In style and life, why be anything but one-of-a-kind? Vintage clothing allows us to live in the past, but the new SOJARA pop-up at Aventura Mall is repurposing thrifty rock-and-roll finds for the future. SOJARA, founded by designer Jara Eisen, reworks vintage clothing to create original designs with a rock and roll flair.
The pop-up brings new life to used t-shirts, denim, and army-style jackets. Eisen’s mission to style old threads into exciting collections was inspired by her own second chance at life.
A breast cancer survivor, Eisen moved from New York to Miami to be closer to family after her health battle. While unpacking boxes with her daughter Charli, she stumbled upon an old t-shirt she wore at a breast cancer walk. The two couldn’t bear the thought of tossing a piece of clothing that symbolized Eisen’s journey to overcome cancer, so they landed on a new idea — why not bring a little bit of her old life into her new one?
The former Fashion Institute of Technology student turned the breast cancer t-shirt into a new patch she affixed to a flannel shirt, transforming the shirt into an edgy statement piece. Her design sparked the conception of her fashion brand, SOJARA.
Eisen’s pop-up features unique conversation starters that set her apart from fast fashion brands and big-box shops. “As much as I loved following the trends, I also had the desire to be a little different,” she says. “In my 20s, I would spend countless hours perusing these really cool vintage thrift shops looking for the perfect pieces to rework. I would then mix and match those pieces with newer ones,” she shares.
Her eponymous shop name is a nod to her singular style. “My friends would see my creations and say, ‘that outfit is so Jara,’ and that’s literally where the name came from,” she says.
Hand-made in Miami, Eisen finds inspiration in the city’s vibrant colors and cultural diversity. “I frequent vintage shops [and] art galleries in Wynwood; I’m inspired by the stylish women I see every day here in South Florida,” she says. “Just like the city of Miami, SOJARA is constantly changing and evolving,” she continues.
With a collection inspired by the Magic City, the stylish streetwear captures the music scenes and styles from around the country. A relaxed denim jacket emblazoned with a Grateful Dead patch looks like a relic from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. SOJARA’s camo army jacket with a photo of the late Kurt Cobain could easily be donned by rockers in grunge-era Seattle. A sequined-sleeved Willie Nelson top would fit right into the crowd at the Austin City Limits music festival, while a cozy Fleetwood Mac flannel would likely be spotted at brunch in Williamsburg.
Browsing through SOJARA’s collection is like frequenting your favorite record store. Familiar classics like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tupac, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Nirvana line the racks. Eisen also styles inspirational quotes, sports teams, and smiley face motifs on the backs of relaxed flannel, tees and jackets.
“The Vintage Rock and Inspire Flannel is where SOJARA began, each one is unique and special. I never get tired of them,” she says.
With breast cancer being a significant part of Eisen’s story, she was adamant about making awareness and research part of her company’s mission. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Eisen turns SOJARA’s smiley face logo pink. During October, the brand donates 15 percent of proceeds from its pink collection to Fight Like a Girl, an organization Eisen has been working with since her own fight with breast cancer.
Cancer isn’t the only cause SOJARA is dedicated to serving. Eisen has established SOJARA as an LGBTQ-friendly business, featuring a multitude of Pride-inspired styles. The brand also provides a 20 percent discount to veterans and active U.S. military service members.
Sustainability is seamlessly woven into the brand’s impact. According to Planet Aid, the average American throws out 82 pounds of textile waste per year. Even more distressing, non-biodegradable fabrics can take 20 to 200 years to decompose and pose harmful environmental effects. By upcycling vintage pieces, SOJARA is keeping clothing out of landfills and in people’s closets. Bonus: you’ll never have to worry about running into someone in the same outfit as you.
“Like everything we do, our hope for the SOJARA Rock pop-up at Aventura Mall is to spread good vibes and rock and roll to the many patrons we meet from all over the world that visit the shop,” says Eisen, “We feel so grateful to be a part of the Aventura Mall family.”
Visit SOJARA, located on the Lower Level across from Zara, to refresh your wardrobe with an adventurous streak of good old rock and roll.