As soon as images of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue started circulating, retailers snapped up the entire stock of Rip Curl bikinis featured in the magazine.
"Within 24 hours, we sold out," said Mary Miller, Rip Curl's vice president of girl's merchandising and design. "We're thrilled to have this opportunity and to be a part of it. It's hard to know what to expect and how much we should order. It's hard to gauge until you've been through the process, the type of impact it will have on the sell through of these suits."
Gaining national exposure in Sports Illustrated's popular swimsuit issue offers big exposure for swimwear brands featured in the magazine, which is expected to reach 70 million consumers through print, web and mobile platforms.
Costa-Mesa based Rip Curl immediately re-ordered the suits worn by professional surfer Alana Blanchard. Rip Curl is offering two of the five looks featured to consumers.
"There's millions seeing the images of these swimsuits," Miller said. "Surfing is such a niche market, and we obviously do a lot of events that have impact and cross a lot of eyes, but mostly in the surfing community. It's nice to share this kind of exposure in the non-endemic market that's not part of the surfing community, so this is a great opportunity."
Billabong, which has its North America headquarters in Irvine, has a spread for the second year in a row in this year's issue. The surf brand showcases bikinis inspired by traditional Guatemalan textiles from the Spring 2013 collection, said Billabong Girls Design Director Mandy Fry.
"The response to this fresh direction has been amazing," she said.
Rip Curl -- with Blanchard's input -- created custom bikini looks specifically for the swimsuit shoot, which took place in Las Vegas at the Caesar's Palace.
"They are very sexy swimsuits, a lot of the cuts across the board are very skimpy," Miller said. "We have a lot of products that are suited for Alana, but they wanted specific colors and cuts, and we wanted to make them as happy as possible to ensure our product was featured in the magazine."
Local brands are no strangers to the famed swimsuit issue. In 2011, San Clemente sisters Kalani and Oleema Miller nabbed a three-page spread, just one year after starting their company Mikoh Swimwear. That same year, Costa Mesa-based Hurley had a photo in the issue. Irvine-based L*Space -- known for its upscale, European-inspired styles -- was featured in 2011 and 2012.
Founder of L*Space Monica Wise, of Newport Beach, said landing pages in the swimsuit issue helps elevate brands.
"It just sets the momentum for the season, we couldn't keep it in stock all year," Wise said. "It gets so many eyes looking at it. For new companies, it really helps put them on the map. It's a huge accomplishment to be featured. It's amazing what it does."