Lea and Armin Gottlieb
The SEA Group (Swim Experts Alliance)
Gottex was founded in 1949 by Leah and Ermine Gottleib, and quickly achieved worldwide success thanks to its unique, durable, and original designer fabrics and samples. Gottex has led the designer swimwear industry since its inception, beginning with its use of the revolutionary Spandex in the 1960s and progressing to innovative ultra-light materials developed exclusively by Gottex.
Over the years, Gottex has won many important international swimwear awards, among them Designer of the Year in Dusseldorf, the Fashion Prize in Dallas, the Fashion Festival Prize in Cannes, the Industry Prize in Milan, the Needle Prize in Israel, the Textile Prize in Paris, the Swimsuit Collection Prize in Britain, and others.
Now, almost 50 years later, their company, Gottex, has expanded its business to include chic, beachwear accessories such as towels, bags, and silk scarves.
At the end of 1997, after a series of poor production, planning and purchasing decisions, the Gottliebs sold 80% of their firm to a holding company, Africa Israel Investments; but 82-year-old Lea Gottlieb is still a member of the design team.
Since then, Africa Israel has reorganized the company. The strategy has paid off: in 1999, Gottex recorded a $2 million profit, turning around a $17 million loss from previous years. Sales exceeded $30 million in 2000 (resulting in a $3 million profit), 85% for export, mainly to major retail stores in the U.S. like Sacks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales. In the UK, Gottex is sold by prestigious retailers such as Harrods, where Gottex has its own shop. Other world markets include France, China, Japan, Australia and South America.
Recently, Gottex has launched two less pricey lines, "Free by Gottex" aimed at young working women, and the "Lady Gottex" brand for older clientele.
Today Gottex belongs to the Swim Experts Alliance Group.
The company is still best known for traditional colors, sexy cuts, and creative blends of textiles apparent in every suit carrying the label. Glamorous and elegant, the swimsuits and coordinated accessories are engineered works of art. Gottex represents the Haute Couture standard in the swimwear industry.