Miami Swim Week 2017

From left to right: Luli Fama, Maaji, Luli Fama

All eyes were on South Florida last week as Miami held it’s annual Swim Week. Press, bloggers, buyers and fashionistas, crowded the streets of Miami Beach as they made their ways to runway shows, trade fairs, pop-up shops and parties, that were all centered around swimsuits.

Siniesa Karol show at the Setai. Photo by Saint-Cyr Studio

This year I got to attend fashion shows and events from Funkshion for the first time, and the island girl in me was beyond excited to see what the designers have in stores for us in 2017. Yes, these bathing suits will not hit the stores until next year. If you were following fashionayiti on Snapchat and Instagram, you already had a little preview of the fashion shows I attended which are: Beach Riot, Blue Life, Kai Lani, Ana Kosturova, Maaji, Monica Hansen Beachwear etc… to name a few.

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With 2 Haitian models participating at Funkshion Swim Week.

So, recapping Miami Swim Week in general, here are 8 of the hottest trends that we will see in swimsuits next year:

  • Plunging One Piece
    One piece suits are here to stay and this time the more revealing the better!
From left to right: Beach Riot, Aguaclara, Blue Life
  • Halter Bikinis
    A less conservative halter tops were a favorite on the runways. Designers added a risqué side to the halter tops with creative and sheer cuts.
From left to right: Luli Fama, Kai Lani, Tori Praver
  • Creative Cut-Outs
    Designers went the extra mile to give us more creative designs with fun and slick cut-outs on both one pieces and bikinis.
From left to right: OMG Miami Swimwear, Luli Fama, Magic City Swimwear
  • Wrap Around Tops
    This season designers played around with the basic triangle bikini top giving it a little “extra” with intricate ties and wraps on bikinis tops, bottoms, and one pieces.
From left to right: Versakini x Amanda Perna, Luli Fama, Kai Lani
  • Bold Prints
    Florals, tribal and ethnic prints, stripes and colors were not scarce on the runway.
From left to right: Luli Fama, Beach Riot, Laundry by Shello Segal
  • Tassels
    This swinging and playful accent adorned some bathing suits and ever cover-ups, creating a hippie vibe for the boho girl.
From left to right: Ana Kosturova, Maaji, Ana Kosturova
  • Straps
    Straps were everywhere on the runways evoking a playful sensation.
From left to right: Blue Life, Luli Fama, Magic City Swimwear
  • Creative Coverups
    Because a beach attire is never complete without a fun cover-up!
From left to right: Luli Fama, Blue Life, Ana Kosturova
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Finale at Maaji, photo by Maaji Swimwear

Do you have your eyes on your next bathing suit purchase yet? Let us know which bathing suit you must have for next year!

All pictures were courtesy of Saint-Cyr Studio unless stated otherwise.

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With some of the Haitian community in the fashion industry in Miami, at the Swim Week kickoff party at the W.
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Deux Mains Designs: Creating Sandals From Repurposed Tires

 

On Tabarre road, hidden by the boisterous and hectic day-to-day activities of the airport, lies a local shoe manufacturer called “deux mains designs“.  At the atelier artisans craft beautiful handmade sandals and accessories from repurposed tires and local genuine leather.

Yes, you read right, repurposed tires! After hearing about this atelier, I was intrigued by how they use car tires to create those beautiful sandals and tote bags I saw online.  So I contacted deux mains’ VP and part Shareholder Sarah Sandsted. Sarah was more than happy to give me a tour of the workshop.

 
After the 2010 devastating earthquake, CEO and founder Julie Colombino came to Haiti on a complete leap of faith as a disaster response volunteer. In August, 2010, she founded REBUILD globally in an effort to seek alternative methods to traditional forms of charity, and employed four women to hand-make sandals from tires. Over the last five years, through expert guidance, product development and mentorship, REBUILD globally provided the start-up capital and training necessary to develop deux mains designs, an ethical fashion company, registered as a société anonyme in Haiti.

“deux mains” is a small footwear workshop in Port-au-Prince with about 20 employees and craftsmen that work together to create beautiful accessories with materials sourced in Haiti. “deux mains” started off with creating one simple sandal design. Now the atelier have expanded their creations to other accessories such as tote bags, clutches, earrings, passport holders to name a few.

The evolution of Deux Mains sandals

Over the years, the atelier invested in the research and development, and in the designs and aesthetics of sandals, wanting to create more appealing and wearable sandals. What were once plain and staple flip-flops are now sandals designed by Kenneth Cole and supermodel Heide Lindgren.

“Bèl Nanm” sandals designer by Heide Lingrend meaning “beautiful soul”

The Kenneth Cole “Love Haiti” for him sandals

While visiting the workshop, I had the privilege to meet and talk to a few employees. I was amazed at how passionate they are about what they do (some are even part shareholders in the company!) deux mains sandals are so beautifully crafted that you wouldn’t even think they are made with used car tires (believe me the fact that they are, makes them even more appealing!) I couldn’t help but wonder however, how I had never heard or seen them before. Sarah informed me that most of their sales are international and explained to me the difficulty she has penetrating the Haitian market. Surely such incredible work of art should be recognized locally as well. Therefore, I invite you to visit their atelier in Tabarre and check out their website deuxmains.com.

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Below are some employees’ testimonies:

Born and raised in upstate New York, Sarah Sandsted came to Haiti at age 19 to help her mom, a horticulturist, as a French language interpreter. After falling in Love with Haiti, she moved in 2008, as an English teacher in Les Cayes before leaving again to come back after the earthquake in 2011, and finally becoming part of deux mains designs in 2013.

“I believe really strongly that the fashion industry has the power to end poverty worldwide. The ethical fashion initiative is stepping up and challenging traditional fashion industry to make sure they are compensating people appropriately and using ethical practices. 20 families' lives have changed here at deux mains and our vision is to employ millions of people one day.” Sarah, VP.

 

“I used to have my own little cosmetics business before the earthquake. January 12th happened and I lost all of my hard work. Months later I met with Julie, founder of deux mains who employed me and I have been working with her ever since. This job means and represents everything to me. Over the years I bought a land, built my own home for my children and I, and now I am a part shareholder in the company. I love everything about this job and everything I do, my sandals are beautiful and I’m proud of being part of deux mains.” – Jolina.

 

"I’ve been at deux mains for 4 months. I intend to make the sandals even more beautiful than they are and help Haiti move forward. The pèpè business has been like bumps in the road for us but we are here to break the pèpè business.” Alexandre, cobbler.