Miami Fashion Week: More Than Just Bikinis

While perhaps not as well-recognized as the Fashion Week events in New York, Paris and Milan, Miami’s Fashion Week is an important showcase for international and up-and-coming designers — it’s also the second largest fashion week in the U.S. after New York.

2013 marks the 15th anniversary of Miami Fashion Week and with awards galas, educational events and a dozen runways shows on the calendar, it promises to be one of the most exciting and ground-breaking events yet.

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Hot Looks From Around the World

Any conversation about fashion in Miami is bound to turn to swimwear, but it’s important to understand that Miami Fashion Week in March is not swimwear specific. In fact, most designers and swimwear manufacturers reveal their designs and trends for the next season at Miami Swimwear Week, usually held each July. You might catch a glimpse of a bikini or a jeweled maillot in the March runway shows, but by and large the designers focus on their couture and ready-to-wear collections for Fall and Winter.

So what will you see on the runways within the Miami Beach Convention Center? The runway shows tend to be heavily populated by designers from South Florida combined with lesser-known houses from around the world. Event organizer Beth Sobol noted that the event will feature showcases of work from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and South America, as well as emerging talent from Eastern Europe.

But don’t think they let just anyone show their stuff at this event. Sobol also pointed out that the competition for runway shows is fierce, and that many of the designers featured at MFW are well-known in their home countries but haven’t made it big in the U.S. or Canada yet — meaning that if you’re lucky enough to score a seat at one of the major shows, you could be among the first to see the next big thing.

As far as trends, expect to see designers’ international roots coming into sharp focus, with traditional elements mixed into modern designs. Shades of green, from hunter to olive, loom large in fashion for Fall 2013, as do plaid, houndstooth and oversized outwear — including coats and capes trimmed with faux fur.

2013 Event Overview

For spectators at Miami Fashion Week, it’s all about the runway shows — and this year’s lineup doesn’t disappoint. The twelve multi-designer shows will showcase more than 50 designers, including Art of Shade by Kayce Armstrong, Peru’s Itala Testino, Ecuador’s Carolina Lopez, Erin Healy, Lisu Vega, Duchesa by Robyn Fleming and Julian Chang.

One of the most well-known designers to show at Miami Fashion Week 2013 is Oscar Miele, who has worked with celebrities including Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé, and is known for his signature intricate, well-cut and detailed designs. The Brazilian designer will be honored with MFW’s International Designer of the Year Award for his contributions to fashion, and exclusively show his Fall/Winter 2013 collection on opening night.

Miami Fashion Week closes out with the Miami Moda and Music Awards, where the best emerging talent — as displayed during Fashion Week — is honored, and big name designers including Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney display capsule collections for Fall/Winter 2013. In between, though, attendees can explore the “Fashion City” in the Miami Beach Convention Center. Fashion City will feature pop-up boutiques selling jewelry and accessories, as well as some ready-to-wear fashion and a bridal showcase and gourmet cafes.

Attending the Shows

It goes without saying that Miami Fashion Week shows and events are the place to see and be seen — and you don’t want to show up in your shorts and flip-flops. All of the shows and events are ticketed, and the dress code is strictly enforced.

Because the event draws so many people from around the world, many of the good Miami hotels fill up quickly, especially those closest to the Miami Beach Convention Center. You can still find good deals though, and may even get the chance to rub shoulders with some of the celebrities who make a point to attend the shows.

Since 1998 fashionistas have flocked to Miami each spring to see the latest in fashion trends, and Sobol expects the 2013 event to be the biggest and most successful yet.

Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons

About the Author: From the time she was a little girl, writer Faith Harper has been fascinated with fashion. Today she covers fashion, style and trends for several blogs and magazines.