Miami tips its hat to Melissa Greenberg for giving the city's style scene accessories with a story.
By Riki Altwam-Yee
Photography by Nick Garcia
"My husband says I'm the lady who wears a million different hats," says Melissa Greenberg, founder of the Isla+Mar (islamarwear.com). The comment is accurate both literally and figuratively, as Greenberg not only develops the designs behind the new accessories line but also wears the titles of wife, mother and CEO of Statik Group, a graph design and media production company. As she puts it: "I'm good for anything creative."
It's clearly apparent that Greenberg, who was both in Argentina but spend most of her childhood in Columbia and Miami, is also a fashion forecaster. Sensing her neighbors and friends needed a chic way to block their faces from the sun's rays, she started importing hand-painted hats from Cartegena, but quickly realized her clients depended something special. So she riffled. "I grabbed a plain white hat, draw a palm leaf on it and brushed it in," she recalls. The owner of Mermaid Boutique suggested she try an evil eye and soon a collection of 20 styles ($100 to $220) was born. Today her creations can be found at O'Sole, RikRak Brickell, emporium, Earthy Chic and, come November, Soho Beach House. "My hats withstand trends," she says. "That's always been very important to me."
This autumn, fans can expect straw toppers in blue and brown with woven motifs to make their debut. Getting their hands on them might be a different story. "Customers might get wait-listed," says Greenberg. "Nothing is made by a machine and I'm very loyal to my artisans in Columbia and Ecuador, so purchases might take some time to arrive, but that's because no two pieces are the same." With the sale of each hat, Greenberg gift a matching eco-bag, made in America of recycled materials and featuring hand-knit charms from Miami. After all, women who wear many hats deserve something extra.