Sisters Kalani and Oleema Miller, the founders of Mikoh, remember their swimwear brand’s first fashion show in The Magic City.

Scenes from Mikoh’s inaugural Swim Week fashion show, in 2014, all photographs courtesy of Mikoh

OLEEMA MILLER: Miami is the epitome of bikini living, and showing Mikoh there at Miami Swim Week [formerly Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim] was something Kalani and I had dreamt about since day one of starting our swimwear brand. About four years after launching, we decided to do our first runway show in July 2014.

KALANI MILLER: We spent weeks working on the application and presentation for [the event’s organizer] IMG, and were so nervous we’d be rejected. But, within five minutes [of submitting our application], IMG replied: We’ve been waiting for you! It was such a proud moment.

OM: Our show was on a Saturday night, inside a clear tent on the beach outside The Raleigh Hotel.

KM: Everyone prepared for it as much as possible, but we could not have anticipated the amount of work — or the curve balls — that we’d face.

OM: We had to figure out the show’s theme, how to style the looks, and what music to play. You did the seating chart, which was a stressful nightmare.

KM: There are just so many different aspects as far as production goes.

OM: We showed Mikoh’s 2015 South Pacific Collection, inspired by the culture of the South Pacific Islands. A diverse group of models was cast; we were proud to have so many different types of girls. I styled each outfit — some may call me a control freak, but I had a clear vision of how I wanted the girls to appear — and actually sent the girls down the runway myself. Our friends, who are deejays in Australia, flew to Miami to [curate] the music, which was one of the more stressful aspects, since the songs had to be timed to the models’ walk.

KM: On the night of the show, our venue was overcapacity. The fire marshall was threatening to shut us down!

OM: There was a crowd outside the tent peering in to get a glimpse of the runway. Having people actually show up to see something that we had worked on privately for months was very special — not just for you and me, but for everyone that’s part of Mikoh.

KM: All of our hard work paid off the moment the lights came on, the music started, and the models hit the runway.

OM: I wanted to cry afterward. We felt like our brand was finally established in the swimwear industry. But the coolest part was sharing that special moment — the culmination of years of work — with my sister.

— as told to The Thick

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