Miami Beach International Fashion Week (MBIFW), held at the Miami Beach Convention Center celebrated its 13th year of bringing together a wide range of designers. According to MBIFW President Beth Sobol: “When we first started, it was to introduce the Latin American designers to the US market but then even in the first couple of years it grew so much we had designers from all over the world asking to be a part of the event, so we opened it up and we have designers from Dubai, Malaysia, all over the middle East, Asia, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.”



The venue offered ample space for the white center catwalk, jewelry and accessories showcase, a culinary lounge with food, wine and champagne sampling. Miami Beach of course has a strong Latin American and Caribbean Diaspora and those influences were prevalent throughout the events. Miami Beach also evokes imagery of bronze beach goddesses, luxurious yachts, glitz and glamour and over the top South Beach parties. The collections incorporated the expected and also some of the unexpected. Seasoned, Miami designers and young emerging talent to look out for. Europe meets Latin America with some added unique Miami style. The models strutting down the runway were covered in glitzy club wear ready for South Beach, beach wear and swim wear essential to Miami and the Caribbean, evening gowns and tailored dresses ranging from prom queen looks and sweet 16 creations which are very much a part of the culture in many Latin American countries.



Some young designers especially stood out because of their motivations. SoMe was all about charity and using fashion as a voice of the underprivileged. Their amazing talent and creativity did not go un-noticed. (def the Jamaican showcase!) And one cannot forget to mention some of the handmade, dyed and flattering used by designers such as Viviana G for Petit Pois – all made in Miami, Luxxe, body slimming fabric and Mariela Allaix (crochet and loom woven). The lingerie and Swimwear showcase featured designers Madd Sexy Lingerie, Eugene Jones Swimwear and De Lancret Swimwear from the USA plus Zella Machado and Sambarella Swimwear from Brazil as well as Kanomi Swimwear from Venezuela.



Designer Somy Ali of So-me designs for `No More Tears’ is a former Bollywood actress, model and journalist. The No More Tears Organization is a socially conscious clothing company. Each shirt has a socially conscious design representing: gay rights, war, equality etc. Each time someone buys a shirt, 10% of the profits go to No More Tears, a nonprofit organization that helps to fight against domestic violence to women and children. The designer said: “Can you save the world one shirt at a time? Yes! By making choices that are good for the Earth and its people, you can make a difference every day. Our designs support sustainable manufacturing, foster ideas of peace and harmony, create awareness about global issues and help empower the powerless. I have seen mankind at its very best and very worst. I promise you, together we can make a difference.”



Julian Chang, known as one of Miami’s finest designers mixed glamour with sexiness and confidence. His new collection incorporated men’s and women’s wear, including tailored pants with bondage inspired shirts for men and for the ladies, real Miami chic, floaty with glitz and gold details accessorized with floppy sun hats. Petit Pois by Vivianna said she produced her line 100% in the US. An alumnus of New York’s Parsons School of Design, who is of Venezuelan background said: “My designs are made of special fabric I create with mesh. We produce our own fabric and do our own colors and a lot of beautiful prints. We create everything in our own factory here in Miami Beach. Right now we produce over 6000 pieces a month out of the factory and we currently have the collection in 1200 stores in the US – New York, California, Dallas and Atlanta.”



Miami Fashion Week also showcased children’s wear and GooRoo Baby showed a collection of cute T’s for boys and girls with some additional fancy tulle skirts for the sweet little ladies in red and pink. Samy Gitcherman showed a 40s inspired collection, reminiscent of the Charleston-style flapper dresses, shightly boxy shapes, frills, lace, headbands and tassels. Venezuelan designer Nicolas Felizola presented a collection of tailored suits for men and cocktail dresses for women. The designer, who is also a photographer and attorney, is considered among the top ten Latin American designers. The men’s showcase featured Mauricia Alberino and Robert Flores from the Dominican Republic, Marithe and Francois Girbaud from France and Bata Spasojevic, the winner of the MBIFW Designer Competition at the Banja Luka Fashion Fair in Bosnia and Herzegovina.



The Jamaica Showcase featured an evening of Jamaican designers: Camesha Powell, Juliette Dyke, Keneea Linton, Barry Moncrieffe, Sandra Kennedy, Carlton Brown, Ayanna Dixon and Shenna Carby. Julan by Juliette Dyke was all about resort wear and Carlton Brown demonstrated why he is at the forefront of Jamaican menswear designers with perfectly tailored pants and shirts in red and black as well as stylish logo T’s paired with knee length cropped pants for the more fashion forward male. Keneea Linton, Sandra Kennedy and Barry Moncrieffe, all household names in Jamaican fashion design teamed up as the Jamaican Collective” for a collection reflecting their sensibilities in combination, creating a mix of black and red dresses screaming sophistication and style. The winners of the Jamaica’s Mission Catwalk Designers Challenge, Ayanna Dixon and Shenna Carby showed bright tailored pants and bodysuits in pink, orange, lime and blue as well as summer dresses in fuchsia, yellow and sky blue respectively.



1 – Keneea Linton
2 – Shenna Carby
3 – Barry Moncrieffe
4 – Camesha Powell
5 – Shenna Carby
6 – Shenna Carby

By Heike Wollenweber | Published in Profiles98 Summer Issue 8 2011


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