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  • Jul

    Q&A: Designing USA Synchro's Triflare Competition Suit

    SwimOutlet Blog: Triflare was born with the triathlete in mind, can you tell us how you got involved with USA Synchro?

    Andrea Robertson, Founder of Triflare: In 2013 Triflare was awarded a $50,000 Arch Grant. This allowed us to make crucial investments in order to grow the brand quickly. This included sponsoring a professional triathlete, Alicia Kaye.

    Alicia is great all the way around. She’s a beautiful strong woman athlete, with an incredible physique and personality—and while wearing Triflare she won huge races (the Lifetime Pro Triathlon Series and the Lifetime Triple Crown Series). That’s how we launched, having Alicia wear our suits on the triathlon race scene. Soon enough our designs caught the eye of the executive director of the U.S. Synchronized Swimming team. We started what would be almost 4 months of contract negotiations, and in 2013 Triflare inked an agreement to provide USA Synchro National teams with competition suits through 2017.

    SwimOutlet Blog: Synchronized swimming swimsuits are unique in that they have to be functional and fashionable, what goes in to the production process?

    Andrea Roberston: All of our fabric starts out white so it’s like a clean canvas.  We use dye-sublimation and this process is great for synchronized swimming suits because the color dyes physically become part of the material. You don’t have to worry about it peeling off or fading. The important thing about performance apparel is that it performs well and because we use one piece of fabric for the entire print, it lessens the number of seams in the suit, which reduces the drag and weight of the performance suit. The performance suit is now almost exactly the same as their practice suits and it doesn't present new challenges on competition day. When you’re in a swimming competition, the slightest bit of drag can be the difference between winning and losing, and the construction of the suit can play a major role.

    With dye sublmation and using digital print technology we are able to decide exactly where the print design appears on a specific athlete. Elements of the design are used to accentuate certain parts of the athlete’s body and create an overall effect, longer lines, more crisp shapes of the athetes in the water.

    SwimOutlet Blog: In synchronized swimming, the suits are definitely part of the look & feel of the routine. How did you guys go about creating a design unique for the U.S. duet? What were the inspirations?

    Andrea Robertson: Designing for USA Synchro is a highly collaborative process. We listen to team USA coaches and the athletes, and find out what kind of suit they’re looking for.  The design needs to reflect the theme of the overall presentation. They send us the music, and Kim (Triflare designer) draws up some designs. We give them several options of what we "feel" the suit should look like. We can go back and forth with the coaches several times or in the case of the Olympic suits, for 5 months! At the end of the day the coaches and the athletes know the sport of synchronized swimming better than we do, so none of us settle on a design until we can all agree it is a slam dunk!

    For an event like the Olympics—the print details have to be visible from far away, but also have a lot of life to them. Once the print design is established we then pass it by our seamstress, Paula Murphy. Paula has been creating and sewing synchronized swimming suits for 10 years. We rely on her seal of approval before we send the suits to print. Once printed Paula sews them and embellishes them.

    SwimOutlet Blog: How did you incorporate the feedback from the USA Synchro Olympic duet team of Mariya Koroleva and Anita Alvarez, in the production of their suits?

    Andrea Robertson: Mariya and Anita have been a part of the process of the suits since the beginning. Our seamstress takes their specific measurements and we create fit patterns for them individually.

    SwimOutlet Blog: We’re seeing a lot of swimsuits featuring USA prints and bold colors inspired by Rio de Janeiro. Did you guys use any of the Brazilian themes or inspirations?

    Andrea Robertson: This year we really wanted to celebrate Triflare and USA Synchro. We were so excited to release our Road to Rio swim collection for quite some time. We had Anita and Mariya test out the very first prints of the Triflare Road to Rio collection at the Olympic trials in Rio de Janeiro in January. Once we released the Road to Rio collection, it started selling very quickly, and in fact has been our fastest selling collection to date.

    SwimOutlet Blog: Any hints at what we can expect to see in Rio from USA Synchro and Triflare? 

    Andrea Robertson: I wish I could!! It's top secret, but if you tune into the Olympic coverage and watch USA synchro duet we can promise you will not be dissapointed. We are very proud of the Olympic designs and we are rooting for these dynamic athletes. We can't wait to see them in action! Go USA!

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