Who are you?

I am Jacqui, a fashion designer who just recently graduated with my bachelor’s in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art. I am currently working on my debut collection for my upcoming brand “Ja,” a contemporary brand for women who love to look sexy and feel confident in timeless pieces.

What was the first outfit you remember wearing that made you feel fly?

To be honest, I always feel pretty fly with the outfits I put together. But, two years ago for my birthday, I made this pink, puffy tulle dress. It was the most dramatic piece I had ever made. Actually, it was the most dramatic piece I had ever worn, and I honestly was a bit nervous about wearing it. Once I put it on I felt so confident and fly! That piece definitely inspired me to go outside of my comfort zone more often.

“[There’s] so much beauty in this world, how can you not be inspired?”

Aside from fashion references, what influences your style?

I love this question! I’m influenced mostly by aesthetically pleasing spaces and places I see around the world. I always see pictures of Greece and Italy, just lovely places all over Europe, and instantly think of pieces that I would make when I visit there. I can see traveling influencing a lot of my future collections. [There’s] so much beauty in this world, how can you not be inspired? I’m also influenced by a lot of music. I always see a vision in my head of what I’ll wear in certain song’s video! I can listen to my favorite song and get inspired. I always need to listen to music while I’m working on a piece as well.

What three elements define your look?

My three elements are quality fabrics, creative, sexy silhouettes, and colors that compliment the skin tone.

What brands/designers are you into right now?

Right now, I’m really into Jacquemus, Sakpotts, Valentino, Iris Van Herpen and Old Celine just to name a few. I have a lot of favorites. The designers mentioned are all different from one another but I love how each one has its own individual aesthetic! I love how their designs make women feel.

What is a must-have garment or accessory for every closet?

A must-have garment for every closet should be a nice, dramatic jacket for the fall. Everyone needs that one jacket that sets the tone for every fit come fall. And as far as an accessory goes, a nice statement bag! I wore my statement bag out so much that I think I’ve ruined it. But nonetheless, a statement bag can definitely add that pop to whatever you’re wearing.

“People who have a personal sense of style are gifted.”

Do you think fast fashion has had a positive or negative effect on people cultivating a personal sense of style?

I think that fast fashion is something that is needed for those who just don’t care to have a personal style. The fast fashion is something some people rely on to create their looks. For those who have their own style, they’re not affected by fast fashion at all. People who have a personal sense of style are gifted. It’s something that just can’t be taught if you ask me. It’s embedded in you.