Miami Swim Week: An Outsiders View from an Insiders Perspective

I’ve always been an outsider. It’s a state of mind. You see? I like to observe things from a distance even while I’m in the midst of living them. Three years ago, I went to Swim Week for the first time. I didn’t understand a thing. So many people, so little clothes… I was new in this city and had just started working for Glamour. Pretty confusing. Found myself interviewing Mara Hoffman at a point where nothing really made sense to me yet.

The runways produced by Funkshion are the base of what makes this week fantastic. I’m always amazed by the  group of people that unite to create the infrastructure of what’s to come for the swimwear industry worldwide and make it unique.
The power-players, and the differentiator with other shows, is the presence of buyers who come from all over the world to experience the brands through the runways, and events, mingling with the press and the influencers that represent them.
The Insta-universe is so very present with Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman from @abikiniaday, Rocky Barnes, Jenah from @gypsyone, and Caroline Vreeland to name a few of the girls that come year after year adding a very glamourous touch to this week.

My journey this year was quite different. For the past two years, I attended every runway and presentation to make sure I could do the perfect round-up for the magazine I used to write for. This year I wasn’t as focused on the runways as I was on the brands and people that mean something to me.

The Established 
/The CFDA hosted a pop-up where I met Thaddeus O’Neil, the designer behind the unisex brand ‘ for ápres surf inspired by the hobos of the seas’ that I could dress up in every day that carries his name,

Loved meeting Alexandra Alvarez, the master-mind behind Alix, a really interesting body-wear brand by a native Miamian living in New York that I fell in love with and wish I had met before.

Models dressed in Thaddeus O’Neil /Picture by Beth Studenberg
Alexandra Alvarez, the designer behind Alix

/Pitusa’s yearly collection presentation during Swim Week is now a staple of this week. It’s incredible to see all that pompoms can do when you combine them with beautiful clothing. Jenah Yamamoto, Rocky Barnes, Marcela Braga, Miriam Ghandour, and Sam Black among other really special guests.

Miriam Ghandour, Helen Owen, Clara Lago (founder of Pitusa), Sam Blacky, Rocky Barnes, Iman Hasan, Regina Arriola
With Miriam Ghandour, both dressed in Pitusa

/Cabana is the place to be if you want to be surrounded by the most interesting brands in the market. There is a huge waiting list to be a part of this show. Buyers and designers get together to negotiate what’s to become a big deal in retail. Adriana Degreas, Jaline Resort, Carolina K, Camilla, Eberjey, Acacia, Ban.do and Figue were among the designers I visited.

/Zimmermann’s dinner at The Surf Club was fantastic. I’ve always loved what this beautiful brand stands for, and it was wonderful to meet Nicky Zimmermann surrounded by the very best selection of the women who are shaping Miami mixed with the top influencers and buyers.

Martina Basabe, Inés Rivero and Christina Getty Photo by Ryan Troy
Martina Basabe, Inés Rivero and Christina Getty / Photo by Ryan Troy

The Fun
/My week began by hosting alongside Jenny Lopez, a brunch for Sergio Rossi, the most beloved shoe brand in Miami, and known all over the world, not only because of its designs, but also because of how much they give back to the community.

 

Jenny Lopez, Marco Felci, Danie Gomez Ortigoza /Photo by Chris Carter
Jenny Lopez, Marco Felci /Photo by Chris Carter
rebecca hearn, melody le, caroline vreeland, marcela braga and iman hasan
Rebecca Hearn, Melody Le, Caroline Vreeland, Marcela Braga, Iman Hasan / Photo by Chris Carter

/The following day was my birthday, and I got to spend it with a beautiful group of special women who are committed to give form to a very special project for Costa Rica. Stefani de la O, Leonora Jiménez, La Chechi, Inés Rivero and Irma Martínez, will join me in a quest to share with the world what Costa Rica is up to. We did a photoshoot that will serve as a preview to this initiative. As the first democracy of Latin AmericaCosta Rica has a leading approach to sustainability and fashion which you will hear more about on my Instagram very soon.

The Up-And-Coming
/Camilo Ríos,  Creative Director of Toys for Boys hosted a dinner for Brown Lee Bathing Corp, along with Christina Currey, the founder of the brand, who grew up surrounded by men who never got their swimsuits right. Yeah. Pretty swimsuits don’t always pay attention on keeping everything ‘in place’ if you know what I mean…

Jenah Yamamoto and Christina Currey Danie gomez ortigoza journey of a braid
Jenah Yamamoto and Christina Currey / Photo by Chris Carter

/ProColombia and Costa Rica put together two different pop-ups at Soho House with extremely interesting brands that I can’t wait to explore further. There is no better mix in a fashion brand than good design + tradition + giving back to the community, and Latin American brands tend to do so.

/Carolina K presented her newest collection at Faena with some of the most interesting women you could ever think of as guests. From Anastasia Koutsioukis to Stephanie Von Watzdorf, the mix was absolutely unique and full of beautiful energy. I’ve always admired Carolina’s sense of style and creativity. She is the alchemist of Latin American design.

The lesson is clear; no matter what industry you are in, it has never been more important to brand yourself and to stand up for something like all these people and all these brands do.

When I first started in this industry, I believed that having an umbrella company defined me, and that belonging to that was more important than building something of my own. Some great friends who I found along my way taught me the contrary. Figure out who you are and share it with the world. Be bold. Be human. Be real. And don’t let anyone else define you.

And the journey continues…

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