Friday, December 18, 2015

Generation is the New Accessory

Dominating the Philadelphia fashion scene, Jade Okere balances being a new mother and rising boutique owner. Coming from an influential trendy family Jade drew her inspiration from them eventually owning a boutique of women's clothing. Now that she is a mother her style has prioritized and become functional yet fashionable.

"It’s all about function" she explains. "You’re going from one lifestyle where it was all about you and what you wanted to wear that day and how you wanted to look and now if I want to wear something that wants to be dry cleaned it needs to be on a day where I don’t have the baby." there’s just a lot of things that you have to think about.”

Before Jade got her start in her dream boutique, she moved to Washington DC to work in a consignment shop.

“I just was making them a lot of money, I just was bringing in a lot of new business for them and it just was kind of taking off I was very interested in it.”

When asked about her thoughts on the success she was creating Jade clarified her goal, “I loved it and I was making them so much money that it got to the point where I was thinking, ‘why aren’t I doing this for myself?’, so after that is when I started Jade’s Closet.”

Two years after graduating Villanova, with a degree in Humanities and minor in Communications, she began Jade's Closet in 2010. “Yeah, it happened very fast" she exclaims. After renting a space for $200 a month in Manayunk where she did appointment only and got her brand out into the Philadelphia fashion scene by going to shows, Jade got her own storefront in Wayne in 2013. Quickly adapting to her new ownership, Jade stopped doing a lot of shows and naturally gained customers.

Unexpectedly, Jade's Closet attracted a different kind of crowd with stylish designs.
"Our most frequent customer is the customer between their 50s and 70s, you know, and it was really surprising. I was really surprised because that’s not what I was expecting coming into this area you know I was definitely expecting the mom, someone like me.”
When asked about her thoughts on such an interesting demographic she reveals a secret!
“It’s so cool to see because that’s what I want to be when I’m that age, it’s like I’m looking at myself in forty years.” She fads over their leather jackets and sharp style, “it builds me!”
Older and still shopping at Jade’s Closet?
“I still hope I’m in my leather jacket, my high-waisted jeans, and a button down. Classic. If I’m still doing that at 60 I will be like in my prime.”


Surrounded by a luxurious yet fun boutique setting with pink, grey and fluffly pillows Jade fantasizes over her future self. I admire her outfit as she’s rocking the ultimate classic/edgy style with her black and white chiffon button up, black leggings and stylish flats. All from Jade’s Closet, of course! By the looks of her fashion forward yet classic undertone, she will be working her signature style for a long time.
For all who are looking for that classic, stylish, always-on-point outfit, Jade’s Closet carries designers (Mara Hoffman, Alexis, Joe's Jeans, 3x1 Denim, Day, Shae, 2nd Day, Sen, Asilio, Rails, and ATM) outfitting your every need. Newcomers become returning customers, but, more importantly, a friend of the Jade’s Closet family.
Building a business that ensures customers become friends and the environment is welcoming and comfortable, Jade hopes to pass down Jade’s Closet to her daughter Jasmine. Inspired by her love of flowers, Jasmine is quite the stylish 15-month old taking after her mother. Listen up new moms! Get all the trendy baby clothes from Gap, Zara Kids, J. Crew and vintage classics at Shop Sweet Threads, don’t forget to support local boutiques!
How does super-mom, Jade Okere maintain a healthy lifestyle balancing a booming boutique and mommy life?
“As I put my kid and my husband first, it also helps to take care of myself. I want to feed my daughter super healthy so it’s actually encourage me to start and I’ve actually fed my daughter avocado and hummus on pita bread, if she was never born that would’ve never even came to my house.”
Get on it mothers! There’s no McKy D’s runs for a treat, rather healthy alternatives and the occasional chocolate chip cookie. Seems like baby Jas is creating a healthy-eating lifestyle into the Okere household, “If I introduced her to McDonalds or something like that she’s not going to eat hummus anymore, so it’s all about what you introduce to them you know what I mean?”
Yes, we do!
Completing an all-around life, momma Jade gets in her exercise simply by carrying around Jasmine and chasing her around on her most energetic days (which is a lot)! Don’t be fooled, Jade isn’t your normal stay-at-home mom, she is a dedicated business woman and in doing so works hard (loving what she does, of course!) so that her legacy lives on when she reaches her prime 60 years of age!
“For me, and I think and it’s funny because I was just watching a video with Jada Pickett Smith and her daughter asked her ‘what’s it like to be a wife and a mother?’ and you know her answer in a sum of words is, ‘society expects women to be okay staying at home and women who are not okay staying at home, they make you feel bad’”. Who needs that?! Frankly, Jade is a tough business woman who knows what she wants, setting an inspirational persona for females in the workplace.
Bold, ambitious, composed, Jade feels fulfilled creating an eclectic boutique for a wide range of visitors. And for the 5-year-old who used to change her outfits three times a day, she definitely has her eyes set on a goal, there will be nothing stopping this stylish mom/boutique owner/fashionista from her dreams!
“Slow down, when an opportunity comes, you have to take full advantage of it. You have to take full advantage of any opportunity you have in life because you don’t want to look back and say, ‘I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that, I should’ve worked harder’.”
Keep on keeping on, Jade! And always doing it in style.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Lie About Lace

Lace is empowering. Lingerie inspired clothing enhances a women's personality through the perceptions of her outfit. Throw away all of the controversies with lace accents, silky attire or satin shimmers, and wear them as personality embellishments.

Allison Massott, fashion student at Philadelphia University agrees, "lace makes me feel good!" Alli exclaims with such sass. She continues to explain the importance of women embracing femininity against sexism in the workplace and how women are enhanced by what they wear.

The stereotypical scenario in the office, a man is the CEO and below him are his female co-workers. In this scene he provokes condescending attitudes, women are inferior and man superior. Any feminist has stood behind the true power of a female. In this case, drapes of lace are drapes of confidence.

Women are the story and man the book, we stir up the conversations, spice up any day and sure as hell remain professional while doing it. Bold, work oriented yet still carry self-belief.

Thankfully people became more open minded in the 90's cause if not, we'd still be living in the 1800's! This time set forth the path to fashion fads, such as lingerie inspired clothing. Wearing lace does not symbolize those easy, stereotypical thoughts. It is added texture to any outfit that needs a pick-me-up that gives a vintage or victorian flare, nighttime accents and still resembles a classy a confident aura.

Incorporating lace or silk into an outfit seems to come from a 90's grunge look. Conceptualized today into more of an everyday wear. Now that the 70's era is reappearing, wrapping satin scarves around your neck tones down the outfit, reverting from any sexual imitations.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pop-Up Palooza

Networking is key when starting out as a college student in the fashion industry. Attending Jade's Closet Pop-Up Shop In the City located in the Liberty Place Shopping Center definitely exposed myself to this skill of indulging in conversation. Owner, Jade Okere's brick-and-mortar store resides at 200  Lancaster Ave, Wayne PA.

First arriving at the event, the window is animated with live models, Khalia Abner and Naray Ambrosio, presenting the hottest looks. There were multiple designers being featured: Mara Hoffman, Alexis, Joe's Jeans, 3x1 Denim, Day, Shae, 2nd Day, Sen, Asilio, Rails, and ATM.

But, this pop-up event was more involved than I suspected. Customers with purchases over $100 received a complimentary fashion sketch done by Veronica Marche Miller. And to be even more involved with the booming fashion night-out, guests were encouraged to create a flip book made out of multiple photos. Such a fun souvenir!

Clean, classic and very modern almost like I was attending a celebrity event, Javier Alonzo created the ambiance for Jade's Closet. Javier is the Associate Creative Director of Skai Blue Media and did not disappoint attendees. Realizing how shy I am when surrounded by people I don't usually relate with regularly, it was refreshing to break out of my shell and enjoy a natural conversation with Javier.

Learning outside of the classroom benefits myself in the most unusual way. Since traditional approaches are informing students the importance of networking, participating in fashion events such as these firsthand prepare myself for what's to come. Maybe I'll be at the next one, look out!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cozy Toes

Curled up in the plushest blanket, the breeze is heard through the window cracked open, and mother is baking her famous pumpkin pie. Autumn has arrived and my go-to, "I can't live without" accessory are funky, fluffy socks! How else will I keep my toes warm yet still looking cute? 

Fall/Winter seasons are a time for ultimate festivity. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, ummm you know I am in every store that is selling crazy socks or stockings. Sure, I have my staple neutrals but, when the time comes to rock my orange and black striped thigh highs or rudolph socks (with jingle bells, of course!), I am showing them off in the most fashion-forward way possible. 

My friends are the ones who have a separate shoe closet, I'm the weirdo with a separate sock closet. I have so many I can't fit them all in one drawer! 

Who else can say they match their Halloween decorations, or Thanksgiving dinner with a pair of festive feet? ME! These toe coats give me life for my OOTD and I haven't come across someone who disagrees. 

Go ahead, wear the candy corn knee highs under your trendy leather boots to the office, no one has to know! Business on the outside, party on the inside. The perfect way to embrace your favorite holiday everyday of the week! 

They're costumes for your feet, heck if they make costumes for animals, why not? Trust me, your feet will thank you. 

Now, go out there and buy some socks!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Inspired By Lingerie.

Sexy black lace, chiffon slits brings femininity to designers' Spring/Summer 2016 collections during New York Fashion week. Although it may be intimidating to try and be sexy feminine yet still look professional and respected is becoming the norm today. In modern day, women are embracing their authority with these layers of lace because of its versatility. We always come back to it. 

  "I definitely think that the lingerie trend is something that people will follow," said
David Loranger, an Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, who sees potential in this trend. "It's a really nice way to build an outfit, because you can layer pieces one over the other. You'll definitely see this trend trickle down into other levels of distribution, potentially next year," Loranger said 

At Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci used the aesthetic of lace to make his day dresses flow with dramatic flare. Diane von Furstenberg created easy elegance with chiffon floral printed garments, celebrating being free and individual. And Calvin Klein showcasing effortless, sensual satin attire as a staple for the upcoming season. 

Celebrities such as Rihanna, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Rita Ora, so many more rock this trend to a T! Beyonce is the queen (obviously) of pulling off feminine bombshell on the red carpets. From her Givenchy Couture lace and blue feathered gown at the 2012 Met Gala, in 2014 a Michael Costella-designed angelic white laced gown at the Grammy's, and we all remember when she defined fashionably late in that barely-there yet stunning Givenchy crystal-ed gown at the 2015 Met Gala in New York. Clearly there are paths being opened for all of us to be inspired by their showstopping looks.

One of the most popular brands among teens and young adults is Urban Outfitters and Free People. They've influenced a majority of their customers to wear the ever so versatile 'bralette'. See-through tops with a delicate bralette peeking through remains a fashion fad and is becoming more widely accepted. 

Wearing lingerie seems like it could be controversial, Pielah Kim former Visual Merchandiser for Ralph Lauren denies this with positive reinforcement, "this trend has been in fashion for awhile and it always comes back. It is mainstream but popular which is why high-end designers like to adapt." 

The trend originated in the 16th century with Queen Elizabeth I emitting royalty and voluptuous dresses sometimes with matching head pieces, but this fad continues to reappear in later centuries, David joyfully explains the history. 
 "I think you see this trend repeat itself quite often in history, but in the 20th century, I would say it really hit its peak during the Flapper Era," 

The 20's were all about taking risks, hence "The Roaring Twenties" and women were empowered. The icon flapper wore makeup, cut her hair, smoked, drank, stood up for herself and embraced the attention. 

Lingerie inspired clothing has been in and out of fashion since the Victorian Era when Queen Victoria began the white wedding dress tradition that was draped with satin and lace accents.

We saw it become a trend outside of royalty in the 1920s Coco Chanel combined her black lace fabrics with metallic, embroidered and beaded laces. Then, in the 1940s and 1950s it became more sophisticated and toned down. 

Loranger continues to add on film significance, "You really see you this a lot in Film Noir movies, and other types of movies such as Dinner at Eight, where Jean Harlow was such an icon of that style." A famous quote by Jean Harlow, "Men like me because I don't wear a brassiere. Women like me because I don't look like a girl who would steal a husband. At least not for long," the predecessor of Marilyn Monroe and Madonna, giving women confidence and stature in their everyday endeavors.

The 1970s born the Bohemian vibe and in the 80s lingerie inspired was punk.

"But really the designer who was a trendsetter in terms of the style is Betsey Johnson... She's really the person who took it to the next level by applying unusual prints, And interpreting it in a Punk Rock/New Wave sort of feeling," so excitingly Loranger says and opened my eyes to see the designers fabulous potential. "She's the person who built her entire perspective on the look, And in my opinion, does it better than anyone else!" I definitely see that now!

As far as modern day, it's evolution is apparent, David Loranger explains how the trend today is a lot more sophisticated. There are more textures interpreted through prints, not so much literally in the fabrications.

The trend now so interestingly portrays women and authoritativeness, not just because she is wearing lace means it is to be taken as slinky, overplayful or that she shouldn't be taken seriously.

WhoWhatWear takes to social media to post one of the few inspirational quotes by DVF saying, "Confidence. if you have it, you can make anything look good," well, thank you Diane! In this year's collection designed by DVF, she does no less than embrace feminine power with her Marlowe lace jumpsuit and chic lace romper paired with a statement black jacket for the millenial behind the cubicle or the woman running for office. #SoDVF.

No one enjoys seeing their favorite trend slip out of the world of fashion so quickly. 

The lingerie trend has potential for staying power, "I think it will stay for awhile, at least for 2016 spring and summer. Past several years, women wearing clothes coming from men’s look was in trend (looking at the item like boyfriend shirt, baseball jacket), so it is no surprising to me that super-feminine trend is coming back to shift the gear." Pielah Kim.

Look out for this trend to flood stores with galore and simplicity.
"I think when this trend arrives at the store, it will likely be very toned down so it can be incorporated into the everyday look," Kim said.

"For instance, using more durable, thicker lace, using rayon instead of satin, etc." Pielah Kim.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Is This Evolution at the Emmy's?

Simplicity will always catch my eye, ESPECIALLY when it comes to her evolution from sporting a giant egg to the controversial meat costume. Lady Gaga stunts the most gorgeous black gown created by Brandon Maxwell at the 2015 Emmy Awards. 

I mean, Gaga defined showstopper in the most unrecognizable way. This was not what we were expecting! She compliments this new persona with natural, low maintenance hair and makeup. Not to worry though, she managed to keep the Gaga in the gown with a modern side detail quaintly accentuating her figure. 

Showing us that not only are women not to be treated like a piece of meat, we are confident and deserve to be looked up to as well, way to go Gaga!

Premiering on the upcoming season of American Horror Story, the singer has been killing it! Since Gaga always has a method to her madness, and analyzing her dress from the Emmys this could possibly foreshadow her character on AHS. Either way, we are all excited to see what she has next for her little Monsters. 

Catch Lady Gaga and the rest of the AHS cast on the new season 'Hotel' on October 7th on Fox!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Life is a Sandbar with Tommy Hilfiger

I was transported to a breezy, tropical island filled with vibrant and cohesive colors experimenting with the bohemian-reggae style. Tommy Hilfiger, an American designer born in Elmira, New York and founded his own brand continues to offer apparel for men, women and children throughout the United States. Inspired by his beach house in Mustique he definitely brought the sun, sand and water with him to the runway. 

By creating the beachy scene, his designs came to life. The audience had their toes in the sand watching the models strut down the boardwalk enclosing a lagoon in the middle. Nothing says paradise like a few bronzed bodies and Jamaican vibes.

Passion in his heart, in 1995 his dedication awarded itself and was named Menswear Designer of the Year appointed by the CFDA. Ever since his start, Tommy's designs have become the norm for shoppers claiming his importance among the fashion industry. His runway presentation did nothing but exceed expectations.

The setting and flow of the garments caught my eye, immediately. If I could lay in the sun all year, I would and Tommy Hilfiger got me excited for Spring/Summer 2016 already!

He really brought out the image through this presentation and I enjoyed watching as the models breezed past. I felt relaxed, yet energetic. Where is summer?! He kept on trend with an emphasis on crochet, long flowing dresses, floral prints and a touch of silk.

I will no doubt be purchasing a few bathing suits from his SS16 line for my next vacation.