Miami Swim Week isn’t known for its kid-friendly shows.
Like every summer’s events, this year’s fashion shows, which featured the likes of Badgley Mischka, Sports Illustrated, Luli Fama, and Baes & Bikinis, among others, are geared towards adults, with bikini-clad models strutting down the runway in high-fashion and beach-ready looks that show off major skin.
So, it’s not every day that you see a kids’ swimwear collection pop up. But 7-year-old Sunni Dai and her mom, Latisch Roach, saw an opportunity to bring something different to the week. Together, they put on Sunni Dai Kids Fashion Week Miami, a bi-annual runway showcase that introduces kids’ fashion brands for toddlers to teens. It’s a full fashion show moment (and it’s adorable), with kids lining up behind a curtain and walking down the runway in designs made for them. It’s not just swimwear for kids, but a full fashion show with dresses, denim, and more too.
“Are you scared?” a bright-eyed, little girl clad in a bright one-piece asked another girl who was about to walk out on the runway. “No,” the little girl responded with confidence. The show was held in the Wynwood Arts District, away from most of the other shows, with parents and kids packing a glass dome for to see the kids’ collections.
“This means a lot to me,” Dai, who wore a dotted one-shoulder one-piece with her brown curly hair pulled up into a top bun told us, adding that her favorite part of the show is “walking on the runway.” She also let us in on a secret, saying she only practices once before walking out.
“This is a very diverse group,” Roach said of the models for the show. “It’s very important. We actually created the program because there was no us on the runway. So, it was very important for us to put us on the runway, but to also put all ethnicities on the runway as well. We just wanted to create something so that we were able to have a lane of our own, but also not take away from what fashion really is. We have multi-racial kids in the show too. We’re in a city that is a melting pot. That’s the reason why we created the show.”
As for how the show comes together, the mother-daughter duo collaborates to bring it to life. “I pretty much do a lot of the production work and Sunni does all the creative work behind the scenes, like what she wants the decor to be, what she wants the clothes to be. She actually looks for some of the designers,” Roach continued.
“She goes through the children’s clothes too. So, she’s very involved. This year we’re actually gonna cast a segment of dedicated to her grandmother. So, you’ll see colors that represent all different types of cancer. It’s more educational for us and for her. Losing her grandmother at such a young age, she didn’t know what it meant. So, we wanted to make sure other children did too.”
Roach also makes sure to instill integrity in Dai, adding that she also makes sure to let her know to “be confident, know who you are, love who you are, and embrace your big hair.”
“She has big curly hair,” Roach continued. “So I try to have her embrace all those things and just love who she is. She sees all these different kids that don’t look like her, but treat her the same. And so that’s very important for me to teach her don’t judge people by the way they look. Treating everybody the same and that nobody sees her different when she’s on the runway.”
As the kids strolled down the runway, they were beaming with confidence as they showed off the clothes to applause from the crowd. It was a runway filled with diversity, as Roach said, with kids of all ethnicities and sizes, and it was beautiful.