By Kathryn Wexler
Miami Fashion Week, an annual series of fashion shows with an emphasis on Latin American designers, hits town this week.
But this year, the event’s 10th anniversary, designers are also coming from India, Dubai and Australia to reveal their lines, April 9-13 at SOHO Studios in Miami’s Wynwood district. Tickets are $25 per show and available at the door.
"Most of these designers are not known in this country and this gives them opportunity to be seen,” said fashion week founder Beth Sobol, who used to call the event "Fashion Week of the Americas.”
Many designers hope their shows lead to their first U.S. retail accounts. And international media coverage of the designers can also boost a designer’s profile in his home country.
The runway shows are mostly themed, with categories such as evening wear (8:30 p.m. Friday), emerging East designers (8:30 p.m. Saturday) and South Florida student designers (9:30 p.m. Wednesday). More than 60 designers are participating, according to organizers. There are also nightly parties at local clubs.
The number of Miami-based fashion designers this year is small but they all have some retail success under their belt: Julian Chang, Bogosse, Ana Maria Guiulfo and Nicolás Felizola.
Joyce Nelson, a jewelry designer and longtime Coconut Grove activist, paid for a display booth at the shows to generate buzz for her line of gemstone and pearl designs, called Cosmopolitan Jewels.
"My goal is to move to the next level, to get in with a designer or a Saks or Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom, and to do that, you need some publicity,” Nelson said.
Designer Elizabeth Muir said this will be her first real introduction to the U.S. market. Muir’s colorful, hand-embroidered clothes are made in Kabal, where "the handicrafts are beautiful and the locals could use some alternative source of income,” Muir said in a phone interview from Afghanistan, where she is living.
Muir, from Washington, D.C., hopes to meet a buyer in Miami who shares her vision. She is part of the evening wear showcase on Saturday night.
"I’d love to find a place,” to sell her designs, she said.