After pulling out of the event completely last year following a decade of involvement, sources indicate that IMG will be returning to Miami Swim Week this year in a limited capacity. This July's iteration — done for the first time under the IMG-WME partnership — is set to involve a "curated" schedule that will possibly include "luxury brands." IMG declined to comment on the record for this story.
As of yet, some brands that planned on showing as a part of the week under IMG's designation are in a period of uncertainty. Under the condition of anonymity, teams at both international and U.S.-based labels claim that while there has been an ongoing conversation, little has been confirmed; most even go so far as to say that IMG has yet to even confirm whether their brands will be involved at all.
"I have confirmation from production companies that [my brands] will be involved," CeCe Feinberg, owner of Feinberg PR said via phone — referring to LDJ and SDI who typically provide support to IMG. When asked whether IMG has reached out with any firm plans, Feinberg said they had not. The firm works with about six brands that are planning to be involved with Miami Swim Week. "I haven't heard anything from IMG specifically."
Last year when they pulled out, a source familiar with IMG's plans told Fashionista that their 2016 presence was on track to be stronger than before; the title sponsor was taking the year off in order to fully organize and would touch down this year with a greater variety in venue and show format, as well as involvement from WME's roster of on-air talent. Now, a source indicates that this year's lineup will be much tighter than in years past, bringing in "luxury" brands. In addition, there's the possibility of non-swim brands debuting their resort collections in Miami.
Among the proposed new venues are the Faena Hotel, W Hotel and 1 Hotel, as the venue that IMG has used in the past (the Raleigh) has been purchased by Tommy Hilfiger and is undergoing renovations. While the conversations are still underway, brands like Valentino, Versace and Mara Hoffman have been cited as possible participants, and as with other fashion weeks, IMG is expected to handle press registration.
The inclusion of resort collections is surprising: In October, IMG announced that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia was to become the "global destination for resort collections commencing May 2016." In the accompanying release, the company stated that the event would "become the first event to host an annual, organized showcase of Resort collections." As that event is in May, it will be interesting to see how the events complement one another.
But for some, IMG's plans are meaningless. Last year, Chromat debuted a collection during Miami Swim Week as a part of the DIVE Preview event. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund-nominated label will return this year as the event has been slightly rebranded to DIVE Swim Week, situated on Miami Beach (instead of in Wynwood like last year). Two or three other brands will join Chromat designer Becca McCharen in rounding out that schedule. That team told Fashionista "We're pretty firm with this year's vision for DIVE," when asked whether IMG would impact their process.
Funkshion Fashion Week will also push on, likely without any interference from IMG. Expected to release its lineup early next week, Funkshion is a triannual event that typically includes over 40 shows. This season's edition will be held July 13-17, centered around a custom-built runway tent on South Beach, according to a press release. In addition to the tent, the production will include shows at the Setai hotel and the Nautilus Hotel, either poolside or in a courtyard space. Buyers will also be in attendance as SwimShow, the world's largest swimwear trade show, will still happen July 16-19.
IMG is expected to make an official announcement within the next two weeks.