A group of local artists and designers have joined forces for an exciting evening, and a continued collaboration. Oakleigh Waits’ Soul House, the chic lifestyle studio and retail space, hosts partners with Debra Butler Design Studio, Damon Designs Gallery and Noble-Holst Designs for an unforgettable union of fashion and fun.
Waits, the woman previously behind Isle Style, has been a part of the Key West community for 30 years, and her vision continues to evolve. Waits rents studio spaces to Butler and Damon, so three unique visions are reflected. Friday night will mark a new era of collaboration.
“Collectively, we’re having this event to celebrate all of our new spaces and introduce them to people who haven’t been here yet,” said Waits. So it’s really a party about celebrating new ventures, introducing a pop up boutique by Tracey Holst, who is doing a capsule for Soul House.”
Tracey Holst and husband Alexander will debut their Cloth + Steel collection on Friday.
“I am a clothing designer, hence the ‘cloth’ you will be seeing at Soul House’s grand opening party,” said Tracey Holst. “Alex is a lover of anything steel; even better if he can get his hands on recycled pieces, with which he creates the most magnificent pieces, from furniture to delicate pieces of jewelry using this metal.”
There will be plenty of opportunities to peruse and purchase such objects of art in wearable and other forms, and that’s not all. “There’s also a jeweler and skin care specialist, D.J. Chaka for four hours, food and drink. … I just want to have to have a big ass party,” said Waits.
It seems like so many artists and entrepreneurs are finding themselves off “the Rock.” So, why Stock Island? “It’s a destination,” said Waits. “In my opinion, after being a 30-year resident, this is fresh and new. The common thread is, driving in this direction, it’s almost like getting away.”
Soul House offers an eclectic experience, with a mix of consigned and antique items as well as new. Their retail space has gifts, clothing and furniture that don’t focus on the tourist market. You won’t see the same fare that lines the gift shops of Duval Street. They also do design sourcing for customers, which Waits calls “the meat of the project.” She says, “So if you can’t find what you want and you still want really good service, we’re here.” Waits hopes her particular brand and space speak to a savvy local consumer. Savvy isn’t just about taste, but sustainability.
For example, Holst’s Cloth + Steel collection features garments made of natural fibers. “We currently live in what I like to call a throw-away society—that includes everything from the toothbrush and razors we use to the clothes we wear,” says Holst. “Creating a garment that is made from natural fibers, that is beautiful and makes you feel wonderful and special and somehow represents the environment you are living in.”
What better environment to represent than the blue sky and seas of the Lower Keys? It’s a place that gets into your blood, and, dare I say, soul? Perhaps Waits puts it best: “The home is what we identify with most. That’s how the name came to me: I want to help with their vision to make a space that reflects their soul.”
Soul House Grand Opening Party
Friday, March 1, 5 to 9 p.m.
Bubbles and Bites
The Stockyard Studios
5700 4th Ave. Stock Island