MIAMI IS EMERGING AS AMERICA’S NEXT FASHION CITY
The Design District's luxury retailers, a new fashion education program and Naeem Khan's plans to relocate his headquarters are only the beginning.
With Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton among his clients, Naeem Khan, one could say, is a prime example of the American dream. He moved from India to New York City in the late '70s to work under Halston, garnering the knowledge and experience to launch his own namesake line in 2003. Miami, however, didn't catch his attention until about five years later, when he and his wife Ranjana bought a home in the Floridian city. "As a designer, I travel the world, and I definitely felt an energy that attracted me to [Miami.] I felt it could be a future big city, like a mega city," says Khan.
With a desire to give back to the country that continues to drive his career, Khan is leading a charge to reinvigorate Miami's fashion industry roots. Several decades ago, the city had thriving neighborhoods known for manufacturing garments. But as production started to move overseas, so did the jobs. Today, Miami's association with fashion has more to do with nightlife and swimwear. (A new, higher-end Miami Swim Week is set to take place in July.) But Khan hopes to expand our perception of the city with plans to build his company's future headquarters, a 70,000-square-foot space, along the Miami River. By late 2018 or early 2019, his design, production, licensing and more will take place in Miami. "I'm not saying it's an easy task. It's a huge amount of investment," says Khan. And it's an investment that's gained the support of both the county and city mayor, according to the designer. "A city needs business related to production to create jobs," he says. "We are creating jobs and bringing in a whole industry."