This week’s edition of ECIG is special for two reasons.
1. It’s the first new ECIG since I spaced out and messed up last week’s. (Special!)
2. It’s an interview!
I came across Janean Johnson’s collection of one-of-a-kind pieces on Smashing Darling, and was so enamored, I had to contact her and bombard her with questions during one of her busiest times (because that’s just the kind of fan I am).
Miss Elle: Hi Janean! So, what made you turn your love of fashion photography into the gorgeous, renowned fashion design company you’ve created for yourself?
Janean Johnson: Actually I’ve been a designer longer then I have been a photographer but photography reopened my great love for clothes!
ME: I love that you don’t create your designs on the basis that “you can wear them anywhere, anytime” – you admit in your designer profile on your website that “some [designs] are wearable, some are just for show.” How did you decide on that approach?
JJ: In all honesty its whatever starts dancing in my head. I don’t really plan on one being wearable and one being a show piece until construction actually begins.
ME: Do you wear your own pieces?
JJ: Definitely, my closet is full of my own personal designs for myself. Very hard to find clothes that fit me properly and are my own style. I fit making stuff for myself in between my other pieces.
ME: I just discovered that you do custom orders, where clients can pick the material, color, and even send you a sketch. What’s the price range for that?
There’s really no direct answer for that, it depends on how intricate the design is, what kind of material you want, what its going to take to piece it together ie zippers, buttons, rings etc. I base my rate off how long its going to take to make the pattern and construct the garment.
ME: I’m hypnotized by your use of shape and color. What inspires your choices in each piece?
That’s funny, I am not a conventional designer. I don’t pick a theme and a few fabrics and go with it. I keep a variety of fabrics in my studio and sometimes the fabric creates the design, sometimes it can be just a shape that will create an entire outfit. You never can tell what I’m going to do!
ME: I see you as kind of a “renegade designer.” You mentioned to me that you don’t create “lines” or “collections”, but instead make pieces when you want to, and those pieces are truly one-of-a-kind – truly “couture”. Do you have any plans to make multiples of your designs in the future?
JJ: I am actually working on creating something like that. It won’t be an enormous amount but I will eventually have pieces that I will create more then once in different fabric choices and stuff. I just finished my prototype for my own ladies logo tank top. Its plain cotton but I use the really sturdy cotton and my logo is done in my signature which of course is crazy colored fake fur. Those will be available for order soon in a variety different fur choices and even those will be limited in quanities for the fur as I still would like to maintain a uniqueness.
ME: What kind of girl do you envision wearing your clothes?
The ones that like to be different and think outside of the box. Fashion is a choice its no longer where you are limited to whatever era it happens to be so women who aren’t afraid are my kind of clients.
ME: Where do you see JaJo Couture in 5 years?
JJ: Who really knows? I’d like to be doing custom pieces for music artists and what not by then and I don’t necessarily mean people like the Pussy Cat dolls or Jennifer Lopez. I’m hoping I have a lot more exposure by then as I have a few shows I’m working on for this year and some new photoshoots coming up in the future.
ME: Where can people purchase your amazing, one of a kind designs?
JJ: I’m working on the store front for my website right now and that will probably be available in the next month or so but I always welcome inquiries on pieces that are in my galleries.