Strut Your Stuff, Jax. 

March 31, 2023
2 mins read

Words and photos by Carmen Macri

There is one thing Jacksonville loves more than the Jags (maybe), and that is supporting small local businesses. And what better way to do that than hosting a pop-up event at Jax Beach’s favorite bar? 

On March 25, Surfer [The Bar] was transformed into an art market with local vendors scattered throughout the space. Capri Aesthetics gathered dozens of local female-owned businesses for Bossn’ Beach Babes: a women-focused pop-up. These events often feature a wide range of vendors and activities, all geared toward celebrating and promoting female-owned businesses and organizations. From fashion and beauty products to artisanal crafts and baked goods, there was no shortage of unique and inspiring offerings to discover. 

At 5 p.m., the bar looked like it was 10 p.m. — slammed. People scattered around hopping from vendor to vendor in hopes of striking gold before the finale fashion show where three businesswomen would showcase their favorite pieces. 

Strolling past the main bar (debating if I want to cure my hangover with the hair of the dog), I stumbled upon racks and racks of Jacksonville-themed clothing (go, Jags!) and trendily dressed mannequins. I was greeted by Danielle Dallas, the founder and CEO of Copper Closet, as she handed me a coupon for the shop. She founded Copper Closet in Jacksonville in 2015, and since then, has opened 23 more store locations across Florida and Georgia. The brand is tailored to affordable boutique shopping, and she promotes her brand by offering inclusivity to any and everyone. 

Setting up shop adjacent to Dallas was Keeks Vintage. Kiley Davis founded Keeks Vintage in 2015 as a fun side hustle during college. She loved thrifting and had a keen eye for prized pieces, so why not turn it into a profit? Thrifting has become quite a trend, and most people don’t have hours to spend sifting through hundreds of racks of clothing. Luckily for them, Davis does. Her brand focuses on chic vintage ’90s attire from Chanel boots and handbags to Levi’s 501 jeans. 

Behind Keeks Vintage was none other than Jacksonville’s favorite sustainable swimwear, Noelani. Kyla Noelani created her brand back in 2019. She started sewing swimwear herself because she found it nearly impossible to find swimsuits she felt confident in and knew other girls felt the same. Every piece made by Noelani is hand-sewn by Kyla herself. She knows the importance of sustainable and ethically made swimwear, so she put her talent to use. 

By this time the clock was ticking close to 6:30 and bar guests began spreading out to make room for the catwalk as the models hurried upstairs to get ready. I wandered back toward the entrance in hopes of finding a spot to watch the models strut their stuff.

The first designer was Noelani. She had a handful of women dressed in her best bikinis. It’s hard to believe that these girls weren’t runway models the way they were owning the catwalk. Once they reached the turning point (where I sat), each girl gave off a signature spin and continued their parade. The crowd was electric with hoots and hollers.

The next group of models were dressed in head-to-toe Copper Closet. The vibrant colors of the spring collection were captivating and jaw-dropping. With each passing girl, I kept thinking to myself “I need that outfit… I need that outfit.” It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the models or the throng of onlookers. 

Keeks Vintage was next up with models dressed in uniquely-styled vintage attire, the type of outfits where you couldn’t help thinking “there’s no way I could pull that off… but I want to.” Each piece looked like it was tailored specifically for the models from crochet dresses to lingerie streetwear.

Once the final model made her run, Davis, Dallas and Noelani came walking hand in hand with smiles that reached their ears. They look confident and poised dressed in their own creations. At this point, the walkway disappeared as friends and family came rushing in to congratulate the designers and models alike.

Each designer brought their own unique vision to the runway, showcasing a range of styles and aesthetics that highlighted the diversity of our local fashion industry. It was inspiring to see so many strong and confident women take to the stage, modeling beautiful designs with grace. 

 

Since a young age, Carmen Macri knew she wanted to be a writer. She started as our student intern and has advanced to Multi-media Journalist/Creative. She graduated from the University of North Florida and quickly found her home with Folio Weekly. She juggles writing, photography and running Folio’s social media accounts.

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