Miami enjoys a reputation of being a fashion center, largely stemming back to the revitalization of South Beach in the ’80s and ’90s thanks to that industry. Many of the major modeling agencies and designers have moved on, but the city still enjoys some ties to the fashion world at large.
Unsurprisingly, there is a healthy back-and-forth with fashion designers throughout Latin America, and the quick flight to New York works in Miami’s favor as well. However, Miami still does not have one unified fashion week to rival that of other cities. Instead, there are three major competing events at different times of year, and with different focuses.
Funkshion Fashion Week
Funksion Fashion Week was so named for its place as part of a larger brand that originally included a relatively short-lived lounge on Lincoln Road. Now, the fashion week is what remains of the Funkshion name, and the handful of shows mostly focuses, appropriately, on swim and resort wear and lingerie. It also usually offers a well-attended sample sale.
Past editions of the week have found it confusingly overlapping with Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival, but for its 2011 edition, organizers wisely moved it later in the year. However, they decided to move it to the same week as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to capitalize on the influx of fashion-oriented visitors at that time.
Miami Beach International Fashion Week
This was formerly known just as Miami Fashion Week, but after decamping to South Beach it underwent a minor name change. Dating back to 1998, Miami Beach International Fashion Week is the longest-running fashion week in Miami, and it also bills itself as the largest in the world to focus on Caribbean and Latin American designers. The organization also sponsors occasional one-off showcases and parties throughout the rest of the year.
When: Annually for about four days in the spring
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami
As the name indicates, this is the southern offshoot of the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and is produced by IMG. It takes place every year at the Raleigh Hotel, with shows running from the afternoon into the evening. Thanks to its New York ties, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami is well-attended by industry types from around the world, and the week is considered the most influential for swimwear. Well-known designers participating have included Diesel, Norma Kamali, and Red Carter.
When: Annually in July
If you must pick one of the three to attend, consider the Mercedes-Benz swim week in July. It’s the one with the highest-profile designers and models, and the best afterparties. With its numerous local sponsors, too, it’s not too hard to snag an invitation.