designing for her
I was born in Los Angeles where I spent my weekends at the mall and my summers at the beach like any true Valley Girl, until moving to Osaka, Japan for junior high and some of high school. My parents wanted to learn Japanese, so rather than take a course our family moved there. When we returned to the States after 4 years abroad, we settled into a suburb of Dallas where I experienced culture shock once again!
After 2 years of Community College, I attended the Art Institute of Dallas’ Fashion Design program which included an industry research trip to NYC. I was in love upon landing. (Well, not with LaGuardia, once we got into the city. Obviously)
My career began with my internship at W Magazine/ WWD where I worked as a wardrobe assistant, mail girl and coffee fetcher. Most recently I was the head designer for Marrakech Clothing, which started as a little grouping of pants and jackets and over 3 years grew into a full collection. My greatest career achievement so far.
I currently live in Westchester with my husband, baby daughter and 2 poorly-behaved doggies. I like classic rock and country music, wine, Chuck Taylors, ripped jeans, girly dresses and the beach. In my spare time I like to shop online, watch Real Housewives, FaceTime with my family, and make up songs for my baby.
What should everyone know about you?
JB: I am a senior-level womenswear designer with over 14 years of experience in the fashion industry and expertise in the concept-to-creation design process. My background includes creating branded and private label product for both missy and contemporary customers. I have worked for Calvin Klein, JCPenney, Fossil Inc and Marrakech Clothing to name a few.
How would you describe what you do?
JB: I learned early in my career that its rare to have a design job that allows you to create clothing that matches your own personal style. So I’ve gotten good at really getting to know my customer; understanding her taste, her figure, her budget, her lifestyle, and designing for her. Over time and with practice, knowing what She would wear or what She would like becomes second nature.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
JB: From a very young age I was obsessed with clothing and interested in fashion and styling. (as much as a 5 year old can know about styling!) I loved shopping and wanted to wear a new outfit, complete with different hair and accessories, several times a day. Choosing only ONE “look” for school each day was torture! It only made sense for me to learn the business behind it all!
What steps did you take to become a designer?
JB: I attended the Art Institute of Dallas and graduated from their Fashion Design program. I landed a sweet internship as a wardrobe assistant at W Magazine, taught myself to use Illustrator, and got really good at going on interviews!
Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
JB: The best part is seeing my ideas take life. The most challenging part is being creative in a hurry.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
JB: Kids’ Art teacher or a Forensic investigator.
How did you get started in design?
JB: I had no design experience, so I started out working in Customer Service at Fossil Inc., just to get my foot in the door. I spent months applying for Assistant Design jobs within the company and was finally really fortunate to be given a chance. I had an amazing mentor and soaked up everything I could from her and the team!
What do you like about what you do?
JB: It is really exciting and validating to see your designs on someone walking down the street. That’s my favorite part of this job.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
JB: That I go to NY Fashion Week. That I want to have my own line. That I personally know famous designers. That my job is super glamorous.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
JB: I am more focused on creating garments that my customer wants, building business and improving the product I make. When I started I just wanted to make cute clothes.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
JB: I don’t really wear color. Or print. And I hate chunky heels.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
JB: Have a thick skin and don’t take things too personally!
What advice would you give to young designers?
JB: Same answer as above! Although its easier said than done, especially for super sensitive introverted artsy types!
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
JB: I’m currently looking for the next step in my career! I hope to find an opportunity to share some of what I’ve learned over the years and also to grow as a designer!
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
JB: Superstitious? No. Rules? Work hard, have fun and be kind.
Learn more about Jessa at StylePortfolios.com
This Designer Profile is provided to us by our friends at StylePortfolios.com. To see more profiles like this OR to create a fashion design portfolio of your own, please visit StylePortfolios.com.