So Much to See and Do, So Little Time
By Lori Riviere
Miami Swim Week—which took place July 20-26—is starting to settle into its new groove minus the presence of runway giant IMG. Events adhered to more predictable schedules and locations. Miami’s unique blend of both trade shows and runway shows mixed with the vibrant nightlife scene made it a very busy week for industry insiders, complete with manufacturers presenting more than 300 lines of swimwear, resort wear, beachwear, active wear and accessory brands.
Overall, it appeared that this season, attendees of Miami Swim Week saw more event activities occurring in more centralized locations compared to previous years. Buyers still complained that the week was over-scheduled and that too many of the runway shows overlapped, but the overall sentiment was that the week was more organized and offered more opportunity for business, mixed in with a big dose of fun. As the swimwear industry continues to thrive and grow, auxiliary categories are beginning show more of a presence during the week, including accessories such as beach bags, hats, jewelry and beach paraphernalia, as well as athleisure and active wear.
The three major trade shows—SwimShow, Hammock and Cabana—were held in the same locations as in previous years, and show organizers hosted new events and features aimed at giving buyers and exhibitors more of a pampered experience.
SwimShow, the longest running of the three trade shows, celebrated its 35th year while pampering buyers and retailers who attended the show with a breakfast bar, high tea and much more. A large mix of well-established brands intermingled with the debut of more than 100 new designers. This international show exposed brands from the United States and countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., and saw a 12% increase in buyer registrations from the previous year, according to Judy Stein, the show’s organizer. Newly featured events included a fashion law seminar presented by Greenberg Traurig, and a fit seminar by Frederika Zappe, national fit specialist, and her team from the Eveden Fit School.
Cabana was housed in two tents adjacent to the W South Beach. With a relaxed vibe, the show included a selection of highly curated contemporary brands.
Hammock, held inside the posh W South Beach, staged lines in private hotel suites on the 4th and 5th floors. Its more traditional trade show format in the hotel’s ballroom provided a place for buyers to discover newer brands in between appointments.
The producers of Hammock offered buyers several ways to relax and escape the Miami heat, including a media lounge complete with a Priv beauty bar, refreshments, cocktail hours and spa services. The show’s unique partnership with runway platform SwimMiami offered buyers the opportunity to really get to know the brands, and see how swimwear moves and fits on a body.
New York-based SwimMiami and locally run Funkshion dominated the schedule of runway shows with locations right across the street from each other, making for less shuffling from show to show in the heat for buyers.
SwimMiami introduced a new daytime wellness component to complement their nightly schedule of runway shows dubbed “Swim to Gym,” featuring fitness classes and athleisure apparel available for purchase from brands showing at Hammock trade show. Meanwhile, Funkshion debuted a larger lobby space where guests could mingle in between shows and make the major show delays that seem to plague them year after year a little less painful. Art Hearts kicked off Miami Swim Week at Funkshion, with Nick Cannon opening the show.
Snapchat Spectacles were seen everywhere—on celebrities and major influencers as well as on the runway—as it appears that the social media giant recognized the week’s importance and its ability to attract celebrities, top-tier media and industry influencers. It seemed that the whole world had its sights set on Miami Swim Week and the $5 billion-per-year swimwear industry.
Standout shows this season included Hot-As-Hell, Luli Fama and Acacia. Hot-As-Hell had a runway show complete with ballerinas; models of all ages, shapes and sizes; and as a moving dance performance to introduce the show. Luli Fama was a crowd-pleaser with its lively Cuban music complete with a live band and one of the hottest after-parties held in the Shore Club’s Redroom. Acacia turned heads with its ultra-cool runway setting at 1111 Lincoln Road as part of the Funkshion schedule.
The most talked-about event was arguably Sports Illustrated’s runway show, featuring models competing for a spot in the magazine’s famed swimsuit issue. Models strutted the runway atop the main pool at the W Hotel wearing styles created in collaboration with Raj Swim. The show’s creators received high praise for their use of various sized models, including plus-size model Tabria Majors. MJ Day, editor of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, and fashion model Hailey Clauson shocked the crowd by jumping into the pool at the end of the show.
Some designers and brands, including Mikoh and Same Swim, hosted cocktail parties and influencer brunches (in lieu of runway shows), creating a more intimate experience and allowing brand reps to interact with buyers and key industry contacts in a more personal way. The hottest ticket in town seemed to be the dinner hosted by Australian brand Zimmermann, held at Le Sirenuse Miami. The dinner began with cocktails and canapés in the Champagne Bar, followed by a four-course tasting menu in the main dining room, and featured Nicky Zimmermann along with major industry influencers, celebrities and buyers.
The entire week was filled with parties, events and tons of celebs, including Tyson Beckford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christina Milian and Abigail Ratchford, among others.
Overall, Miami Swim Week offered buyers, retailers, media, and other industry professionals and guests a week full of options as well as chances to network, mix and mingle. The only problem for buyers and retailers was finding a way to take it all in with so little time.
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.