Miami’s SwimWeek Fashion Shows in July on Hiatus, but Trade Shows Will Continue

Events producer IMG has put its lineup of glamorous swimsuit-filled runway shows, now known as SwimWeek, on hiatus until 2016.

Traditionally, the runway shows, formerly called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, took place in Miami Beach, Fla., every July, at the same time as a number of swimwear-centric trade shows.

But at the beginning of this year, IMG announced that its major sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, dropped its support of the company’s New York Fashion Week.

While the huge swimwear runway event is on hold, all the swim trade shows will take place as usual. Janet Wong, the co-founder of Cabana, a trade event scheduled around IMG’s runway shows, has been calling clients saying she predicts her show will not see a dip in attendance.

“I think the most important thing for brands during Swim Week is that business is being done. As a buyer [who buys for the Miami Atrium store], I can confidently say that’s happening at the trade shows. In addition, we’re currently looking beyond the trade shows into a number of solutions to make sure all of our brands have a home for their fashion shows and a solid media presence. Shows and presentations have been happening independently for years at a number of hotels like The Setai, SLS, Soho House and so on. So I sincerely believe the shows will continue to happen this season in IMG’s absence.”

Cabana, which is scheduled to run July 18–20 in Collins Park in Miami Beach, will feature 140 brands.

IMG’s announcement did take some by surprise, said Cece Feinberg, who represents SwimShow, where an estimated 7,500 brands are scheduled to exhibit at the Miami Beach Convention Center July 18–21.

“People are scrambling to figure out different venues,” she said. Her Cece Feinberg Public Relations has put together a schedule of events and will post upcoming developments on the website Feinberg said that runway producers can post event announcements on the calendar, which will serve as an official schedule for the week’s shows.

Along with SwimShow and Cabana, Salon Allure/Hammock, a boutique trade show, is scheduled to run July 18–20 at the W South Beach Hotel. Funkshion Fashion Week Miami Beach, an independent event, will also be producing runway shows and trade events during the week.

After IMG’s announcement, Funkshion Fashion said it would be adding five new venues. It will have an art tent at Collins Park and build bridged runways in four Miami Beach hotels: The Setai, Soho Beach House, SLS and The Thompson.

Kyla Brennan, sales director at Beach Riot, a swimwear brand in Costa Mesa, Calif., forecasted that business would go on as usual. Beach Riot is making its debut at Cabana.

“The runway shows are exciting, but the trade shows are where brands show their lines and where they get orders, and that part shouldn’t change. There will be plenty of events for people to attend,” Brennan said.

Ronen Jehezkel, co-founder of the Parke & Ronen men’s swimwear brand, has produced runway shows at SwimWeek before and felt IMG needed to recharge its batteries.

“IMG didn’t give enough opportunities for new, up-and-coming designers to go on the stage,” he said. “They always needed something new and cool, but nothing ever changed there.”

Parke & Ronen is scheduled to exhibit at Cabana. However, Jehezkel thought that the swim events might be duller without the nightly fashion shows. “Maybe there will be less press, less media,” he said.

Red Carter, founder of Red Carter swimwear, has shown his styles at SwimWeek eight times before. “It helped me launch the collection, but people were getting a little tired of the format and how it was presented,” he said of IMG’s SwimWeek. “Updating it is a good idea. I’ll be curious to see what they have up their sleeve. I hope it is modern, new and progressive.”

Swimwear lines from around the globe have presented their looks at SwimWeek. Some recent runway shows included brands such as Beach Bunny, Mikoh, Wildfox Swim and L*Space from Southern California as well as lines such as We Are Handsome, founded in Australia; Caffe Swimwear, with roots in Colombia; and Gottex, designed in Israel.