By Lori Riviere
For the second year in a row, Miami Swim Week soldiered on without the presence of fashion week runway giant IMG, and attendees wondered if the chaos from the previous season would continue. Miami Swim Week is unique among fashion week platforms, with its synergistic blend of both trade shows and runway shows occurring during the same week, and cooperative scheduling and location of activities and events is critical for attendees to fit it all in.
It appears that this season saw a bit more cohesion as events and activities were centralized compared to the previous year. Buyers still felt the week was overscheduled and scattered, but Bikini.com buyer Ashley Baier summed up the overall positive sentiment. “The swim market is flourishing and expanding tremendously—this year’s Miami Swim Week proved that it’s bigger than ever!” she says. “There was a large and very diverse mix of brands this season, which made a buyer’s schedule an organized mess. There is always so much to do, so many people to see in such a short period of time. However, at the end of the day, the runway shows were amazing, the private parties a good time, and the trade shows were above expectations.”
The three trade shows—Cabana, Hammock and SwimShow—were held in the same locations as the previous year. SwimShow, the longest running of the three shows, had a mix of large established brands and newcomers, many of which were international brands looking to carve out market share in the United States. This international show exposed brands from the United States to buyers from Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and many more countries.
Cabana—housed in two tents adjacent to the W Hotel, with its chill vibe—included a selection of highly curated contemporary and “it” brands in categories that extended beyond swim and resort wear, offering buyers expanded product selections.
Hammock, an expansion of the Salon Allure trade show, continued its new format—a mix of private showrooms in W Hotel rooms and a more traditional trade show format in the hotel’s ballroom, providing a place for buyers to discover newer brands in between appointments.
Two producers dominated the runway shows this season. New York-based SWIMMIAMI—back for its second season, run by LDJ Productions and SBI (Siegfried’s Basement LLC)—streamlined their format to two venues on one property at W South Beach, and added features to improve the guest experience, such as a media lounge. Funkshion, the local Miami production company, scheduled most of its designer shows in a large tent across the street from Cabana at Collins Park, reducing the number of shows held in hotels scattered throughout Miami Beach.
Standout shows this season included Hot-As-Hell and For Love & Lemons. Hot-As-Hell introduced a children’s line dubbed Hot-As-Halo and featured adorable kiddie models, as well as a pregnant model who walked with her daughter and famous ’80s model Angie Hill, proving beauty transcends age. For Love & Lemons showed at Swim Week for the first time, and the brand beloved by celebs was one of the “hot ticket” runway shows of the week, drawing a huge crowd.
Several designers and brands, including Lycra, Yandy.com and Mara Hoffman, decided to opt out of a traditional runway format and instead hosted cocktail parties, influencer brunches and barbecues with a decidedly more casual feel.
Overall, Miami Swim Week seemed to hits its stride in this second year without IMG anchoring the runway platform. SWIMMIAMI seemed to anchor the programming of runway shows, and led the way with fairly on-time scheduling and major improvements to the platform from the previous season. Funkshion also streamlined the guest experience by housing most of the top runway shows in the Collins Park tent, giving Swim Week attendees a much smaller footprint to traverse in the heat.
About the Author
Lori Riviere is the owner of The Riviere Agency, a fashion public relations and creative agency. The Riviere Agency has offices in Miami and New York, and offers services to fashion clients that range from photo-shoot production to public relations and blogger and influencer outreach. The agency has developed a particular specialty in the swimwear industry, working with more than 50 swim and resortwear brands, ranging from major established labels to start-ups.