Monday, August 8, 2011

Miami Swim Week 2011

by Vanessa Vega & Danielle Harmon

Nothing rounds up models quicker than warm weather, sandy beaches, the boardwalk, and Miami Swim Fashion Week. From Miami, LA, and Australia to Brazil, Miami Swim Week 2011 was full of international inspiration and overwhelming success. Imagine a week full of slick sexy metallic, high-tech fabrics resistant to salt and chlorine-fade, stripes of every kind, bright pastels, neon prints, and silhouettes that transform swim suits into art. The diversity throughout Miami Swim was inevitable and inspired by everything from travel, to ecological responsibility, and even alcohol like SKYY Vodka. Here is a break down of Miami Swim Fashion Week and some insight from a previous Ethos participant that was also recently part of the electrifying Salon Allure in Miami.

Mercedes Benz Swim Week, which took place at the Raleigh Hotel, is the relaxed, laid-back summer version of NY Fashion Week. With the events starting later in the day, everyone participating and attending are able to enjoy their time and soak up the Miami sun. Designers from all over the world came out to present their new, barely there swimwear lines, including, White Sands Australia, Poko Pano, Beach Bunny Swimwear, Crystal Jin, L*Space by Monica Wise, Wildfox Swimwear, Caffé Swimwear, Mara Hoffman Swim, Aqua Di Lara, A.Ché, Red Carter, Cia.Marítima, Luli Fama, Luxe by Lisa Vogel, Lisa Blue, Nicolita and True Religion. But the designer that took the crown for best designer had to be Diesel. Diesel was not only the kick off show with Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szhor as the guest DJ, but they also had Laguna Beach and The Hills star, Kristin Cavallari, walking the runway in the world’s first glass bikini inspired by their sponsor SKYY Vodka.

Salon Allure returned this year at the W Hotel and Residences, as the first and only exclusively luxury swim, fiber, and resort tradeshow. The designers collections were presented differently than the average show at Swim Week. They were showcased in ocean front studios and suites. Salon Allure allowed a limited amount of people to attend and the intimate environment lead to the show's success. Because of the limited space most attendees were buyers, which gave the buyers and designers more time to network. Designer Red Carter said, “We spent more time with representatives that aligned with our business goals. We were able to be more strategic, which lead to more business”. The participating designers included: Red Carter, Diesel, Tori Praver, Mara Hoffman, Jessica Simpson, Nycked, Lisa Curran, 6 Shore Road, Martha Rey, and previous Project Ethos participant, biKa by AmbiKa Sanjana.

Mogul Events and ecosystM created the first annual Haute Natured sustainable swimwear show at The Setai Hotel. Although Haute Natured was a sideshow of Mercedes Benz Swim Week, it still brought a lot of attention. The designers, including Eco Swim, Linda Loudermilk, Meadow, and MAE Couture, took designing a bikini to the next level. The designers used recycled bottles, upcycled fabrics and repurposed military parachutes to create the eco-friendly designs. Linda Loudermilk received a lot of attention by creating the world’s first fully compostable bathing suit. Loudermilk said “the suit won’t dissolve on a woman’s body, but bury it under dirt, like in a land fill, and it would break down within 180 days”. Haute Natured also kept the green theme going with celebrity green-carpet arrivals and electric sports car displays by Tesla.

Swim Week’s charitable side, Style Saves, is a non-profit that raises money to buy school clothing for foster children and underprivileged youth. They celebrated their one year anniversary at the Soho Beach House with an event that included three runway shows and much more. The participants for the event included Trina Turk, B. Rawlings, Papi, and Neiman Marcus. Models walked the runway as DJ’s Ess and Emm provided the musical entertainment, and the show ended with an after-party sponsored by Moët & Chandon Imperial Ice. Luxury goods and services were silently auctioned off and all proceeds from the event went to benefit Style Saves’ students.

Previous Project Ethos Participant, Ambika shares her insight about Swim Week:

Project Ethos: What sets Salon Allure apart from other trade shows?
Ambika: Salon Allure was definitely different than other trade shows I have been to in a few ways. The setting: The show was at the beautiful W hotel on South Beach. One entire floor was booked and dedicated to swimwear designers, each room serving as our "booth". The view was the stunning ocean and beach which seemed the appropriate setting for a swimwear trade show. The intimacy: The setting provided an intimacy that was refreshing. Instead of the traditional gigantic convention center, with buyers huddling down isles, this set up allowed for a more personal interaction. The set up: There was a kick-off fashion show on the opening night showcasing all the participating designers. Each evening there was a "media lounge" for a couple of hours...where all the designers, buyers and media networked over cocktails sponsored by Grey Goose. We made some amazing contacts here in this informal setting.

PE: Would you participate in it next year?

A: I would absolutely participate in this show next year. I feel like it was a great show and we had an amazing experience.

PE: Did you receive any orders or did you feel the show was just a preview of upcoming swimwear?

A:  We did receive orders at this show, as well as tons of contacts, media and press coverage.

Project Ethos: What did you enjoy the most about the show?

A:   I loved meeting and interacting with all the other talented designers. I met some amazing people and really loved the venue.

PE: Would you change anything about the show or do you have suggestions on how to improve it for next year?

A:   All around it was pretty amazing, however if there was one suggestion I could offer it would be...better lighting and sound at the fashion show. The lighting was not ideal for photographers, media and photo journalists. I would have set up the ramp different.

PE: Final comments?

A:   Miami Swim Week is a must experience for all swimwear designers. Being in the city filled with every hot swimwear company out there, models, celebs, hot pool parties and the rising temperatures - priceless.

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