In style and life, why be anything but one-of-a-kind? Vintage clothing allows us to live in the past (who doesn’t love a little nostalgia…) but SOJARA revives vintage pieces by repurposing thrifty finds for the future. SOJARA, founded by designer Jara Eisen, reworks vintage clothing to create original designs with an edgy, effortlessly cool flair.
From rock tees and a variety of denim pieces to military jackets, college sweatshirts and on-trend puffer jackets, SOJARA brings new life to pieces with history. 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.
“As much as I loved following the trends, I also had the desire to be a little different,” Eisen 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.”
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.”
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.”
Browsing through SOJARA’s collection is like frequenting your favorite record store. Familiar classics like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Nirvana line the racks. Eisen also styles inspirational quotes, sports teams, and trendy 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. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Eisen turns SOJARA’s smiley face logo pink and donates proceeds to organizations such as Fight Like a Girl, which Eisen has worked 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 and the brand also provides a 20 percent discount to veterans and active U.S. military service members.
Additionally, sustainability is seamlessly woven into the brand’s impact. 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!
Visit SOJARA, located on the Upper Level near Bloomingdale’s, to refresh your wardrobe with effortlessly cool vintage pieces.