Updated 02:56 pm EST, February 28, 2024

Published 03:41 pm EDT, August 6, 2023

Photography: SIMON SOONG

Yes We Can

By Alfonso de Hoyos-Acosta

Miami International University and AMER_ICAN successfully began Miami Fashion Week with its traditional inventive couture and joy of fashion straight from the student’s hearts.

By Alfonso de Hoyos-Acosta

Updated 02:56 pm EST, February 28, 2024

Published 03:41 pm EDT, August 6, 2023

Photography: SIMON SOONG

Miami International University of Art & Design (MIU) hosted its annual Swim Show on Thursday, June 18th 2023, during the opening of Miami Swim Week at Paraiso Miami Beach. Although multiple sponsors were in place, MIU partnered with AMER_ICAN, AVESSA Magazine, and Perry Ellis International to confer design awards with monetary gifts to three talented student designers.

Miami International University during Miami Swim Week 2023, featuring the AMER_ICAN collection.
Miami International University during Miami Swim Week 2023, featuring the AMER_ICAN collection.

“We’re excited for our students to showcase their hard work this year in combination with such fantastic organizations as AMER_ICAN and our other sponsors.” Says Oscar Lopez, Fashion Department Chair at Miami International University of Art & Design. The students did not disappoint the audience with their over 50 looks dedicated to swimwear and resort wear. Nonetheless, some students won special awards for their distinctive looks and inspirations.

Wood-Bloindy Mathurin, born in Haiti, won the AVESSA Editorial Award with her innovative takes on resort wear. Bloo’s inspiration was her culture’s vibrancy and the memories of her family’s elegance in dress. Bloo’s mother and aunts showed her how sophistication could be attained through simplicity and a calm, cool outlook on life. One of Bloo’s most delightful looks was an intricate bustier matched with a skirt filled with eyelets and a bikini bottom. 

Another outfit highlighted a shoulder-draped cover-up over a metallic swimsuit which hinted at a goddess slipping out from the sea with her flowing robe behind her. She doesn’t stop at womenswear; she also created her interpretation of a gorgeous men’s jumpsuit in a vivid African-inspired mustard, turquoise, and slate grey pattern. Bloo clothes represent Haiti’s beautiful beaches, vibrant art, and enchanting music. She stated, “My aesthetic reminds me of my homeland full of strong people who never give up.” Bloo already envisions her courtier brand, which will empower both men and women.

Wood-Bloindy Mathurin AVESSA EDITORIAL AWARD Winner

Ana Viteri won the Perry Ellis International Menswear award with gorgeous hand-created looks. Born in Ecuador, she used her grandmother’s guidance and teachings to incorporate intricate handmade details into her outfits. Ana also sweetly stated that her beloved pet dog was an instrumental inspiration that infused her work with the joy of summer. She hand-embroidered flowers and cleverly used bees throughout her clothes. One look, in particular, stood out with its honey-colored men’s long-sleeved jacket. It was used as a cover-up with cut-outs that simulated a honeycomb and contrasted with a perfectly tailored navy-blue swimsuit. Ana’s style is intertwined with her love for her family, Ecuador’s brilliant colorful summer, and hand-sewn details, which elevates her clothes into couture.

ANA VITERI PERRY ELLIS INTERNATIONAL MENSWEAR AWARD Winner

This year MIU Fashion Design students demonstrated their traditional couture beach wear and an homage to AMER_ICAN, a content creation agency. It is an organization that specializes in fostering a community inspired by its social and cultural content. AMER_ICAN is passionate about creating cultural content that can be tied to commercial and community use. Vesna Cremona, the CEO, and founder, was on hand to support the partnership with MIU and personally award one of the students. AMER_ICAN was initially introduced to MIU’s talented students through their cooperation in a campaign to highlight tolerance. 

Her organization’s goals are a natural connection to MIU since the school also prides itself on working with its local communities to highlight art, design, and creativity. MIU students have shown in the past that they are not only talented but have consistently thrown themselves into supporting community charities throughout the years. Vesna stated, “AMER_ICAN’s goal of bringing communities together with art is a powerful tool to engage their voices in co-creating a culture with their audience.” The organization cleverly requested the students to utilize AMER_ICAN’s star brand as an inspiration to create their innovative designs. Vesna was also delighted to bring establishment designers to support students in this venture. “After the pandemic, where we had all been suffering, I knew we could make a difference. An individual can inspire a community.”

The third award, presented by AMER_ICAN, was for Zechariah Singh. Zechariah’s family has a military background, specifically in the US Airforce. While he was born in Germany, he also lived in Japan, Turkey, Illinois, and Virginia and finally arrived in Florida 2 years ago. Zechariah is a storyteller and loves to challenge his perceptions. As a designer, he works to balance extremes such as beauty and aggravation. His designs are inspired by the tension in what he organically likes and dislikes. He stated, “If I don’t like something, I make myself study it and force myself to find the beauty in what I originally disliked.”

One inventive and stunning piece was based on mold, coordinated by the feel of seascapes. He said of the outfit, “It’s pretty and magenta. Currently, I have a little obsession with magenta. So, my mold dress is an homage to the color and the sea. I think it makes people happy.” Zechariah believes in that we are in a visual age that requires humans and the environment to coexist and convert each other symbiotically. He looks forward to being on a design team and, one day, a creative director. A collective of artists is where Zechariah is most comfortable.

ZECHARIAH SINGH AMER_ICAN COLLAB AWARD WINNER

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