Talk of Miami fashion still prompts mentions of pastel blazers, even though that cultural reference is now over twenty years old. We've moved on, world. Take notice. But how best to describe Miami's street style?
One word, "effortless," says Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar, a Miami stylist who's worked for Dolce & Gabbana, Teen Vogue, and Women's Wear Daily. Shareen, who was born in Bangladesh, raised in New York, and lived in D.C., says our city's style is unlike anything she's seen.
"It's very fun and vibrant, and not afraid of color, which I've seen in a lot of cities where people just want to blend in. Other cities take themselves very seriously, under all those layers. Here, it's very like I'm going to get on my beach cruiser bike, put on some big sunglasses, and go to the beach."
Shareen came to Miami five years ago to get a degree in Fashion at the Art Institute, now Miami International University. She intended to enter the corporate fashion world but fell in love with the 305 and stayed. Now, with the help of her photographer/filmmaker husband (who also plays drums in Miami band Animal Tropical), Shareen's launching Vintage Mavens, an online shop with retro and original pieces she thinks epitomize
Miami's relaxed and retro style.
We poked and prodded her until she spilled all her secrets on where to find great vintage in Miami, the best local place to buy fabric, and how Miamians can score a discount at her online shop.
New Times: Any favorite thrift stores in Miami?
Shareen: This is actually one of my secrets. I go on CraigsList, which
has a fantastic garage sale section, so I don't really go to the thrift
shops any more. I used to.
Why did you stop?
One day I was just driving to one of my usual locations and there was a
man having a garage sale, sitting on his front lawn. He had a boat, and
all this art deco things, just an array of stuff, so I stopped. He
ended up being a man who worked with animal furs, and he had the most
gorgeous furs. So I thought: I should do this all the time. Not only do
you get to meet people that way, but you get to hear the story behind
these clothes. Usually, the pieces have been theirs since they were my
age. I totally prefer that to getting clothes off racks where I don't
know where it came from.
What's been your favorite find?
It was a vintage Nieman Marcus black, velvet cocktail dress with tiny
diamond sequins along these cream silk butterfly sleeves. I really
wanted to keep it.
What's the creative process for the Vintage Mavens originals?
I sketch, we come up with a color palette, we figure what fabric would
be favorable for the kind of silhouette I want, then we spend hours and
hours in fabric stores.
My mom is the genius behind it, most credit goes to her. Sewing has been a
long family tradition. Her mom taught her and it was just passed
along. She's very skilled and it's so easy for her, it's unbelievable.
I can sit there and watch her cut fabric and patterns for hours.
What's your favorite local fabric store?
The one that we really like is Ultra Fabrics on Bird Road. We love the
staff there. I don't speak Spanish but the ladies there all do. It's a
lot of pointing, laughing, and saying "Oh, we hope we got this right."
There's also a wealth of little shops downtown, but it's just a hassle
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vintage pieces or around $150 for handmade, one-of-a-kind originals. If you live in Miami, you can get 10% off your order.
Just message Shareen after you checkout and mention "LocalLove."