Meet the Emerging Designers That Totally Killed It at Miami Swim Week 2016

One of Miami’s most beloved fashion events, Miami Swim Week has long been regarded as the platform for swimwear designers to showcase their designs to a market that’s perennially clad in bikinis. And while internationally recognized swimwear designers like Mara Hoffman, Agua Bendita, and Gottex show up every year to present their Resort collections, there’s plenty of emerging talent strutting their designs down the runway, too. From local to international, fresh out of school or well on their way to being a household name, these are the five designers poised to become the next big thing in the fashion landscape.

Misha Nonoo
Misha Nonoo arrived to Miami Swim Week with an arsenal of designers from the CFDA Fashion Incubator: She joined shoe designer Isa Tapia and jewelry maker Deszo by Sara in a special collaboration for the WET Deck Collection by W Hotels.

“The inspiration was a photo taken by W Vieques in Puerto Rico. We all went together for a weekend to get to know each other, and Sara took a photo of a gorgeous sunset, so I used that as my color palette,” the designer told New Times.

In addition to presenting her bright gold kaftan designed exclusively for the W’s WET Deck Collection, Misha showed looks from her upcoming Resort 2016 collection, which featured matching separates in Italian jacquard, and dresses made of denim and Japanese lace. “My whole thing is dressing from day to play - we have such busy lives and more and more women are working during the day, going out in the evening, I think the modern woman needs to be functional,” she said.

Caroline Autenreich
Autenrich landed in Miami from her native Germany to study Fashion Design at Miami International University for Art & Design. Last year, she was chosen as a finalist in the Emerging Designer Series, where her vintage-inspired designs stole the show.

As the winner of last year’s design contest, Caroline got a chance to showcase a collection of runway-ready looks, and we were totally blown away by her 1950s-inspired collection, featuring gingham prints, peplum tops, and tea-length skirts in rich fabrics.

“I’m learning so much, and I know this experience is going to be really useful later on in my career,” she said. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that we can shop her designs in Miami sometime soon.

Julian Chang
Miami designer Julian Chang is known for his signature 305 style: his designs usually feature louder-than-life prints and pops of colors in provocative shapes and slinky fabrics. The Peru native came to Miami to major in Fashion Design and set up shop on Biscayne Boulevard just a few years ago, calling Miami his ultimate muse. Chang’s Resort 2016 was no exception to his usual aesthetic, but elevated a notch with head-to-toe lace, disco-ball fabrics, and cut-out, curve hugging swimsuits.

Luis Aponte
Luis Aponte is no stranger to the runway – he had a chance to showcase his designs at the Fall/Winter Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2014, and during Funkshion Fashion Week in Miami Beach. This year, the burgeoning designer received yet another honor, as the winner of the Emerging Designer Series.

“We were looking for something different that we hadn’t seen before, something with a little ingenuity” said Danny Santiago, one of the judges as well as a prolific stylist who's worked in film and TV. Aponte’s sheer overlays and sequined lace jumpsuit was just the thing, and he may have sparked a new wave in Miami style.

Mohini Swim
Mohini Swim’s motto? A woman should never feel constrained by her swimsuit. Perhaps that’s why they seemed so eager to show some skin at this first-ever Swim Week presentation, held on the Shelborne’s marine deck. The emerging local label prides itself on using the highest quality fabrics so suits remain durable yet totally fierce. We especially loved the hot pink geometric print one piece, which evoked '90s Pamela Anderson for the modern-day beach babe.

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Nicole Martinez
Contact: Nicole Martinez