In The Spotlight: Valencia Jean

Another spotlight for you all today! As always, if you or someone you know is interested in a feature on The Spotlight, please email me at BrittanyShawnte@gmail.com.

Today we have designer Valencia Jean, who I met briefly at the Made In The DMV Conference a few weeks back. Valencia is an androgynous fashion designer, creating clothes with neither a clear masculine nor feminine look. “I prefer men's clothes because I love the way men walk and feel when they feel good about themselves. But now, men are really starting to pay attention to they look, what's out, what's the trend?,” the designer said. “It allows [me] to really be creative with men’s style. But when I make women's clothes, it has a tomboy feel about it.”

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Valencia moved around a lot with her dad being in the Air Force, living in Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Germany, Alabama, and Atlanta, GA. Her experience specifically in Germany, and a class trip to England, exposed her to new cultures at a young age. “As a child, to experience different people and the way they live allows you to realize how we are similar and different. It allows you to really appreciate people.” Valencia’s great grandmother, great aunt, grandmother, and mother all were seamstresses, so it’s no surprise that she took up sewing when she was little. “I guess you could say it’s in my blood,” she joked.

In high school, Valencia decided that she wanted to pursue a career in fashion, and chose to attend The Art Institute of Atlanta (AIA), where she learned about the business side of fashion and grew in her craft. As far as the business side, she looked to Ralph Lauren who provided a business method that she connected to. Ashton Michael also serves as inspiration to Valencia, noting that “his style and clientele is something to achieve.” Since her upbringing itself was “worldly,” she says that her style isn’t based on just one place, but rather “the fashions of the world.”

Currently, Valencia is working on some custom made sweatshirts, inspired by singer Vedo, whom she actually made one for as a gift. “When I posted [a picture of him wearing it], there was a huge demand for them,” the designer said. Now, she’s in talks with an investor to fund the creation of more sweatshirts for buyers. Valencia is also working on a collection, collaborating with another designer to make samples. She plans to present the finished collection in a future fashion show!

In terms of what sets her apart from other designers, Valencia believes that she is different because she’s a woman designing for men. Her goal is to “create a brand that embraces that blurred line as far as masculinity and femininity,” she said. In the future, she wants to advance in the industry with her designs. “As a fashion designer, you have to forecast what will be a trend, or the next big look,” she stated. “With that being said, I just want to always be ahead of the curve.” However, she doesn’t want to be limited to just fashion design. She has the goal to become “the face of fashion.” “I want to be a judge on Project Runway. I also want to produce a sewing machine collection with Brother,” the designer revealed. “As a designer, I want 7 different brands that I already work on. I am an artist at heart, meaning anything artistic. I want to act a little, paint, dance etc. I just want to have fun and make money having fun!” Don’t ever put her in a box!

You can check out more from this talented designer by connecting with her on Instagram (both personal and professional pages) as well as Twitter

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