By Ina Paiva Cordle
Get ready for the world’s largest celebration of fashion Thursday evening, when stores and malls across South Florida offer special promotions, runway shows, musical performances, designer and celebrity guest appearances, food and other festivities.
Fashion’s Night Out, in its third year, is promising its biggest party yet, geared to promote the fashion industry and give shoppers a reason to spend money, have fun and enjoy the newest looks for the fall season — while sipping a cocktail, of course.
“The idea is to create experiences that bring people to fashion in a different way than they have before,” said Susan Portnoy, New York-based spokeswoman for Fashion’s Night Out.
Conceived by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, the event started in 2009 in New York as a way to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence and boost the industry’s economy during the recession. It has since grown to include stores in more than 250 U.S. cities and 18 countries, including Brazil, China and Japan, Portnoy said.
For the first time, online retailers have joined in the celebration, allowing shoppers to enjoy special promotions at more than 200 e-commerce sites.
Also this year, Miami has become a special host city for Fashion’s Night Out, joining a list of fashion capitals like Milan, Paris, New York and London, said Pamela Fuertes, vice president of international economic development for the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development agency.
“We’re excited, because it is great to have Miami on the roster of official host cities,” Fuertes said. “It draws attention to the existing fashion industry and retail industry that is here, and for us that is a huge opportunity. We’re working very hard at branding and promoting the county as a fashion hub for companies.”
South Florida retailers will be in on the action, from luxury boutiques in the Miami Design District and Bal Harbour Shops to department stores in Aventura Mall and the Village of Merrick Park, and lots of other stores, in between.
“Shopping is fun,” said Fashion Night Out’s Portnoy. “And we want people who have the disposable income to come out and certainly spend what makes sense for their budget.”