Slow Southern Style is going to be featuring a few guest bloggers each Monday to liven the place up and get some fresh voices on a variety of subjects. This week Rebecca Diaz is filling in and interviewed Jaclyn Bethany, who is planning a pop up shop in Jackson, Mississippi called Audrey Grace Boutique.Interested in guest blogging? Contact me at nolagurl at gmail dot com.
Illustration Jaclyn and her dog
Why'd you choose a pop-up shop in Jackson, Mississippi?
Jackson is my hometown, and I know tons of people there. It is a logical step to try out my business before taking it somewhere that is more expensive and competitive.
What are you most excited about in opening a shop?
I think seeing all of my ideas come together when the shop opens will be amazing. I know I will cry! I am stocking so many amazing designers and artists, so I am also excited about promoting their work and sharing it with an entirely new market.
Promotional artwork by Tabitha Emma
What do you think makes Southern fashion "southern"?
I like to think Southern fashion is classy. Pearls and sun dresses come to mind when thinking about Southern fashion. But I do not dress this way all the time. I suppose I pick up inspiration wherever I travel and incorporate these influences into my style. My fashion sense always stood out in high school. People always would ask (and still ask me) where I buy things, so I thought it would be a great idea to just open up my own shop full of my favorite things.
Favorite Southern stereotype you embrace? Southern stereotype you love defying?
This is a hard question. I suppose my favorite Southern stereotype is that we are nice, friendly people. I also love Southern accents- although I don't really have one anymore. I think the Southern stereotype I love defying is the fact that people think we are dumb, and want the South to rise again. (really!!??) Also, the rumor that Mississippians don't wear shoes. Where in the world did that come from? I have had some really weird reactions to telling people I am from Mississippi. A French guy didn't know Mississippi was a state, and thought it was just a river. Most people are just confused as to why someone from all the way in Mississippi lives where I do (currently London, but in the past- NYC, Sydney, etc.) This has happened many times. People in the South have ambitions too!
Jaclyn in an Alice + Olivia dress at the Sydney Film Festival
Since you lived in Australia for awhile, and currently live in NY, but are a native Mississippian, can you think of direct influences each has had on your personal fashion aesthetic?
Well you didn't mention London, but I am currently in London now and I would say as a whole this city most influences my personal style. Think of all the stylish women that have been from London- currently Alexa Chung and Kate Middleton reign as style queens, but in the past it was Princess Diana. I also love that each distinct neighborhood in London has individual style- the punks and hipsters in Camden, the Sloanes with their designer bags in Chelsea, the bohemians in Portobello, and the skinny jeans and t-shirts in Shoreditch, etc.
A similar aesthetic runs throughout New York, too. People are more aware of how they dress there- because you have to go out on the street to go anywhere. New York is the fashion capital of the world, and you totally feel that at least once every day. I don't think I dress like a "typical" New Yorker. I don't even think that all black aesthetic applies to NYC anymore.
Sydney was not really as stylish as London or New York, it was more relaxed and very much a beach culture. I think Australia has some fantastic design talent though including Lover, Romance Was Born, Ellery and Lady Petrova (which I am carrying in the shop!) But I found Sydneysiders to want to dress very much like Americans!
How'd you decide which brands to carry in Audrey Grace?
I basically researched and came up with a good price range. Then I thought of some of my favorite designers and also asked for suggestions from designers and friends. I am constantly on the lookout for new brands.
Did you intentionally keep it a mix of independent designers (Kelsey Genna, Alexandra Grecco) and well-established names (Orla Kiely, Rachel Antonoff)?
I don't think any one brand in the store is a huge name. I like that people can come into Audrey Grace and discover new brands they love. And yes the store will be a mixture of designers, vintage, art work, jewelry, accessories and photography. The main focus is clothing, but I have alot of art and jewelry, too.
In vintage on her birthday in NYC
Describe your most perfect day.
This really depends on where I am. I try to work on my store every day. In London a perfect day would entail going to one of the amazing markets (like the Columbia Road flower market) and spend the morning finding little knick knacks and treasures. Then I would go somewhere like Laduree for macaroons or Hummingbird Bakery for tea and a cupcake. London has the most amazing sweet shops and bakeries. Then maybe I would go to Covent Garden and walk around, because it's so beautiful and there are so many amazing shops. Even though it's so touristy now, it still makes me feel like I am in My Fair Lady. Then I'd see a show at one of the amazing theatres here- like the National, The Donmar Warehouse or the Royal Court. I actually had a really great weekend in London this past weekend. I attended the Vintage Festival on Southbank- which had a huge vintage market as well as clubs and restaurants dedicated to the different decades. I picked up a few little things for the store!
What is your most exciting Southern discovery of the last year? (Could be anything! Fashion, food, music, art, etc.)
I would say "The Help," which was written by native Jacksonian Kathryn Stockett. The film is just about to come out and I can't wait!
What comes next for you!?
After I finish these two acting courses here in London, it will be my senior year at Fordham where I am a theatre performance major. In the fall I will also be interning at Teen Vogue, turning 23, and hopefully writing my first play. Audrey Grace will then open in November or December, just in time for the Christmas holidays. After I graduate, I hope to go to graduate school either in New York or London and one day open my store full time in Jackson or NYC.