Attending a fashion week that is not part of the “classic” circuit of fashion weeks is always an interesting experience, because everything is very different from what we are used to, and very often, things happen differently from what we would expect. In Miami’s case, I was expecting bold colors, breathtaking locations and lots of celebrities: what actually surprised me most was the total absence of streetstyle photographers, because Miami’s fashion shows are all hosted in the same large tensile structure, and they all take place after 6pm.

The calendar included designers from all over the place, not just from Florida, and the most striking for me were the young brands whose designers came from Central and South America.

Shantall Lacayo is one of them, she came to Miami Fashion Week from Nicaragua, thanks to her government’s help: the Nicaraguan government is trying to help young designers gain more recognition abroad and especially in the US. Her collection is very colorful and seductive, it hints at the 1970s, with retro prints and lots of interesting details, like the hand-painted Converse shoes that gave a final touch to her men and women’s looks, which the designer painted personally.

Yirko Sivirich, from Lima, was another brand that attracted my attention. His collection was all inspired by the sea: men walked the runway with surfboards, while girls wore bikini and one-piece swimsuits in peculiar cuts that made them absolutely suitable to be worn as tops. Beautiful!

Silvia Tcherassi‘s work was also striking, especially because her heavily embroidered wicker bags really won my heart, but also because of her clothing’s structure, very fluid, yet with cuts and knots that still give them some sophistication.

The most interesting part of the show was the first day, though, which was all dedicated to the topic of ecology and featured a special guest, Antonio Banderas. Banderas has been working with Miami Fashion Week for 20 years, trying to change the country’s mentality. In Florida, as well as in the rest of the world, recycling is not at all common and oceans are filled with waste that damages this fragile ecosystem. ECOALF is one of the few brands that focuses on recycling: they originally started by repurposing used fishermen nets — fishermen change their nets every 5 years, but they never take old ones back to the shore with them, as they have to pay a tax to get rid of them. The result is that they usually decide to let them sink in the sea. ECOALF started creating clothing from this leftover cotton, and then they also started making shoes from old plastic bottles. The most interesting aspect is that this brand doesn’t just reuse materials, it also aims to educate people, working with fishermen and locals, and organizing programs to foster environmental education. Very interesting and relevant, not just for Florida but for the entire world!

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