I am always on the lookout for great resort wear. After checking out several of the shows from PARAISO Miami Beach at Swim Fashion Week a few weeks back, I rounded up five of my favorite emerging resort wear designers that should definitely be on your radar.
“Since its inception, the main focus of PARAISO Miami Beach (the official industry platform for the annual event) has been the growth of the swimwear, beachwear, and resort wear industry. Bringing the in-person platform back to life is critical to rebuilding the fashion economy after a tiring 16-month run through the pandemic,” Natalija Dedic Stojanovic, co-founder of PARAISO tells me. “This season we’re here to support designers who have struggled the past year to reestablish the business and give them a stage to flourish once again.”
When I ask Stojanovic how the event came into existence she tells me that she started producing shows over 15 years ago under the name FUNKSHION when trade shows simply weren’t enough to bring collections to life and showcase them to buyers. “Throughout the years the event was steadily growing, but it was in 2017 when we realized the need to rebrand the platform, elevate the program and fully open the door to resort wear, and lifestyle experiences. Today, if I am trying to describe PARAISO Miami Beach, it is more an international fashion festival than a traditional fashion week, open for industry, media and consumer audience.”
In addition to showcasing established brands, PARAISO is also a platform for emerging brands.” Emerging designers are those that are bringing the change,” explains Stojanovic. “They see fashion and life with different eyes and are starting their journey free of any limitations that established brands picked up along the way. Only true fusion of both can balance out and create the organic pivot the fashion industry needs, and when I say change I am talking about sustainability, freedom of creativity, equality, diversity, and inclusion.”
PARAISO also partnered up with Procolumbia to showcase several of the Columbia’s top swim and resort wear brands including Ancora, Bahama Mama, Mar de Lua, Mola Mola, Naranja Furcado, Palmacea, PQ Swim, Smeralda and others presented their SS21/22 collections with Destination: Columbia.
“Colombia is one of the strongest swimwear hubs in the world,” Stojanovic tells me. “The number of designers, and quality of design, fabric and manufacturing is outstanding. The work that Procolombia, the Colombian government agency is doing to support their designers and brands is incredible. It goes beyond their duty, you see the faith and commitment they put in to help these brands grow and flourish. You feel blessed when you have a partner like Procolombia who shares the same vision, the goals are achieved faster if you work as a team.” Procolumbia President, Flavia Santoro adds, “We partner with PARAISO Miami Beach, to present the most innovative Colombian brands to buyers and the national press through this multifaceted fashion initiative and experience, Destination: Colombia.”
Mar de Lua
Mar de Lua is a 100% Columbian brand founded by Carolina Diazgranados five years ago and offers a variety of both swim and resort wear that’s timeless. “We design energetic , stylish swimwear and resort wear inspired by women and the sea,” explains Diazgranados. “Our pieces are created to fit perfectly and highlight the beauty of the female silhouette thanks to our innovative designs and smart fit that flatters any body type. Our resort wear is designed not only to be worn to the beach, but also for daily life. Our versatile pieces such as skirts & kimonos are created in flowy fabrics and may be worn and matched with jeans, shorts and tanks to stylish a beach look into a street look.”
Sustainability is a cornerstone for the Mar de Lua. “We are convinced that sustainable fashion is possible! Our future is not disposable and it depends on what we do today,” Diazgranados emphatically tells me. “All our swimwear and trunk shorts are made with recycled polyester fabrics from PET bottles, our prints are made with biodegradable inks and UV 50 protection to promote a more conscious and responsible lifestyle.
Buki Ade launched Bfyne back in 2015 and describes her brand as ‘a love letter to Africa.’ “Born and raised in a traditional Nigerian household, working class home nurtured and shaped my entrepreneurial skills from an early age,” Ade tells me. “I was always surrounded by colors, culture and I soaked it in like a sponge. I was inspired by my culture at a young age. I was gifted my first sketch book at the age of 12 and feel in love with designing clothes and textiles. I would actually say its in my blood. Two of my aunts are fashion designers and I looked up to them both, they were my superheroes.”
Bfyne offers an array of clothing and swim and resort wear options in bold, vibrant colors and prints. “Bfyne’s aesthetic is definitely ‘extra’ and always inspired by my childhood in Africa—the sunrises, fabrics, and agricultural silhouettes will forever give way to the brand. I’m always just paying homage to Africa’s authenticity, and just the overall sweetness of life. The lifestyle that we live in Africa is just very carefree. My collection, showcased at the main tent of Miami Swim Week on Friday, featured dozens of eye-catching pieces modeled by a group of Black models, something that is especially important to me.”
Founded by Johana Contreras and Sara Opsina, Smeralda is a Columbian-based brand that launched in 2016 and has become known for offering timeless luxury staples at a fair price. “We design our own prints and use ECO fabrics, including 81% recycled thread from fishing nets and bottles recovered from the sea,” Contreras tells me. “Not only do we produce as many reversible swimwear suits (roughly 90% percent of their suits are reversible) as possible to reduce environmental impact and waste, but also our bikini bags are made from organic cotton which can be reused. Additionally, our paper bags and labels are made from sugar cane processing by-products.”
The brand currently launches two collections per year and in addition to swim and resort wear, Smeralda offers options for men and children. “We created a special line with designs similar to their corresponding collections to create a unified family vibe,’ explains Ospina. “Resort launches every July at Swim Week Miami and is on the market from September to February. Spring-Summer, which launches every October or November, is out from March until August.”
Created by model, entrepreneur, and tv personality, Nicole Williams-English, Nia Lynn is a luxury swim collection that launched in 2017. “I started designing when I was traveling all over the world for modeling jobs. I saw a hole in the marketplace for something that is sexy in cut and design but also made to fit all different body types,” shares Williams-English. She tells me that everyone of her brand’s designs are inspired by all of the diverse the women in her life. “Ideally, I want everyone who buys this line to feel sexy and confidant in the pieces while being comfortable and stylish enough to go from day to night using the matching mesh overlays.”
The swimwear collection includes a range of high-cut one-pieces, string bikinis, and strapless bandeaus. “The ready-to-wear styles are perfect to take you from beach to beach club featuring printed mesh wrap dresses, button-downs and wide-leg trousers in bold geometric prints,” Williams-English tells me. The entire collection is fun with bold prints and has a retro, yet modern aesthetic. “We really tried to put a superior level of attention to detail and create a range of styles with a focus on fit and fabrication.”
Founded by sisters, Adriana and Ana Dangond, who were born in Santa Marta, Columbia, Mola Mola offers a variety boldly printed designs in both swim and resort wear for women, men, and children. “Growing up by the Caribbean Sea of Colombia, we were always drawn to the vibrant colors and spontaneity of laid-back living,” shares Adriana, who is the brand’s designer. “Our bold prints and lively color combinations are created in-house, making each design unique to our brand. They’re made to make a statement!”
With the growing need to explore her creative vision as a designer, Adriana partnered up with her sister, Ana Cecilia, to bring her ideas to life. “The main goal was to merge impeccable fit with unique, caribbean-inspired prints that were appropriate for young families to shop and wear together,” continues Adriana. Mola Mola is an ethical brand. When I ask what that means to them Ana tells me, “In addition to utlizing recycled materials for our designs, we also support women in business, providing employment opportunities to women that are heads and providers of their family.”