Miami Fashion Week Adds New Elements to 11th Annual Event

By D. Channing Muller March 24, 2009, 10:45 AM EDT

Sabrina Barnett launched her Empowering Women collection on Thursday.

Photo: Gemetti Stefano/Model Work Style Press

The 11th annual Miami Fashion Week wrapped up Sunday at Soho Studios Miami, after six days of fashion shows, parties, and networking with the Miami Moda & Music Awards, cohosted by radio personality Ileana Garcia and MEGA TV's Alan Villafaña. A cocktail party for designers and press at the Gibson Guitar Showroom on March 17 marked the beginning of the confab, which brought more than 10,000 local and international buyers, designers, members of the media, and fashion-enthusiasts to the Wynwood arts district.

Beth Sobol, the event's founder and president of Sobol Fashion Productions Inc., put two new elements into the mix this year: the International Culinary Arts Pavilion and International Buyers' Salon, in addition to the regularly scheduled fashion shows, after-parties, and jewelry and accessories marketplace.

Each night at the pavilion, four local chefs served tasting of dishes from the country of that evening's presenting designer. “We've always had an art component to the weekwe have MOCA and [Romero] Britto involved this yearand now we are adding the culinary arts as well,” Sobol said.

Elgin Woodman, chef de cuisine for A Joy Wallace Catering Production and Design Teama pavilion sponsoron Thursday was the first chef to take part in the culinary initiative. Whole Foods Market and Johnson & Wales University also sponsored the pavilion.

The week's 60 designers displayed their wares at the International Buyers' Salon Friday through Sunday in the Loft at Soho. “It's our mini version of a European-style trade show that's only open to buyers and editors who want to get up close to the designers and their collections,” Sobol said.

Trend, retail, and business seminars were held Tuesday and Wednesday night prior to the fashion shows, which began on Thursday. The International Alliance of Specialty Fashion Retailers and the Council of International Fashion Designers, a cosponsor of Miami Fashion Week with Sobol Fashion, sponsored the salon for its three-day run.

The result? “Even in a tough economy, we had quite a few buyers come through. New contacts were made, and the designers were pleased with our first attempt,” Sobol said. “We're already getting ready for next year.”

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