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Jillian Lenae - Student Fashion Designer

If you’ve ever wanted to learn the ins and outs of being a fashion designer, this interview is for you. Maybe you are even interested in becoming a fashion designer yourself, either way, keep reading! Jillian Lenae is a young fashion designer from Texas. She is a fashion student preparing for New York Fashion Week in September 2021! She runs her brand with sustainability and ethics in mind.

When did you start designing clothes and how did you learn?

I started exploring design around the age of nine. My mother taught me to sew as it is also a passion of hers. I started creating garments and exploring my creativity with her encouragement.

What was the moment when you knew you wanted to do fashion design as a career?

I have known that I wanted to pursue design for a very long time. I would go around telling people that I was going to be a fashion designer when I was little. Yet, I wasn’t truly confident in that dream until around my junior year of high school. I knew that I always wanted to pursue design, but there were many figures in my life that caused me to believe that; the industry was too competitive; I wasn't capable of being successful, or it would just be so much easier to pursue a different career. During my junior year, my fashion design teacher instilled the confidence that I could make it in the industry if I just let my passion lead the way.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years? And in 10 years?

In five years I hope to see my brand grow far beyond my current expectations. I hope to have a loyal community established, one that values sustainability, class, and timeless style. One of my major goals as a designer that doesn’t tie to my brand directly is that I want to compete on Project Runway, I think it would be an incredible opportunity to learn from those who share my passions, network, and grow as an individual. Another goal is that within five years Lillian Jenae Designs will be well established in a retail setting, my goal being between 3 and 5 major retailers.

Moving onto ten years, honestly, really depends on how the next five go. I would just say I am aiming for continued support and more passion for my work than ever before.

What is the process like getting ready for New York Fashion Week?

So stressful. That's the honest answer. There are always so many different things to get done. Making the collection is really just half the battle, and most people don’t realize how much work goes on outside of that. I am relieved to have my designs finalized (for now) but that can always change. The other half is; paperwork, planning, working on styling concepts for the show, preparing for production, getting exposure for my brand and the show because for a collection to be successful people need to be able to hear about it. On top of it all, I am still a full-time student, it may be stressful but it is even more rewarding.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start designing clothes?

I would say to just get started. It doesn’t matter when or where you start, all that matters is that you do. So start sketching, get your creative concepts down, make mood-boards, learn to sew, watch YouTube videos. If you have an idea, put it on paper, start exploring and learn from as many people as you can, make opportunities for yourself. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t just decide to jump in headfirst.

Thank you to Jillian for taking the time to answer these questions! Make sure to follow her on Instagram @Jillian_Lenae and @LillianJenaeDesigns

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