Sam Ben-Avraham is bringing his knack for specialized trade shows to the beach — literally. Next month, the serial trade show founder will launch a new swimwear platform in Miami, called Cabana, with partner Janet Wong. The show will host about 45 upscale brands in a 15,000-square-foot tent on a stretch of oceanfront sand between the W South Beach and the Setai Miami Beach hotels.
This story first appeared in the June 10, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Running July 20 to 22, Cabana will host brands including Mara Hoffman, Tori Praver, Calypso St. Barth, Miguelina, Sundek, Bantu, Venroy and Liya Kebede’s Lemlem.
Cabana will run head-to-head with the SwimShow, which will be staged in the Miami Beach Convention Center from July 20 to 23 and caters to a broad spectrum of brands. An established boutique show, Salon Allure, also runs July 20 to 23 inside private suites in the W Hotel.
“We felt there was a void in the market to showcase some of the better swim designers in a single location and in an elevated environment,” said Ben-Avraham. “When we thought about a beachwear show, it just made sense to house it in a chic, all-white tent on the sand, as an alternative to the convention center or a hotel room.”
Cabana is targeting beach lifestyle brands adjacent to the swim category, such as Eugenia Kim hats, Italia Independent eyewear and Mystique sandals, all of which have booths at the show. About 80 percent of the show will be dedicated to women’s product and 20 percent to men’s.
“When they told me I was going to be selling my collection on the beach, I was sold. It’s my dream show — I’m a beach babe,” said Miguelina Gambaccini, founder of Miguelina, which offers a complete resort and beach-flavored collection of dresses, cover-ups and swimwear. “And I like that it’s a smaller group of selected designers.”
The SwimShow next month expects more than 2,500 brands in its 400,000 square feet of convention center space.
A standard 15-by-8-foot booth at Cabana costs $5,000 and includes a fitting room for models to change in and out of swimsuits. Amenities at the show will include a juice bar and lounges with Champagne, oysters and rosé to evoke the seaside vibe of the show. If attendees want to take a dip in the turquoise waters outside the tent, Cabana will have towels and robes — and cabana boys — on hand, said Ben-Avraham.
Ben-Avraham has operated an Atrium retail store in Miami since 2007, in addition to Manhattan and Brooklyn locations. In Miami, about 1,500 square feet is dedicated to swimwear and beach lifestyle, out of a total store size of 5,500 square feet. “Swim has become a major business for us there, and we’ve really pushed it to the limit,” said Wong, who oversees the Miami store and runs the day-to-day operations of Cabana.
Separate from Cabana, Ben-Avraham is in the midst of launching Liberty Fairs, a denim and contemporary show that makes its debut in New York next month and in Las Vegas in August.