Heating Up

Swimwear shows kick off a busy fashion season in Miami.

Swimwear shows kick off a busy fashion season in Miami.

This story first appeared in the June 25, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

MIAMI — Kicking off with a set of swimwear shows in July, Miami remains a major fashion venue for the rest of year.

“Miami is hot as a pistol,” said Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG Fashion, sponsors of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim show, which runs July 18 to 21 at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach. “When we started the event three years ago, we worried about Miami in July, but it keeps growing.”

The IMG event will have 16 swimwear designers showing in tent fashion shows, including Red Carter, Tommy Bahama and Diesel Swim. The event drew 10,000 people last year, said Mallis, including 500 registered fashion media.

Running concurrently, July 19 to 22 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, SwimShow 2009 is a trade show sponsored by the Swimwear Association of Florida. Approximately 2,500 buyers are expected to view the 400 exhibitors at the event, according to organizers.

New to the SwimShow this year are several sportswear lines that have launched swimwear collections, including Ed Hardy, Badgley Mischka and Tibi, as well as new lines from Lotus London in the U.K and the Spanish line Jocomomola.

SwimShow will hold a multiline fashion show July 20 in a tent on the sand at Ocean Drive and 11th Street.

Florida Fashion Focus, a women’s apparel and accessories show sponsored by Southeast Apparel Exhibitors Inc., a 300-member Miami-based sales representatives organization, will move from the Radisson Mart Plaza, where it has been for the past three years, to the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. The first show, Aug. 9 to 11, will be followed by four shows a year, featuring misses’ and contemporary lines such as Joan Vaas, Sue Wong and Joyous & Free.

Trafik, the biannual contemporary sportswear show, will hold its fall edition Sept. 24 to 26 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Since its launch in January 2006, Trafik has grown from 100 to 350 lines. Officials are projecting 1,000 buyers in September.

Originally 80 percent premium denim, the category now represents only 30 percent of the mix. Many lines such as Ella Moss, Splendid and Ed Hardy focus on tops and alternative fabrics in men’s and women’s sportswear. The show now includes more moderate-priced lines and accessories.

“With trend cycles and the economy, premium denim has declined, and the show has followed that trend,” said James Costa, show director and chief executive officer of Carpe, a contemporary line that evolved from denim to sportswear.

Collaborating with local artists, the September show has a Pop Art theme, with events scheduled at the new Gansevoort Hotel at South Beach.

Coast, a high-end contemporary women’s apparel show, will hold its fifth Miami show June 16 to 17 at the Savoy Hotel in South Beach. The biannual show has expanded from 35 original lines to 150, including six multiline New York showrooms, and collections including Rebecca Taylor and 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent.

In October, the show will move to the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens to accommodate a projected 300 lines, said show president Karen Bennett.