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Signs promoting an Alati Swim pop-up shop hang in the trees outside the top of Baker University Center. The pop-up shop is set be open for two hours on N. Congress, February 19th. 

Pop-up shop brings summerwear to winter

Alati Swim will peddle its designs at 31 N. Congress St. from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A local swimwear design company is hoping its little butts will draw a big crowd.

Spencer Porter, an Ohio University alumna and St. Clairsville resident, tied several polaroid-sized photos of female backsides clad in swimsuits she had designed to trees outside of Baker University Center last week.

The pictures are a plug for her pop-up shop  — a temporary swimwear outfitter that will be open for two hours this Thursday in a North Congress Street home.

The shop will be the first of several for Alati Swim, Porter’s upscale swimwear line. Porter, Alati’s owner and designer, said she has plans to open similar shops in Morgantown, West Virginia, in the coming weeks, as well as Columbus.

“Alati Swim is really excited to be in Athens,” Porter said. “OU has been great to me.”

While somewhat out-of-the-ordinary for clothing sellers, Porter’s pop-up shop business model has a shot at success because the nature of modern retail, Raj Agnihotri, chair of Ohio University’s marketing department said.

“We’re going to see a lot of new business models with connected consumers and especially with the fast-paced evolving tastes,” Agnihotri said.  “I see some merit in this idea, especially in certain consumer bases.”

Porter said social media has been crucial to spreading the word about Alati. The brand utilizes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vimeo to push its product.

The accounts have been pushing the hashtags #AlatiAtOU, #AlatiSwim and most recently, #ButtCheeks, to drum up interest in the store.

The swimsuits should have no trouble selling in Athens, as many Bobcats are looking for fresh Spring Break beachwear, said Nadia Kurtz, editor-in-chief of Thread Magazine.

“The designs are interesting,” Kurtz said, adding that the pop-up shop will do well as long as students are aware of it. “They’re not a typical bathing suit.”

Kurtz said some of the designs are “pretty revealing” — something Porter doesn’t deny. She called her designs “very cheeky.”

Porter began designing Alati’s first swim line early last year, but didn’t find someone to manufacture the suits until August. Since then, she has been to trade shows across the country, displaying her designs alongside some of the biggest names in swimwear, she said.

Prices for suits range from $80 to $100. The suits are all handmade in Bali, Indonesia. Alati’s website won’t be up-and-running for several days, Porter said, but you can find its video look book here.

The shop will be open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at 31 N. Congress St.


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