There are many good reasons to appreciate Miami, and tourists flock here for the weather, the beaches and the nightlife. But the city also has growing IT and media sectors, for example, which tap into a workforce with skills and enthusiasm. And because the city is so well-known for its style, fashion is also a big deal here, maybe resulting in Miami becoming a global center of the industry.
Miami… What Is It Like?
Miami has had its ups and downs, but it’s certainly enjoyed its share of the limelight. Tourism increased in the 50s until in the 60s the famous Rat Pack—Frank Sinatra and Co.— came to enjoy dancing in the hotel ballrooms and lounging on the city’s gorgeous tropical beaches. Then in the 80s it was hot again, with TV’s Miami Vice setting the standard in terms of style and production values. In the 2000s the city can also be said to have been booming, with the building of the Carnival Center and the tourists arriving to enjoy the legendary nightlife.
These days Miami is reckoned to be hot not just for tourists and party-goers but also for small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, in spite of everything, some unkind souls have been saying that Miami is now overrated, citing the cost of living here and the lack of well-paid jobs to match. But Magic City knows how to respond, and in addition to the sectors already mentioned, it has another very strong string to its bow. It’s an area in which Miami New Times speculates it might become a global player, namely the fashion industry.
Fashion to the Rescue
Miami Fashion Week (MIAFW) was relaunched in 2016 with a new and vigorous strategy to showcase both established and up-and-coming designers and to promote the city as a center of the industry. It is run in collaboration with the Miami Fashion Institute at Miami Dade College and has become the US’s second-largest event of its type. Other key happenings here include Miami Swim Week (July), Miami Beach International Fashion Week (March) and Funkshion Fashion Week (October), adding up to quite a program for fashion enthusiasts.
In 2017, the famous Milan-based design school Istituto Marangoni set up a branch in Miami’s Design District. Homegrown designers include Lazaro Hernandez, co-founder of the Proenza Schouler women’s clothing and accessories brand, and Alejando Ingelmo, creator of some very fine shoes. Naeem Khan, who has designed clothes for royalty and for former First Lady Michelle Obama, lives in the city and has stated he wants to found a program at the local magnet school Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH).
The Path Ahead…. Is It a Catwalk?
Miami has been some way behind fashion centers such as New York and Los Angeles, not to mention several overseas. One of the problems it has faced compared to these cities has been more limited immediate access to manufacturers and professional seamstresses. Another perceived drawback for the city’s fashion industry has been a lack of trade shows, but this may now be changing. The successful Canadian textile trade event Apparel Textile Sourcing (ATS) has made Miami the venue for its US shows, which host companies from around the world and receive thousands of attendees.
Miami New Times is sensible to be cautious, however. The city’s reputation as a Gateway to Latin America provides retail opportunities to a wide range of interested people and companies, but it can also encourage an image of insularity. While the scene may be great for locals, and may genuinely foster talented designers, attracting buyers from further afield—not to mention holding on to those designers—could be key to whether Miami does become a global city of fashion.
Miami certainly has a lot to offer in terms of creativity and style. And if you love stylish and interesting clothes, a week or two in Magic City could be a very rewarding vacation—swapping last year’s clothes for this year’s, Miami-style, might just help you make a splash when you get back to your rainy home town! You can also put this year’s cast offs in self-storage as you never know when you might want to wear them again, or, indeed, when they might come back into fashion.