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How the Look and Design of Miami Has Infiltrated Pop Culture

Some places are just iconic and influence the worlds of fashion, music, cinema, and pop culture in general. New York City will forever be entwined with culture, of all levels, while the effortlessly cool tradition in cities like Rome and Paris will always influence designers and filmmakers in the making of their own creations.

Although much is changing, the US has traditionally been seen as having the hard edge of New York on one coast and the laid-back sun-kissed vibes of Los Angeles on the other. The flyover states may be making some noise these days but mainstream culture gave them that fairly offensive title a long time ago.

But even with the rise of smaller cities in the consciousness of the general public, in the US and beyond, there has been another city that has started to make itself known in wider circles. Florida has been a holiday destination for generations, but it is only more recently that it has been regarded as a pop culture hub. Looking back, it is evident that it was always the case – but Miami is now legitimately part of the mainstream when it comes to culture and influence.

Art Deco of Miami Beach

What do you think of when someone mentions Miami? There is a very good chance that the Art Deco architecture of South Beach will spring to mind. Although other cities are obviously also well known for their Art Deco style, the way that Miami does it cannot compare.

Along with the striking modernist buildings of the Miami Beach area, the art deco architecture in Miami stands out, through style, but mainly through color. These splashes of color sum up the city perfectly and can be seen as the inspiration for buildings and design around the world.

Glamor of South Beach

If we return to the idea of an east coast/west coast binary system in the US, it was New York that offered the hard knock, concrete jungle influences, while L.A. supplied the palm trees and sunny backdrops that could be seen on TV, film, and fashion shoots the world over.

But these days the place that was traditionally held more by Los Angeles has moved gradually towards Miami. Hollywood will always attract the most glamorous people and celebrities but Miami can offer just as much, with its own particular twists. Think of how many music videos are shot in beachside mansions in South Beach these days, if you need convincing.

Miami Vice and TV

There has been a sophistication associated with Miami for a long time now. The Rat Pack made the place its fun and capital, so it is not as though there was nothing there before the 1980s. But it does feel as though the incredible popularity of the TV show Miami Vice kicked off a whole slice of pop culture that carries on to this day.

If you were watching TV anywhere else aside from Miami, and maybe places like Los Angeles, in the 1980s, the fashion choices of Don Johnson et al would have seemed as if they came from a different planet. Pastel T-shirts under loose suits, shoes without socks. There was a serious amount of cool emanating from Miami – and it has influenced fashion to this day.

How the Look and Design of Miami Has Infiltrated Pop Culture
Miami Vice encapsulated the look and feel of the city

Color Palette

We have just touched on one of the most striking elements of how Miami has influenced the rest of the world as far as pop culture and fashion goes. It is not necessarily Don Johnson’s stubble (although that could also be regarded as a trendsetter), but more the color palette of the show – and that came from the city itself.

Aqua, orange, and blue are just about everywhere in Miami. Most of the local sports teams also seem to use them in some kind of combination. Add to that the shades of pink all over the city, and it could be argued that Miami has brightened up the world. Pastel colors and neon didn’t seem to be a thing anywhere else. But Miami has made them almost universal.

Latin Influence

It may not always have been recognized in the past, but it is undeniable just how much of the Miami style we are so accustomed to today has come from the Latin influence on the city in the first place. Fashion, music, and even food have come out of Miami and travelled around the world, starting off in the Latin neighborhoods.

There is a huge Cuban element in the overall personality of Miami, from the music you hear in the streets, to the food you buy on any corner. Add to that other Central and South American and Caribbean traditions and the origins of the popularity of certain kinds of music, film and foods that have permeated themselves into pop culture becomes very obvious.

Miami Vibes

It is clear that the vibrancy of Miami is one of the main reasons why the city has become so powerful and influential. As more people look away from the traditional powerhouses of pop culture reference, there is room for places like this sun-kissed part of southern Florida to shine.

Florida was seen for a long time as a place where people went when they retired. But now the cultural economy is growing and people are moving to the place to be part of it. As Miami becomes more popular as a cultural destination, it will only continue to exert its own influence on the way other people design, cook, make TV shows etc.

Those cities we mentioned earlier are never going to disappear from the cultural cannon, or stop influencing creative people the world over. But there is definitely room for more voices at the table – and one of the loudest and most colorful of those is distinctly Miamian.

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