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Meet the Miamians who are changing our Magic City for the better

From hot new artists to the Miami influencers that matter—meet our favorite Miamians right now

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Hungry Post
Photograph: Frank Hernández

There is no shortage of remarkable people in Miami making this city a better place every day. And there’s far too many of them to include on one list. So when we were coming up with our Miami heat index—a list of Miamians who are changing this city right now—we had our work cut out for us. In the end, we settled on a handful of locals who span from the food world to the art world and places in between. Everyone on this list has their own specialty. One of these names is responsible for giving us one of the best bars in Miami. One makes our favorite local podcast. And one has been showing us some of the best restaurants in Miami for years. Meet them all below. 

The Miami Heat Index

Stitch Lab
Photograph: Courtesy Stitch Lab

Karina Rosendo and Cami Straschnoy

The brains behind Stitch Lab, which elevates Latin American fashion brands to the global stage—right here in Miami | @stitchlabmia

“People in Miami embrace all things Latin, so it was evident that this was the right place to launch a project like ours,” explains Karina Rosedo, who conceived of Stitch Lab (stitchlabmiami.com) three years ago with Andrea Chediak [ed. note: the two are no longer partners in the venture]. Through meetups in the Magic City, their self-described “talent incubator,” aims to introduce budding Latin American designers to the U.S. market. So did they, to quote Tim Gunn, “make it work”? Absolutely. To date, the two have helped to launch a whopping 50 foreign fashion labels stateside, including SOÜF, Lia Cohen and MOUT.

After their first major event in mid-2018, which featured 20 emerging designers and drew more than 900 attendees, the pair followed up with a pop-up during last year’s Latin Grammys and then their second “Oasis, a Fashion Utopia” in Wynwood this past April. And while their goal is to bring these designers to a worldwide stage, Rosendo says Miami has been a major inspiration. “It’s easy to get excited by the ever-changing murals in Wynwood, the Art Basel traffic jams and the architectural masterpieces modifying our skyline,” says Rosendo. “And we need to be mindful of nurturing creativity locally, keeping the city open to [start-ups] like us.”–Andrea Carneiro

Hungry Post
Photograph: Frank Hernández

The Hungry Post

Bilingual tastemakers with an unquenchable thirst for the city’s next big food trend | @thehungrypost

This city has plenty of culinary influencers—cough, Time Out, cough. But even we are down with the Hungry Post (hungrypost.com), which gives locals the scoop—in the same way one might dish to his amigos over brunch—on what’s hot in the restaurant scene. Founded by Andrea Becerra, Alejandra “Ale” Cangas and Jose “Baby” Loor, the brand comprises a website, social media and culinary events, such as the Blurry Brunch, which draws thousands to its daytime parties with cocktails and the steady thump of DJ-spun reggaeton. “We wanted to take that digital experience and bring it back to real life,” says Cangas.

Becerra, Cangas and Loor are Colombian, Venezuelan and Ecuadorian, respectively, but they’re proud to call the 305 home. That’s why a big part of the HP’s mission is to bolster Miami’s booming food community. “We are always going to cover the places that we love, and we aren’t going to bash anyone,” says Becerra. If the platform’s 2019 pipeline is any indication, all that positivity is paying off. There are plans to expand into Mexico City and other cities and to create HP–led weekend excursions and other travel-focused content. “We plan our lives around food,” Becerra says. “We want to inspire our Miami followers to have similar experiences in other parts of the world.”—Falyn Freyman

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Randy Alonso
Photograph: Gesi Schilling

Randy Alonso

Entrepreneur who’s breathing new, boozy life into downtown | @raaaaaaaaaandy

Not too long ago, you couldn’t pay most Miamians to go Downtown—unless, of course, they worked there, in which case they still hightailed it out by 6pm. “When we first moved into Downtown around 2005, I would walk with a hammer in my pocket going home from closing up the store,” says Randy Alonso, recalling when he and his brother ran the denim shop Lost Boy. The recession soured that venture, and he decided to pivot to the bar business, a risky move given the neighborhood’s stunning lack of drinking options. “My friends and I have never been club people. And we saw a void—not just here but in Miami as a whole.” That gap? A no-bullshit bar. Somewhere one could blow off steam with a great, affordable cocktail and a game of darts. Somewhere blissfully free from EDM and bottle service.

So, he built it, turning Lost Boy into a watering hole. Now Alonso is the golden boy of an area where his family has owned businesses since the 1960s. Downtown is about to explode, with a rumored new food hall and the Over Under bar from Broken Shaker alum Brian Griffiths (Alonso also played a role in that transformation). The young pioneer is spreading the love, too: For example, he joined the Flagler Street Business Improvement District. “If the street thrives, the whole neighborhood goes from there.”—Ryan Pfeffer

Gabriela Ortega
Photograph: Courtesy Gabriela Ortega

Gaby Ortega

Podcaster who spotlights kick-ass local women | @girlsgoneboss

Gaby Ortega is all about the grind. “I’ve always looked for side projects that fuel me up,” she says. By day, she works as a regional marketing manager at Warner Music, overseeing artists from Latin America and Spain. On Thursday nights, however, she and longtime friend Alex Pender host Girls Gone Boss, a popular podcast in which they get candid with motivational speaker Heather Monahan, attorney and #MeToo activist Tamara Holder, Vixen workout creator Janet Jones and other inspiring women, many of whom live in Miami. “I want to shine a light on everyday hustlers like us—women [role models] who are attainable and reachable,” says Ortega. “You never know who is going to inspire you.”

The podcast, which launched in April 2018, and its resonant message of empowerment is gaining momentum with female millennials. “Women starting their careers and trying to figure it out—we want to help mentor them,” says Ortega, who lands on real-life advice, from tips on overcoming impostor syndrome and building confidence to how to ask for a raise. And the inspiration works both ways. “Recording this podcast has been therapeutic for us. I can’t help but feel motivated.”—Jess Swanson

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Kelly Breez
Photograph: James McNeal

Kelly Breez

Miami’s dive-bar–loving, contemporary artist of the moment | @kellybreez

Here’s a good test for any piece of art: Put it in a random hallway and see whether people stop and stare. Artist Kelly Breez’s Soho Beach House installation, An Important Library Full of Important Knowledge, passed that test marvelously when it debuted this year. Her how-to books, painted onto wood, each come with a hilarious, Miami Beach–appropriate title, such as “How to Avoid an Existential Mistake in a Hot Tub” and “How to Serve Looks Immediately After Coming Out of a Pool.” Breez has a knack for finding the beauty in the mundane corners of South Florida others walk right by, which she may have acquired from her love of South Florida’s seedier corners. “I get a lot of inspiration from crappy dive bars, to be honest,” says Breez. “People here that don’t enjoy going to a crappy dive bar—I just don’t understand it.”

Breez is speaking to us from her Allapattah studio, where she’s sitting next to a giant, wooden piña colada—a leftover prop from a collaboration with Prisoner Wine Company. Things have been busy for her since she moved back to Miami in 2015, after a stint in San Francisco. In the past few years, she has painted her own Wynwood mural for Detroit brand Shinola—a striking tribute to its factory workers—created 3-D map-projection installations in the Faena District during Art Basel, and collaborated with Vans, Obey Clothing and other big brands, all the while developing an aesthetic that is undeniably Miami. This year, she’ll hunker down in Miami as the new artist chosen for Primary Projects Commissioner series. “When I moved to California, I finally realized that South Florida is so special. I just had to move clear across the country to figure it out.”—Ryan Pfeffer

Motivated to go explore Miami?

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