Best Miami Fashion Designers to Know Right Now

| August 30, 2016 | Style & Beauty Feature

From the white sands to the red carpet, the world is a little sexier thanks to Miami’s leading fashion designers. Ocean Drive scoured the studios, showrooms, and warehouses of South Florida’s booming style scene to find the local trendsetters who make the cut.



FROM LEFT: from top: Kicks from Fabrice Tardieu; styles from A’ Louest.

A’ Louest
Handmade in Italy and designed in Miami by Maya and Noa Lalo, two women whose love of fashion inspired them to create a line of footwear for men, A’ Louest shoes have an edge while embodying class and express complexity through simplicity. À’ l’ouest is French slang for someone a bit strange, and the brand’s creators proudly boast of a shoe that is blissfully “different.” 3069 Taft St., Hollywood, 866-750-8642

Del Toro
Seven years ago, after moving its manufacturing from Spain to Italy, this Miami-based company took the shoe game to a new level. “I wanted to see the DNA of a ‘sneakerhead’ in a well-made shoe,” says Matthew Chevallard, Del Toro’s president. The handmade kicks can be spotted on the feet of too many celebrities to count, including Shay Haley and artist Romero Britto. 2750 NW Third Ave., 305-571-8253

Fabrice Tardieu
Living in Miami is good for business, especially when actress Gabrielle Union is a fan of your work. “The start of my women’s sneaker line was in a big part due to her,” says Fabrice Tardieu. “She said if I did a women’s line exactly the same as the men’s, she would wear it.” Union did just that and more, sharing her adoration for the collection—featuring Tardieu’s feminine twist on his signature refined style—with her 6 million Instagram followers. 7221 NW Second Ave., Miami

Mark Chris
“Once I realized the shoes I wanted to wear didn’t exist, it became my purpose to create what I had pictured and bring it to the market,” says Mark Chris, whose fall collection of handmade Italian footwear will include driving loafers, a new slipper style, boots, and more for the sophisticated gentleman.



FROM LEFT: A diamond double-finger ring by Daniela Swaebe; A ring from Johanna D’Camp.

Daniela Swaebe
Inspired by nature and featuring mother-of-pearl, coral, and rare gemstones, Daniela Swaebe’s pieces can be described as “organic glamour,” like her 18 carat feather/moonstone diamond earrings and popular bangles ring.

Hayley Denman
Women love the pendants and necklaces created by Hayley Denman, a lingerie company owner turned jewelry designer specializing in precious metals and stones.

Jaimie Nicole
Known for bold beaded jewelry adored by the likes of WSVN’s Lynn Martinez and supermodel Adriana Lima, Jaimie Nicole plans to go chic and cutting edge this season with a delicate, minimalist line. Says designer Jaimie Shepard, “We’re trying to push the envelope and bring a little spice to the mix.” 4649 Ponce De Leon Blvd., 305-547-9803

Johanna D’Camp
After studying jewelry design in Florence and NYC and working for luxury giants like Harry Winston and De Beers, Johanna D’Camp combined her industry experience with her own classic style to create sensible, timeless everyday pieces.

Lola James
An Instagram post by Lauren Conrad and a sighting of Kendall Jenner wearing a personalized version led People magazine to call Lola James necklaces the hottest accessory of 2016. “The jewelry tells a story and provides unique meaning for the individual wearing it,” says designer Romi Alhalel.

Designer Alexis Dawn Geller gave a necklace to DJ Ruckus, who gave them to famous friends like Quincy Jones and Lenny Kravitz. In fact, the powerhouse DJ loved the designs so much, he decided to collaborate with Geller on Ruckus for Roxhouse, edgy pieces meant to be rocked by men and women alike.

Become a #Taudreygirl and sport a gold autograph plate, a wine-glass charm for your vino, or a When in Rome cuff, handmade by Tiffany Dominguez, whose elegant, personalized brand is worn by top style bloggers like Olivia Rodriguez. She’s got men’s stuff, too (think money clips, tie bars, and cuff links). 147 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, 305-402-5090

Turchin Jewelry
Featuring handmade beaded bracelets, rope necklaces, and fine jewelry with a bohemian vibe— inspired by Tibetan monks—Turchin Jewelry is the love child of Theresa and Tommy Turchin, a former Elite model and a Miami Beach nightclub veteran now crafting singular jewelry. 1900 Purdy Ave., 305-573-7117



FROM LEFT: The Nomadic Collector’s Ball & Chain Double Nazareno; The Apilotis from Wanderlista.

Adriana Castro
With influences including Coco Chanel and Frank Lloyd Wright, Adriana Castro’s collection features classic and structured handbags with a graphic twist and a pop of color, as well as dashing hats loved by fashion icons Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lopez.

Michael Saiger was selling his line of men’s accessories out of his University of Miami dorm room when the hip Lincoln Road retailer Base fell in love with them and launched a brand that is now sold in 40 states and 36 countries. Along with its highly coveted custom-made anchor rope bracelets, cuffs, and Italian leather goods, the collection includes handcrafted watches, women’s jewelry, and chic travel bags. “For fall we introduced a new finish—rhodium—that gives the silver a strong gray look,” says Saiger, who adds that the women’s tension cuff and the men’s M24 II watch are items to seek out. “Everything is in line with the brand: strong lines and a modern sleek look.” Next up for the made-in-Miami collection? Look for exotic skins in the near future. 1800 N. Miami Ave., 305-375-8132

The Nomadic Collector
Using high-quality, sustainably sourced materials like carbon-neutral leather and reforested wood from Costa Rica, Stefani De La O’s designs help preserve the planet while keeping you on trend.

Regine Chevallier
Known as the “Hat Lady to the Stars,” Regine Chevallier creates fedoras, panama hats, and resort headwear that can be seen on Miami’s world-traveling social elite. The designer’s versatile headpieces are perfect when vacationing on the white-sand beaches of Cabo or strutting down the streets of Paris.

The convergence of form and function led to Wanderlista’s signature collapsible top-handle bag, and this fall the company debuts its Transparency line of nearly invisible beach bags and clutches. Says founder Andria Mitsakos, “I think it’s wildly progressive, a contemporary exhibit of design ingenuity married with traditional craftsmanship.”



FROM LEFT: Oscar Garcia-Lopez, Rene Ruiz, and Ema Savahl’s Summer/ Autumn collection.

Alexis Barbara
A family vacation to the Mediterranean in 2008 inspired Alexis, the contemporary women’s collection launched by the mother-daughter duo of Ana and Alexis Barbara. An evolving line of dresses and resortwear that reflects their island-hopping lifestyle, it’s a favorite of style icons like supermodel Heidi Klum and pop star Taylor Swift. “I wanted to start a line that is true to who I am, a reflection of my life and style,” says Alexis Barbara, who divulges that the collection’s winter palette will include a touch of purple and mint green. “Miami has always been my home, and its mix of culture, color, and the emerging art scene has been influential.” 5000 SW 75th Ave., 305-665-6336

Producing travel clothing that’s lightweight and wrinkle-free, Kate and Shawn Boyer use the finest fabrics from France and Italy to ensure that you look pristine and feel comfortable while trotting the globe. Anatomie’s slogan sums it up perfectly: “The world is your runway—dress for it.” 6701 NE Fourth Ave., 305-576-1900

Ema Savahl
Onetime professional volleyball player and model Ema Koja jumped into the role of designer to create “wearable works of art” that are red-carpet-ready for the likes of Katy Perry and Roselyn Sanchez. 7151 NW Sixth Ct., 305-754-6717

Naeem Khan
You probably know Naeem Khan from the ornate gowns he has designed for such esteemed women as First Lady Michelle Obama (who tapped the Indian-American designer for her first state dinner), Queen Noor of Jordan, and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Carried by more than 200 retailers around the world, Khan’s dresses are indeed designed for the powerful woman. The new Fall collection is “inspired by New York City [and] its Art Deco past,” he says, but a Miami studio is in the works, so expect a new inspiration soon as his company relocates its operations to the 305. “It has always been my dream to make my work a happy, fun, and playful place,” says Khan. “The Naeem Khan Miami facility will be that space.”

Oscar Carvallo
Oscar Carvallo’s love of fabric and design began while he was studying at Domus Academy in Milan. But it was growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, and moving to Paris after graduation that ultimately inspired him to create his namesake couture brand, now sold internationally. The fall collection mixes futuristic materials with elegant cuts and the icy colors of winter, but the heat of Carvallo’s passion begins with his appreciation of the past. “The French couture and images from the history of fashion have always been an inspiration,” he says, noting that moving to Miami has added another influence. “Arriving to Miami is discovering a new woman—a woman who loves elegance and feeling chic.” By appointment only, 201 NW 37th St., Miami, 786-483-7578

Oscar Garcia-Lopez
At age 12, Under the Gunn star Oscar Garcia-Lopez created his first dress from his mother’s curtains. Today his work is fit for celebs working the red carpet or attending high-society events.

Dress smart 24/7 with Peony, an athleisure brand that pops with bold colors, lively prints, and flattering fabrics that let you go from the yoga studio to happy hour without a wardrobe change.

Rene Ruiz
Cuban-born designer Rene Ruiz calls Miami “an A-list city,” and his classic gowns and short dresses have been hugging the hips of celebrities since the ’90s. Says Ruiz, “The real talent lies in converging timeless elegance with new technology and trends.” 370 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, 305-445-2352

Style Mafia
A feature on Refinery29 helped launch this young fashionista brand, which releases an über-trendy collection every two months. “It keeps us current with what’s going on in the present moment,” says founder Simonett Pereira. Its Wynwood boutique (now accessible through the online retailer ASOS) always has cool events, both local and national. 2324 NW Fifth Ave., 786-801-0319



CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Designs from RalphyPablo’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection; Tanya Marie; Bammies; Lisu Vega; Jeux De Vie Designs.

The brainchild of Rosario Chozas and Julia Ford-Carther, Bammies fuses business with “jammies,” creating the perfect combination of professional style and effortless ease—all day long.

Crish Designs
Award-winning designer Cristina Hoyos, who placed second in Swarovski’s “Create Your Own Style” competition, allows you to create your own style as well—by adding a charming touch to any outfit with gold and silver hand-woven earrings and rings that look like psychedelic masterpieces.

Houston Graeff
Brazilian model Martha Graeff and behind-the-scenes beauty Esther Houston partnered to design and curate a cool collection of fashion items and accessories that every woman should have in her wardrobe. With each piece a limited edition, you’re guaranteed to be unrivaled at any party.

Lisu Vega
From vivid ready-to-wear dresses that have been shown during New York Fashion Week to a line of accessories that is 100-percent organic and inspired by the practice of recycling, Lisu Vega turns the act of dressing into principled art.

Jeux De Vie Designs
Whether you’re hitting South Beach or jet-setting to a luxe Caribbean destination, sisters Olga and Maria Alexandra’s one-of-a-kind line—including the beaded “la playa” collection—is a must if you want to stay sexy on the sand.

Fresh on the scene, designer Rafael Aguirre’s first men’s line features Italian wool peacoats, edgy bomber jackets, and versatile pieces like a classic white button-down that you can mix and match with the rest of your closet.

Sebastien James
Crafting swank menswear for the sharp-dressed, Sebastien James delivers well-constructed, all-purpose attire that’s beloved by stars like singer Alejandro Sanz.

Tanya Marie
From avant-garde gowns to risqué resortwear to a Zen collection and even bridal couture, celebrity stylist, designer, and former Miami Heat dancer Tanya Marie has something for every occasion. 6709 Biscayne Blvd., 305-438-2854

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