Cottage Miami's interior — Photo courtesy of Cottage Miami
As Miami's neighborhood districts continue to develop their distinctive identities, so do their retail tenants. From the mural-laden Wynwood Arts District to a revitalized downtown Miami, these evolving local cultures have created a shopping demand that was nonexistent just five years ago.
In other words, shopping here is no longer limited to neon screen tees or palm-printed button ups; day-to-day purchases, souvenir options and gift selections have all gotten an overdue upgrade.
In Miami Beach, the budding Sunset Harbour sector has welcomed menswear haunt Cottage and made-in-Miami line Peace Love World. On Ocean Drive, the Miami Design Preservation League houses the Official Art Deco Gift Shop, garnering attention from Art Deco savants, vintage lovers and residents.
Shop director Iris Chase says tourists normally come in seeking an architecture book, but they're swept away by the custom-made hotel replicas, original mid-century pictorial ads and unique jewelry.
"Our customers tell us they return year after year for our specialness, to find something that they cannot find anywhere else," adds Chase.
In downtown Miami, newly minted condos, museums and restaurants have led to a forthcoming redevelopment initiative. This newfound attention is being realized with retail outposts like Lost Boy Dry Goods, whose high-to-low denim selection and kitschy cool stock reflects the area's future direction.
This year also welcomes South Florida's independently owned book retailer, Books & Books, to the Adrienne Arsht Center. Also, at the Perez Art Museum Miami, exhibit-inspired, quirky items have infiltrated the gift shop, including geometric accessories and conversation-worthy home goods.
The Wynwood Walls' GO! Shop — Photo courtesy of Brustman Carrino Public Relations / Wynwood Walls
To the northwest of downtown Miami in Wynwood, the Wynwood Walls catalyzed a now internationally recognized arts district. Miami-based shops and brands – the likes of which include Plant the Future, Del Toro Shoes, Sprout, MVM Miami and Style Mafia – moved in next to the sprouting warehouse galleries, thus creating a hub for only-in-Miami items.
Meanwhile, Wynwood Walls' GO! Shop sells pieces by their past and present artists, as well as books and clothing celebrating the city's street art resuscitation.
Even Panther Coffee – whose flagship location met nationally noted success – continues to offer take-home, in-house-only packagings of its small batch specialties.
Nearby, the Design District has become a luxury label mecca, toting Cartier, Louis Vuitton and a soon-to-be-opened Tom Ford store. Adjacent, Midtown Miami offers a more commercially powered experience – think Target and Guess – sprinkled with independent shops like RaMona LaRue.
To the north, the Miami Modern District and Upper East Side don several mid-century decor shops like Modshop, as well as boutiques and thrift stores. Fly Boutique, Rebel and HiNT are among the local go-tos. At the 55th Street Station, designer duds can be snagged at The Consignment Bar.
South Florida-based online spaces have also felt the love. Kalla, an upscale bouquet delivery service, recently rolled into the South Florida market with sister city, Chicago. These sassy arrangements have gained steam through limited edition collaborations and irresistible holiday-themed florals.
The success of jewelry line Lil Miss Miami – which playfully celebrates "The Magic City" – also solidifies this retail shift: Annie Vazquez, founder of The Fashion Poet, co-created Lil Miss Miami with TAudrey's Tiffany Ortiz.
"Women of all ages love it. Those that have visited or once lived here all want a piece of Miami to keep close to their heart, and this collection helps them do just that," says Vazquez. "There wasn't anything like it [before], and these last six months [since debuting the collection] have been exhilarating for us."
She also nods to her fellow fashion trailblazers: "It's been exciting to watch locals cultivate their lines over the years and grow to be carried across national chains. Now there's everything from shoe brands like MIA, clothing like Alexis, makeup like Beauty For Real, swimwear such as Luli Fama and more – all proving that Miami is on the map when it comes to shopping."