super oversexualized swim that’s probably aimed at Gen Z. Or, there’s the convoluted, over-engineered swim that you see from many designer brands. And then it kind of jumps to a lot of normal people who are just trying to be a mom — but still care about how they look — and go straight to modest swimwear. There’s not much in the middle. It is for them that I like to create.

Banks, herself a mother of three, knows even more about her target audience: she’s busy. She can work or stay home with children, but either way she has her own money. She appreciates high quality and brands that integrate social impact into their businesses. “And she’ll spend a little more on a product designed for her needs,” Bank said.

Change of Scenery Swimwear

Pieces from the swimwear brand Changes of Scenery.
Photo courtesy Shaye Babb

It helps that Banks has an impressionive curriculum vitae to back up his knowledge. This includes more than 10 years at Kate Spade – where her roles included lead designer of women’s rtw, as well as adjacent apparel categories, like swimwear and sleepwear – in addition to stays with Shoshanna and Milly.

Change of Scenery Swimwear

A one-piece swimsuit from the New York brand Change of Scenery.
Photo courtesy Shaye Babb

But Banks pointed out that she “grew up with Kate Spade,” so much so that it continues to influence her designs today. In fact, Banks was one of Kate Spade’s alumni. artistic director Deborah Lloyd’s first hires after Kate and Andy Spade sold the company to Liz Claiborne. After arriving, Banks helped launch the Kate Spade rtw collection in 2007.

“When you grow up at a brand like Kate Spade, it’s pretty hard to work anywhere else that doesn’t have quite the same branding and storytelling power,” Banks said. “All About Kate During [the Deborah Lloyd] years was very, very magical. It was magical internally; it was magic outside the house. The whole customer experience has always been so well thought out – from the logo, to the color palette, to the social media experience, to how we discussed our products in stores. It was never just about the product. We’ve all had the proverbial Kool-Aid. Every one of us who worked there loved our jobs so much, believed in the brand so much. When I decided to launch my own brand, it couldn’t just be a product. And when I have employees one day, I want them to feel that connection to the brand too.

Interestingly, Banks said she never really wanted to start her own business. “I imagined myself going to this [Kate Spade] office until age 65 or older,” she said.

However, after the hit of COVID-19, parent company Tapestry Inc. made the decision to close bank division at Kate Spade. Like many, Banks struggled to figure out what to do next. It was a consulting job for a Florida swimwear brand that brought her back to life.

Changes of Scenery Swimwear

New York-based brand Change of Scenery makes swimwear for women.
Photo courtesy Shaye Babb

“And I said, I’m not going to create a brand if I don’t solve a problem, or if I don’t bring something to the customer that [customers] don’t have it already,” she said. “And one day, a friend said to me: ‘There is nothing where the creator thinks of us’ [moms]. Once she said that, I knew that was what the brand needed to be. I think the best brands really come from the founder solving a problem on their own. I know how it feels when I’m at a barbecue, or at the beach, or at the pool and I have three kids clinging to you. And if one of them doesn’t hang on to me, then they call me. Or, if you try to harbor something in your garden, everyone calls your name. You try to do all these things and the worst is if you wear something and it distracts you, or you have to keep mounting it or fixing it or whatever. But when you’re in those situations and you’re wearing something that makes you feel really good – even something as simple as feeling pretty or confident – ​​it’s simply the best feeling in the world.

Rebranding Scenery

New York-based swimwear brand Change of Scenery includes a selection of resort wear, like this cover-up.
Photo courtesy Shaye Babb

Banks’ inaugural collection features 12 pieces, a mix of single and separate pieces in bright colors, as well as basics like black. There is also a selection of camouflages. All pieces are available in sizes XS to XL and range in price from $74 to $178 each. Consumers can buy parts on the brand’s e-commerceor on Instagram.

Going forward, Bank said she would like to continue focusing on swimming and resort wear. “I’d rather be the expert in this world, expand to D cups or extended sizes, or add things that can help her in her resort life or her weekend life, like the perfect tote bag” , Banks said. “That makes more sense to me than trying to be everything to everyone.”

Working with wholesale partners, or even opening their own Change of Scenery stores, are also part of the vision.

“My dream for our first store would be at Royal Poinciana in Palm Beach,” Banks said, referring to the luxury outdoor shopping area in Florida. “It’s my favorite place to go shopping or to take some time for myself. I just think it’s amazing there. It’s the best experience. It almost feels very European. And there is a nice garden and you can have tea and sit outside and there are children running around. It’s just awesome.

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