Miami Swim Week Bows With New Trade Shows and Expanded Schedule
MIAMI BEACH, FLA.—“More, more, more” seemed to be the theme at Miami Swim Week. The event expanded in Miami Beach with more trade shows, more fashion shows and a full schedule of events.
Designers, retailers, press and bloggers from the United States and around the world descended on Miami’s beach scene July 18–23 to present and shop Cruise ’14 collections for the growing swim and casual lifestyle markets.
The event is the largest of its kind in the world and included anchor events such as the Miami SwimShow & LingerieShow and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim as well as Funkshion Fashion Week, newcomer Cabana trade show, and Salon Allure Presented by Xtra Life Lycra Brand. In addition, independent showrooms and designers hosted their collections in Miami Beach’s chic poolside hotels throughout the week.
The Miami SwimShow & LingerieShow, which is produced by the Swimwear Association of Florida, expanded into an additional hall in the cavernous Miami Convention Center. Exhibitors grew from 350 to 450, which translates to more than 3,000 brands.
“[In the past,] we’ve annually had to turn away a lot of brands that rightfully belonged in the show because we didn’t have the space for them,” said Executive Director Judy Stein. They accommodated the demand this year and added over 100 new exhibitors to the show, including many emerging brands. In addition to established brands such as Gottex, Maryan Melhorn, Shan, Lenny Niemeyer, L*Space, Jantzen, Trina Turk, Vitamin A, Vix Paula Hermanny and CM Cia.Marítima, buyers were able to shop from new lines such as N.L.P. from Australia, Chromat and Cynthia Rowley from New York, and Rachel Pally from Los Angeles. Established European brands also debuted at SwimShow this year, including Save the Queen! Sun, Balmain and DSquared2.
“They are the excitement,” said Stein of the new brands attending. “You definitely want to always recognize your tried-and-true and your bread-and-butter brands and the well-established, well-recognized—but to also have new energy come into the marketplace. That’s what keeps it alive, that’s what keeps it happening and functioning, and that’s always a good thing.”
The show included women’s swimwear and lingerie as well as men’s and childrenswear and a lifestyle area. “That’s really a new category for us,” Stein said. “And although small, it’s growing, so we wanted to acknowledge it.”
The lifestyle area included activewear, which is emerging as a new segment within the swim market. Stores shopping the show included everyone from independents to chain boutiques, specialty and department stores, and an increased number of e-tailers. The majority of stores are U.S.-based, but the show also has a strong international presence. Vendors and retailers came from the Caribbean, the UK, South America, Central America, Australia and even Russia. Nordstrom, Gilt Groupe, Net-a-Porter, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Holt Renfrew, Canyon Beachwear, The Ritz-Carlton, Nasty Gal, Diane’s Beachwear, Shopbop and Anthropolgie were among the retailers shopping the trade show. “I’m very pleased with the traffic,” said Stein, who added that business was good this year. “[The economy is] certainly not back to where we were [five or six years ago], but swimwear is one of the categories that did really well, and it’s continuing to do so.”
Salon Allure stays focused
Salon Allure Presented by Xtra Life Lycra Brand, in its fourth season, continued its boutique-style format at the W South Beach hotel. The show consolidated its exhibitors from 56 brands on two floors last year to 40 swim and three accessories brands on the fourth floor of the hotel. Designers—including Clover Canyon, So de Mel Swim, Marysia Swim, Lee + Lani, 6 Shore Road, Acacia Swimwear and Mikoh Swimwear—debuted their collections in luxurious suites—many with ocean views. New this season were Flagpole Swim, Frankie’s Bikinis, Shakuhachi, Tallow, Minimale Animale and eco-friendly Greenlee Swim.
The trade show kicked off its four-day event with an opening party and a one-woman fashion show featuring Hannah Davis, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and current Ocean Drive cover girl. Davis wore looks from all the brands in a Beyoncé-inspired runway show and video, which fit the directional fashion-forward focus of Salon Allure, according to show co-founder Rick Fatzinger.
Over 300 retailers attended the show, and exhibitors were pleased that buyers were writing on the first day, Fatzinger said. Stores including Shopbop, Neiman Marcus, Scoop, Ideeli, Victoria’s Secret, Bloomingdale’s and Ophelia shopped the show for upcoming and emerging designers. Although exhibitors found less drop-in traffic to the suites, most were pleased with the turnout.
Retailers such as Miami Swim Style owner Lucy Lopez, who was shopping all the trade shows, found the Salon Allure to be relaxing and easy to shop. “I work with a lot of brands at Salon Allure, so it was a lot of catching up with friends and looking at their exciting new lines, so it was fun,” Lopez said. She added that she found many new brands such as Greenlee Swim and also shopped from brands such as Mandalynn Swim and Lolli Swim, which added a cute bridal-inspired group this season.
According to Fatzinger, trends are important, but brands have to add an original twist to make their product stand out in today’s market. And value is a key consideration for buyers and consumers. “I think we’re feeling the recession is over, but I think it’s a new reality as well. It’s all about value now, even in the luxury market.”
Cabana, a new resort beach lifestyle show created by Atrium head buyer Janet Wong and owner Sam Ben-Avraham, debuted in a tent in the parking lot adjacent to the W South Beach hotel. The curated event included 40 brands across the men’s and women’s swim, resort, accessories and footwear markets merchandised from Wong’s retailer perspective. Mara Hoffman Swim, Tori Praver Swimwear, Lisa Marie Fernandez, Hanne Bloch, Camilla, Sundek, Venroy Sydney, Ancient Greek Sandals, Basta Surf, Orlebar Brown and Eugenia Kim and are just a few of the brands that participated in the show. Wong said the idea for the show came about because the business in their Miami store has grown consistently and she saw a need for a trade show that showcased designers with a similar aesthetic.
“I’m always looking for new brands and always shopping the shows. I felt like a lot of these designers who are at our show right now [were] not properly showcased,” she said. “It was the idea about putting a certain aesthetic all together in one place that made sense for all of them.”
The show offered a clean white format, artsy white corrugated-paper lining on booth walls and boutique-style amenities for attendees. Fresh coconuts, a juice bar, food and popsicles were a hit, and shuttle service by The Freebee helped retailers travel from one event to another.
“We understand that it’s not easy for [attendees traveling from show to show]. Trade shows should be fun, so why not make it fun?” Wong said. Although it’s too early to confirm, Wong mentioned that there are talks of holding Cabana in other cities. “There is conversation,” she said tentatively. “A lot of our brands have asked me to do a second show for them because this show is Resort, but they need something for Spring/Summer. It always starts with a conversation.”