When IMG pulled out of Miami Swim Week in 2015 after a 10-year run, it sent brands and buyers into a tailspin. Without a central location and schedule, attendees wore themselves out scrambling from makeshift venue to makeshift venue or threw their hands up in frustration and skipped fashion shows altogether.
After hearing enough complaints, Sam Ben-Avraham, founder of Cabana trade show and Liberty Fairs elsewhere, and Aleksandar Salé Stojanovic, founder of Funkshion, a fashion and event production company in Miami, hope to fill the hole with Magic City. Their five-day, multi-platform fashion and lifestyle fair centers on Cabana’s and Funkshion’s respective locales across Collins Avenue from each other between 21st and 22nd Streets in Miami Beach.
“By joining forces, we’re able to go to the next level of production, logistics and hospitality,” said Stojanovic, of curating fashion shows, educational trade seminars, networking parties and lifestyle activations like culinary demonstrations, concerts and volleyball games with the same scrutiny as Cabana’s vetting process to avoid oversaturation. “The idea is to improve on IMG, and the city of Miami Beach is being financially supportive. They’re 100 percent in because they recognize the potential.”
In the past few years, Funkshion has presented runway collections in a 500-person tent in Collins Park, as well as offsite venues including Soho Beach House and 1111 Lincoln Road. Beach Bunny, Luli Fama, Acacia and For Love & Lemons are among brands that participated on grander scales in 2017, according to Stojanovic. He plans to keep the same model, while Cabana may transform one of its three tents into an event venue for the cause.
“We’re looking at different locations around the neighborhood and evaluating the whole flow since some designers requested unique spaces for fashion shows,” said Ben-Avraham, who’s also addressing demand and a long wait list by increasing the number of vendors at Cabana from 270 to a maximum of 320 for 2018. “Our attendance including buyers and press doubled last year, too, so we need to upgrade services and bring a New York quality of events.”
Not exclusive to Cabana vendors, Magic City welcomes brands from SwimShow and Hammock trade shows and the independent showrooms that pop up all over the island. Its organizers said selection relies more on relevancy and the overall experience. A web site, which has yet to go live, will list the complete rundown.
“Once we create an umbrella, we’ll attract resort and swim brands to Miami versus New York,” predicted Ben-Avraham, who has witnessed the category’s explosion and only sees a continuation of its success. “People are traveling more, and Miami is the best backdrop to showcase vacation-related collections.”