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Miami Swim Would Like Its Media Circus Now, Please

Mara Hoffman Resort 13, via Getty
Mara Hoffman Resort 13, via Getty

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Fashion Week Swim—commonly called Miami Swim, or just Swim—takes in place in Miami each summer, and it has traditionally been the red-headed stepchild of Fashion Weeks. Though it's just as official as New York Fashion Week (and, like NYFW, is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz) there's no media circus, no major street style stars, no legitimate front-row celebrities, no Man Repeller. Fashion Week Swim would like to change that.

As the Resort 14 shows kick off tonight, brands and designers are working hard to make Miami Swim less industry focused and more appealing to media and consumers this season.

For the first time ever, shows will be live-streamed via Everything but Water, the largest swim and resortwear specialty retailer in the US. Four shows—Mara Hoffman, L*SPACE, Luli Fama and ViX— will be streamed on the Everything but Water website, and customers will have the opportunity to pre-order from runways for 48 hours after the shows.

It's an expensive proposition for the brand, but Everything but Water Creative Director Sabra Krock says that Fashion Week Swim is poised for a breakout moment. "This is a very exciting time for swimwear, with more designers entering the field, merging fashion and fit like never before," she told Racked via email. "There has been so much innovation in the category and such a great connection between runway trends and what we are seeing in the swimwear each season. Swim is having its moment!"

Of-the-moment indie designers like Lauren Moffatt, Mara Hoffman, and Rachel Comey and popular mass-market brands like BGBG have launched swimwear in the past few years, bringing a fashion-focused element to the category. Miami Swim is a chance for those designers, many of whom are experienced at pulling off powerful runway shows at NYFW, to showcase an increasingly important part of their business.

"I try to incorporate a few swim pieces in our spring show in New York, but there's really nothing else out there for swim designers like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim," Mara Hoffman told Racked via email. "It's also great that the resort swim market aligns with Miami swim week, so the energy is still with [buyers] when they walk into their sales appointment."

That's crucial synergy these days, as the swimwear category has become increasingly important to sales. WWD reports that swimwear is is now considered a year-round business, extending well beyond bathing suits to include multipurpose items like convertible swimwear tops and beach cover-ups that women are wearing as dresses. Hoffman says swim now makes up about 50% of her brand's business.

The street style scene—which launched NYFW from an industry trade event into the media circus is has now become—is still lacking, however. Blogger agency Socialyte told Racked that only one of their bloggers (Annabelle Fleur of Viva Luxury) is attending the event. Without blogger and street style buzz, it may prove hard for Swim to generate the excitement of its Fashion Week counterparts in other cities.

Racked has a man on the ground in Miami and will be bringing you reports from the shows all next week, so stay tuned for more Swim coverage.

Update: Socialyte's original information was incorrect. They do have other Miami-based bloggers attending Miami Swim; Annabelle Fleur is the only one attending the event that isn't based in Miami.

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