The next wave of innovators has arrived, bringing a flood of new energy to Palm Beach. Here’s their refreshing take.
Designer, JADE Swim
What sparked your interest in fashion? I’ve loved fashion from a very young age and knew I wanted to study and pursue a career in the fashion industry. During college, I interned at various top fashion magazines, and I fell in love with the magazine world and decided to pursue a career as a fashion editor. After college, I interned at Vogue and worked as a stylist assistant to some of the biggest stylists in the industry, then went on to work at GQ, then Marie Claire, where I was the senior fashion market editor. At that point, I was inspired to start my own line [JADE Swim] using my knowledge and experience to hone in on the swim market and create a brand I felt was missing.
Why make the move to Palm Beach? I moved to Palm Beach with my now-husband in 2018. I frequently visited South Florida as a fashion editor and stylist and for various Swim Week activities for the brand. Also, my husband had always envisioned ending up in Palm Beach full time for the amazing golf, great weather and lifestyle. I’ve brought most of the operations of [JADE Swim] to Palm Beach, which has been a really exciting process. There’s so much new creative talent in terms of photographers, graphic designers, etc. I love the fresh ideas we’ve been able to execute since being based here.
How does your innovation fill avoid? From covering the swim market as a fashion editor and stylist, I saw a void in the marketplace for high-quality, minimalist swimwear that could also transition from a swimsuit to ready-to-wear and double as great layering pieces. I wanted to provide a go-to line of swimwear that shapes and accentuates the body, gives minimal tan lines and seamlessly pairs with your closet essentials. Our versatility and multifunctionality is something that separates us from other brands. The brand’s mantra from day one is that our swimwear can be worn and styled in countless ways. When you’re buying a JADE swimsuit, you’re really investing in a piece that can span across your closet needs and is truly timeless.
How do you hope to bring about change? There are so many opportunities now to make a conscious effort toward being more sustainable. We keep this in mind with every decision we come across running the business. Last year we furthered our efforts by joining 1% for the Planet, through which we agree to pay 1% of sales to this charity dedicated to environmental causes. As well, we have become carbon neutral-certified in order to off set various aspects of the business. For our e-commerce business, for every order placed, we plant a tree through Eden Reforestation Projects.
What’s next? We’re expanding into coverups and resortwear separates, which is in the works to launch this fall. As a new mom, I would also love to expand into baby and children swim, so hopefully we will launch that by end of year! In the future, I see the line expanding to offer minimal, clean-lined, sustainable products across all categories.
Interior designer & fashion designer, Alvin Valley
What is Palm Beach’s allure? DR: I’ve always loved coming here and felt an instant wave of happiness the moment I landed. I’ve lived in big cities all of my life, but I hit a point as I got older that living in a town where I was part of a community became important to me. I started off at first just doing weekends, but once I was selected to do the prestigious Kips Bay Show House Palm Beach, I started spending more and more time here. And I decided it was time to make the transition. AV: Having a small shop in Palm Beach has always been on my radar, and oddly enough, it was the pandemic that sped things along. So many of my loyal NYC clients were staying in Palm Beach and asking me to open a store. Little did they know it was in my original plan... I spent part of my formative years in South Florida, and the Palm Beach lifestyle has always inspired me. Currently, you can find me around Palm Beach, in my shop or dining at Le Bilboquet. My clients are loving that I’m there not just to sell clothes but to style and fit them with precision and passion.
Tell us about the new Via Mizner store. AV: I am first and foremost a tailor. I love dressing women in sharp, tailored clothes. However, we all evolve and now I have expanded into more ‘lifestyle’ fashion, where I can create looks that have purpose and meaning and fit into my client’s full lives. My line carries all the best fitted pants—a cornerstone of my business—but I also have a seasonal collection that ranges from $375 to $795, and we do a lot of customizing for clients with daytime, cocktail and evening dresses that start from $795 and go up to $7,000.
How does your innovative thinking fulfill a community need? AV: From my clients’ responses, it seems there was a huge market for small brands like mine. I try not to only fit one style but many. The Alvin Valley woman is classic and sophisticated but also fun and whimsical. She leads a full life and doesn’t stop from day into night. It’s very easy to have a women’s eveningwear collection, but much harder to dress her every day with a fresh perspective.
What’s on the horizon for the year ahead? DR: I’ve got a lot of great design projects in South Florida—Palm Beach, Naples and Miami—that I’m having a ball with! AV: I haven’t shared this with anyone yet... but I’m venturing out West with the hopes of opening an Aspen atelier and adding some sexiness to the aprèsski crowd.
Marketing director, The Royal Poinciana Plaza
What do you love most about Palm Beach at this moment? I’m really enjoying the influx of Northerners either moving down or spending time here for the season. I sit outside at Sant Ambroeus frequently for lunches and have observed a noticeable shift in everything from style to age to accents. I find it so refreshing.
What’s the latest news for The Royal Poinciana Plaza? In March we opened Skarstedt Gallery, our sixth gallery to join The Royal family, which has truly cemented the plaza as a destination for art collectors and enthusiasts.
What’s your career story? In my formative years, I was an elite gymnast and stood about 4 feet, 8 inches tall as a freshman in high school. With zero curves and a Mary Lou Retton-inspired bowl cut, I quickly realized I needed to overcompensate or face being repeatedly mistaken for a boy. Clothing and cosmetics became a saving grace for me! I scouted stores for all things pink and had every aisle of the Sephora in my hometown memorized. Retail was the only thing that provided me a sense of femininity. I eventually landed a marketing position at Saks Fift h Avenue and knew immediately that my passion for retail and product knowledge would steer the future of my career. At The Royal, I’m able to market brands that have the power to boost personal confidence, spark relationships over cocktails and influence cultural conversations through art.
Where does The Royal fit within the community? The Royal has provided Palm Beach with a place where everyone can feel like they belong. The eccentric mix of exceptional brands, inviting courtyards and playful voice all create a very welcoming energy. Whether you pull up to the valet in a Rolls-Royce or step into our breezeways in activewear and a ponytail, you’ll never feel out of place or unseen at The Royal.
How do you hope to bring about change for Palm Beach? I have a quote saved in my phone that reads, ‘You’re not really listening if you’re not willing to have your opinion changed by what you hear.’ I hope that The Royal’s choice of brands, persona and social activity will create a safe space for listening, for absorbing diversity, for encouraging inclusion.
What other projects are upcoming? My lips are sealed (for now)! The exciting projects, both big and small, that we have in store for The Royal over the upcoming 12 to 18 months will not disappoint.
Professional equestrian, Descanso Farm
How did you get your start in riding? My parents always encouraged me to follow my passions. I rode my first pony at the age of 4, and I was competing in the ring at 10. I’ve always appreciated the bond between horse and rider, which has only grown for me as I’ve pursued the sport. You need to trust one another and work together to succeed. What keeps me in this is the love of sport—the thrill of winning isn’t too bad either.
Why settle in Palm Beach/Wellington? I’ve been coming to Palm Beach/ Wellington for the equestrian circuit since 2013, and I’ve always enjoyed my time here. Naturally, the weather is fantastic, but it’s the community that really brought me here. Everyone is so welcoming, and I’ve made some great friends already. I love that everything is at my fingertips: the barn, the beach, great restaurants, art galleries. This is an incredible place to live.
What are you currently working on? I will be competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival through the end of season aboard Rumple, an 8-year-old American Warmblood mare bred by Descanso Farm. Ten years ago I started Descanso, and now the business is focused on developing top-quality sales horses in the United States. Our goal, mine and Rumple’s, is to finish the season jumping in the international division. Rumple and I are excited to return to competing aft er taking a break due to the pandemic.
How do you hope to inspire change in the sport? I recently put together a panel in honor of International Women’s Day to talk about women in show jumping and bring more visibility to women in the sport. It’s important to me to support my fellow female riders and promote the benefits of riding and the equestrian sport.
What other projects are ahead? I recently started studying for my MBA while training and getting up to speed for upcoming competitions. I’m also looking forward to sourcing some new talented horses from Europe to compete aboard and develop for Descanso.
Partner, Related Southeast
What are you working on now? Currently, I head the reimagination of the Rosemary Square neighborhood in West Palm Beach. The neighborhood is best known for hosting regular community events, unique brand activations, pop-ups and workshops led by local and national businesses that spur creativity and connect like-minded individuals around the 72-acre parklike environment. We curated a destination that features innovative shopping, like the newly opened Lucid Motors, which is setting new standards for sustainable mobility with its advanced luxury electric vehicles, plus entertainment and a livework- play community with programmable greenspaces and thought-provoking public art by world-class artists.
How does your innovative thinking fill a need in West Palm Beach? At Rosemary Square, we have conceptualized and brought to life a fully integrated and engaging neighborhood-with-in-a- neighborhood for the West Palm Beach community with a robust mix of retail, culinary, entertainment, art, real estate and hotel. ... In the arts, we have enhanced the neighborhood’s outdoor spaces with technology-infused art installations and fostered dialogue around diversity, immigration, LGBTQ+ and more through the New Wave Artistin- Residence program.
How do you hope to bring about change? I feel most passionate about engaging with the community and developing vibrant neighborhood platforms that take into consideration inclusivity and diversity. ... We need to live in a world where everyone can learn from each other by listening to diff erent perspectives. ... Topics such as social consciousness and responsibility, sustainability, climate change, racial equity, diversity and inclusivity have all become front and center today, and it’s important for me to foster dialogue around these topics and continue to build inclusive environments.
What’s upcoming? The strength of this market extends beyond the office to the hotel, residential and retail sector—a rarity right now. Much of what is driving this city is the demand for space in and around mixed-use, connected live-work-play environments. Increasingly, consumers are looking for hyperlocal lifestyles, and both companies and brands are adapting to meet customers where they want to be. This May, a sculpture commissioned by British Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, CBE, will debut on the plaza at 360 Rosemary, and it represents the first-ever largescale public and private collaboration for a world-renowned artist in West Palm Beach. We are also breaking ground on 575 Rosemary, a mixed-use tower that includes luxury residences and retail space, and we are also excited to break ground on One Flagler, a Class-A world-class office building located along the Downtown West Palm Beach waterfront designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. West Elm’s upcoming opening completes the transformation of Downtown West Palm Beach into a design hub with 100,000-plus square feet of premier home goods retailers at Rosemary Square.
What drew you to Palm Beach? I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro and moved to Miami at the age of 12, so my love of Florida has been with me since childhood. The decision to move to Palm Beach (from New York) took a few things into consideration. My husband and I (business partners at Fashinnovation) have two toddlers (3 and 4 years old), and we wanted a better quality of life—both outdoor activities and warm weather year-round. We also realize that though our business is very much global, there is a need for more conversation to be had around technology and innovations and the fashion industry in Florida, and we wanted to make sure we brought it here as well. ... And I truly enjoy the beautiful palm trees.
What are you working on now? We recently pivoted our entire business model from physical, in-person events to digital in a matter of weeks when COVID hit. This escalated the attendance of our summits from 1,000 to over 100,000 attendees, now in 129 countries. We are in partnership with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and supported by the United Nations Office for Partnerships, which really has allowed us, and continues to allow us, to increase the awareness of the sustainable development goals and share those frameworks with brands and companies to understand the importance of sustainability and the importance of the role technology plays. We are also in the process of building out something that will truly unify and diversify the fashion industry globally. Stay tuned!
What first sparked your interest in the industry? It’s so funny, but usually you hear of lots of people getting into the fashion space because of their love for clothes, style, etc. I, on the other hand, went into the fashion industry (before I even launched Fashinnovation) due to my love of people. I felt that through fashion, you can connect with others in a very powerful way due to the fact that everyone (billions of people around the world) wears clothes. With this, if you get creative enough, you have an opportunity to enjoy what the fashion industry has to offer and impact billions of people.
How does Fashinnovation fill a void? We filled a ‘white space’ with Fashinnovation merging the gap in conversation between the technology world and the fashion space, as well as honing in on the importance that technology and innovation have when it comes to adapting sustainability into business models large or small. I feel we found a way with Fashinnovation to connect C-suite executives (that normally wouldn’t connect) at the level where cross-industry collaborations are formed. This creates an open environment where both industries can move forward in the right direction, especially with the fashion industry needing to adopt technologies at a fast pace due to the nature of today’s climate and all of the changes taking place.
Founder, GAVLAK Palm Beach
Describe your current work. In 2005 I opened my gallery in Palm Beach, as I noticed a void in the art community here. I then founded New Wave Art Wknd in 2018 with the aim to highlight the flourishing contemporary art scene in South Florida in collaboration with the opening of my friend and board member Beth Rudin DeWoody’s The Bunker Artspace. The residency program is supported by New Wave Art Wknd, with the themes of the annual noncommercial collector’s weekend reflected in the artists chosen for the residency program. The 2019 theme was Immigration Through a Cultural Lens, and 2020 was centered around Art as Activism: The Fight for Equality and Justice. Prior to founding the residency program, one of the artists represented by my gallery spent time in an ICE detention center, and working through that time with him inspired me to find a way to support artists outside of the traditional gallery model. This is especially true for those who might not be at the level of their career to have a support platform, such as gallery representation.
How does your innovation benefit Palm Beach? While Palm Beach is regarded as homogeneous and affluent, the community as a whole is much more than that. It’s important to be aware of this while continuing to work for and promote progress. There are so many incredible collectors and institutions in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, but I felt like the voices of artists were missing from the conversation. Since founding my gallery, my program and personal mission have always centered on supporting women and BIPOC artists. Bringing important and underrepresented voices here to reflect on, challenge and converse with the local community through the residency program and New Wave Art Wknd has been an amazing experience to witness so far, and we look forward to welcoming our next artists in residence as time goes on.
How do you hope to spur change? The audience in Palm Beach has the resources and connections to actually incite change, and they’re ready to have these discussions and listen to those who are at the forefront of the fight. Giving artists a seat at that table and putting a human face to the stories of those fighting so many odds against them to pursue their art will hopefully help to change hearts and minds. The past year alone has proven that this is possible, as we have seen a huge expansion of Palm Beach as an art world destination. It’s wonderful to see the galleries that opened spaces here join our mission, recognize the importance of our residency program and invest in its growth through involvement and sponsorship. It’s one thing to buy or sell an artist’s work, but it’s another to really empathize with and understand their struggles in a noncommercial way. Between the money, powerful collectors, local institutions and more artists soon to arrive and disrupt the conversation through our residency program, I know that we can continue to add to this discourse.
What’s next? We’re excited for GAVLAK’s upcoming exhibition schedule, having recently added April Bey, Kim Dacres, Mark Dennis and Karen Carson to the gallery roster, as well as significant museum acquisitions for Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.) to the Norton Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. For New Wave, we’re excited to welcome our upcoming residents as well as for New Wave Art Wknd 2021. Given the pandemic, we had to shift New Wave Art Wknd 2021 to a hybrid socially distanced in-person and virtual weekend of events. The silver lining was that it allowed us to engage and expand our audience from South Florida to around the world.
Photography by: Danielle Rollins photo by Nick Mele/Courtesy of Danielle Rollins; Dana Filetti photo by Carrie Bradburn from Capehart Photography; Hannah Seleck photo by Kristin Lee/Courtesy of Hannah Seleck; Gopal Rajegowda photo by Van Richardson; Jordana Guimaraes photo by Samuel Clemens Long; Sarah Gavlak photo by Weston Wells; all other photos courtesy of brands