On Friday, a vacant old coffee shop in Jacksonville’s Five Points reopened for a night to host a fashion show.
The show called “Kontrast,” hosted by Perversion Magazine, featured the work of Jacksonville-born-and-raised designer Bobby K. It was a collaboration with Perversion Creative Director Carl Rosen and businessman Steve Williams.
“I've been able to connect with people like Carl and Steve Williams who are open minded and ready to see that next level for Jacksonville and give me that conduit,” Bobby K said.
The show was inside the former Fuel Coffee House on Park Street. The venue shut down in 2009 and remained vacant until Williams purchased the building in February. He’s still deciding what will go in the space permanently, but in the mean time, he says collaborations like the runway show are what Jacksonville needs.
“Our story is very ‘trapped.’ So if we tell a new story, if we tell a real story, then Jacksonville can become what it should be,” Williams said.
Show goer Meredith O’Malley Johnson said the show felt like something you’d find in New York City.
“Tonight felt like the Jacksonville we should have, where there should be these kind of events every weekend going on and the art community getting together celebrating the great creations,” she said.
Perversion co-owner Carl Rosen says he feels the same energy.
“Everyone here has something they bring to the table, and honestly, you could probably talk to the person next to you and end up starting this passion project that would be amazing,” he said. “The fact is, you never know who you're talking to, you never know who's going to inspire you and who you can inspire.”
Rosen says when he met Bobby K, he knew immediately they shared a perspective outside the mainstream market, one that could change the culture in Jacksonville.
“I just fell in love with the city, and it's been amazing to me,” Rosen said. “I just see a lot of potential here, and I like the idea of, being one of the people to be a part of changing it for the better.”
The latest issue of Perversion featuring Bobby’s collection can be found on Perversion Magazine's website and at coffee houses around Jacksonville.