by Mellissa Thomas
Does the name Jarix (pronounced “Jah-ree”) Fashions sound familiar? If Sunday’s fun- and seat-filled ninety-minute debut fashion show at Harry P. Leu Gardens is any indication, that name will become familiar soon enough. Jarix Fashions designer Senia Jarix Soto just recently turned eighteen, and the fashion show was her parent’s birthday gift. While Soto is the new kid on the block, the formal-attire-only event featured all the staples of a well-seasoned designer’s showcase, her twenty-three design pieces included. Here’s how she, with her family’s help, slayed.
Power Move 1: She had an established event team.
Soto and her parents placed their show under veteran hostess, author, and media personality Angie Bee’s tour umbrella, and therefore had the marketing they needed to fill those seats. Angie Bee broadcasts Christian Hip Hop artists, connecting the positive message with youth across Florida to make a difference in the community, and frequently brings on respected speakers and entrepreneurs during her tours. Furthermore, Bee’s husband Bartee is a sultry Motown cover singer, and is always a big hit with audiences. Sunday’s show was no exception.
Power Move 2: Soto’s was an actual SHOW.
The night offered not one, but four music acts, not even counting the deejay: cover band Jared’s Fish N’ Grits, Mr. Bartee, and two teen solo artists—a young cellist named Evan, and singer, actress, and model Sarah Caroline. All four provided distinct musical flavors so the audience had no time to be bored.
Evan placed a Bach piece. The cover band performed pop hits during the various intermissions, including “Happy”, Bruno Mars’ “Amazing”, and “Marry Her Anyway.” Bartee brought the old school slow jams, such as Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and “You Are So Beautiful”. Sarah Caroline, whose booming voice is a magnetic mix of Adele and Fiona Apple, made an indelible first impression by singing “Fly Me to the Moon” a cappella, then later sang Christina Aguilera’s “You Are Beautiful.”
Power Move 3: She had a powerful, industry-specific media personality onboard.
The pre-show red carpet (yes, she had one) was hosted by Angie Bee and the charismatic and hilarious Jorge Alvarado, fashion industry veteran, media personality, and host of Tampa’s “The Jorge Show” on MiraTV. Alvarado, who also co-judged the Fashion E.D.G.E. Competition at the beginning of the month, brought laughter to the red carpet and the runway, offering pithy remarks about the clothing while the models walked. He was even instrumental as a translator for one of the night’s special guests.
Power Move 4: She had tiaras in the house.
That’s right. Not one, but three pageant winners were in attendance for Sunday’s show: Ms. Florida Excellence and 2009 Ms. Corporate America winner (and New Image Youth Center founder) Shanta Barton-Stubbs, Ms. Citrus winner Rosanna Tran, and Miss Teen World of Puerto Rico, Genesis M. Caraballo. Alvarado interpreted for Miss Teen Puerto Rico and Angie Bee during her red carpet interview, and one of Soto’s aunts translated for her during her special introduction during the show.
Power Move 5: Soto brought fierce designs.
Jarix Fashions offers seven different collections. The Survivor collection kicked things off with intricately designed party wear. One was a two-piece suit whose top had cutouts in the back (below), and another was a long-sleeved dress with the rounded short-front-long-back style of popular junior dresses.
The Battlefield Chic collection featured black pieces with color accents. One jacket had a camouflage patter on the back and its bottom panels were actually flipped backwards and stitched to the back to form the pockets (below). Other pieces included a long black one-strap dress with tiny shorts worn beneath the center slit; a black tube top and colorful print high-waist pants; and a metallic dress with a solid top and ruched bottom.
The Pink Rock collection popped pink (in various shades) into outfits that ranged from professional to edgy. The favorite was a short formal dress that had a large puffy tail behind it that reached the model’s ankles, giving the dress an interesting asymmetrical look, and perfect for a rebellious prom queen or a Grammy Awards after party. “This gives me a sudden urge for cotton candy,” Alvarado said as the dress made its way down the runway.
The Rainbow collection lived up to its name, featuring casual wear in vibrant colors and patterns. One ensemble boasted a flowing waist-high-slit teal dress with golden dots matched with shimmering cobalt blue leggings (below). “I just want to take a Sharpie and connect all those dots,” Alvarado commented. The second piece was a long multicolor one-shoulder dress with black side panels.
The Sophisticated collection brought professional and formal attire with a silver snakeskin print, black, and white palette. The first ensemble was a business suit consisting of a textured black jacket with a white back with black print, matched with a white mini dress (below). The second was a long metallic snake print dress with a crop top that offered the same white-and-black-print pattern seen on the back of the business suit jacket. The third piece was altogether different, offering a red top with black lace sleeves matched with two-tone wide-leg pants: white in the front, and black in the back. The fourth hailed back to the first two in a more curious way: Alexa Soto, Senia’s mother, announced the top was a trench. The short-sleeved dark-colored coat was lined with the white-with-black-print pattern, and draped over a shimmering gold jumpsuit with a single black side panel.
The Grammy collection exhibited two dresses. The first was a sultry burnt orange with a white center accent. The open back cascaded flowing fabric from the shoulders, dancing in curved layers as the model walked. The second gown featured a metallic sequined upper half with a long pink lower half.
The night’s finale was the flagship “Oscar Ready” piece, a two-part gown affectionately called “Diamonds.” The piece involved one-part long skirt, which had a black-and-white print similar to the Sophisticated collection, draped over with rich cerulean blue ruched fabric over the front, falling to the left side (below). The rosebud-like ruching on the front and back of the gown make it complimentary for a woman of any figure. Soto proved that point with the very model wearing it, who is eighteen weeks pregnant. The dress completely disguised her bump.
Power Move 6: Soto was prepared for buyers.
Each seat had an order form with the collections listed so that if anyone in the audience wanted to buy a piece, the person could place an order on the spot. Furthermore, each seat had a branded paddle and attendees were encouraged to wave their paddles when they saw pieces they really liked, which would give Soto an idea of what works and what to improve on.
Power Move 7: The show featured high-quality vendors, and a lot of them.
The Jarix Fashion Show had at least ten vendors. Five were independent consultants for artisan jewelry companies, including Stella & Dot, who furnished the jewelry for the night’s show. As with most fashion shows, Mary Kay and It Works! Body Wraps were represented, and there were two high-end handbag vendors as well. Additionally, Jamberry, a nail cosmetics company, offered free samples.
Power Move 8: She added an unprecedented element of fun.
Remember the giant inflatable multicolor beach balls? During some intermissions, the team broke out two of those—one for each side of the audience—to bop around in the air, and whoever dropped the ball had to walk down the runway. The crowd not only participated, but had a blast.
Who does that at a fashion show?
Bonus Move: The show featured a raffle with a genius plan.
For a first fashion show, this one gave out approximately ten to twelve prizes. However, it was the process by which to get a ticket that was noteworthy. Instead of paying cash, attendees paid with their email address—an excellent list-building strategy that benefitted the vendors.
Senia Soto, soft-spoken and shy, emerged at the end with all her models, beaming with a charming bouquet, excited and relieved at the outcome. She had lost all the seamstresses who had last year promised to make her designs for her, so in January, she chose to buckle down and learn the craft for herself, sacrificing her social life in the name of her passion, and arose victorious. “And on top of all of that, she maintained a B average in her home school curriculum,” Soto’s mother Alexa explained during a recent interview with Orlando Fashion Magazine.
There is no greater birthday milestone—especially the eighteenth—than fulfilling a childhood dream. It all started with a Project Runway sketch book at thirteen. Soto’s goals include winning the Fashion Designer of the Year award, owning her own boutique, and designing clothes for celebrities. “I want to inspire girls to follow their dreams, and be a light in the fashion industry,” she gushed in the interview.
Soto will not slow down, either. She will be in the Out of the Box Fashion Show in Debary, Florida in April, and the 1st Annual Fashion Gala in Virginia at the end of May. “Our goal, depending on the outcome of this first show, is to do a fashion show every six months or every quarter,” Alexa explained.
About the Author:
Orlando Fashion Magazine Chief Editor and Publisher Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born writer. She’s a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.
She’s currently available for hire, writing content for websites, blogs, and marketing material, and as a manuscript editor. She also writes poetry, screenplays, and ghostwrites books.
She has published six books, all available on Amazon.com. Her newest ebook, In the Rough: Episode 2 of the Tenderfoot Series, is now available on the Kindle.
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