The Sunshine Economy: Fashion

Aug 5, 2013

Rene Ruiz
Credit Tom Hudson

Rene Ruiz makes women's dresses. Fancy dresses. In the picture to the right, he is standing with a new spring 2014 design. Ruiz designs and makes them in Hialeah. Ruiz grew up here and as his fashion design business began taking off with merchandise showing up in Neiman Marcus stores, he decided he wanted to stay in South Florida.

Miami, especially, has a global fashion image, but Ruiz and others say that's not enough. They would like the region to attract and keep more fashion industry here. Island Company in West Palm Beach is a lifestyle company that has had to make its clothes overseas due to cost. Founder Spencer Antle has seen his business jump five fold in five years. With a half dozen stores now, Island Company plans on four new locations next year while its headquarters and heart remain in Palm Beach County.

Hear from Ruiz and Antle on Monday's Sunshine Economy.

Join host Tom Hudson every Monday at 9:00 a.m. for WLRN's ongoing series, The Sunshine Economy, a weekly look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse.
Credit WLRN

If Cubavera, Original Penguin by Munsingwear or Laundry by Shelli Segal hang in your closet, a South Florida company is represented in your wardrobe. Doral-based Perry Ellis International has grown beyond its namesake brand to include about a dozen other fashion brands, reflecting the global nature and consolidation of fashion. We talk with its chairman and CEO George Feldenkreis.

In Miami's Design District, you can see globalization at work.  Small local boutiques compete with giant names like Louis Vuitton and Prada. The big names have helped bring new customers to the smaller designers.

And we will hear from our Public Insight Network about South Florida's unique style. T-shirts and slacks? Flip-flops and platform heels?

QUESTION: What does South Florida fashion look like? Tell us.

You can show us as well by tagging photos on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SunshineEconomy.

Another way to reach us is by leaving a message at 305-330--9576 or tweeting us a mention on Twitter @WLRN using the same hashtag.