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Read my interview with Alexandra Wilson

Posted by Jean Jones on
What does the rose signify for you? Recurrent themes for me are beauty and optimism, which I find through rose imagery and the use of my signature color red. I chose the rose as my logo, because, to me, a full, opened rose is absolutely, completely, perfectly beautiful. I find a rose's color and shape completely random and magical. Seeing a big, open rose is so beautiful to me, and that beauty inspires me in my clothing designs. I offer an item with rose imagery in every collection. Also, I am inspired by a riveting, deep red color. It all started when I saw a woman in a swingy red skirt crossing the street when I was traveling in Eperney, France. She was so beautiful, and so confidant. She looked like she owned her life, and she dressed to please herself. To me, this is optimism...living life to the fullest, for the moment at hand. And this is why I always include a red piece. I know you and your family lived in Europe for a while. Can you describe your experience living there and the influence it had on you as a designer? Living in Europe was one of the most significant experiences of my life. We moved there because my husband was hired to teach at a British university. We moved back because we had a devastating death in our family. So we were only there for two years. Sometimes I think those two years have filled me with enough inspiration for a lifetime. To live and breathe in another place, for longer that you would on a vacation, and long enough to make lifetime friends and become part of a place that is another country, is transformative. I have many designs and concepts that are based on people I know, people I saw, feelings I had, colors and textures that I absorbed. I have also been able to source many fabrics, buttons and trims from the UK, France and Italy, which is fabulous for me and my customer. Our family does go back as often as possible, so the inspiration from our time is Europe stays fresh and keeps coming! What has been one of your biggest obstacles and how did you overcome that? Returning to production studio work after being a stay-at-home mom. I know I am not alone here in the slightly terrifying experience of getting back in the game after having a block of years of being definitively out of the game. I adore the time in my life that I was a stay-at-home mom, and, since I had twins two years after my daughter was born, I had "three under three." I don't think it's even legal for one person to be in charge of that many small children at once in a day care. So those years were kind of crazy and wonderful. But it was really hard for me to return to the industry after my time out, and I wish that I had chosen to at least keep a foot in the door in those years. In 10 years, so much had changed in retail and production and technology. I'm still learning new things every day, and I still have times when I have to ask questions. I just dig down deep and tell myself that I deserve to be where I am, and that my age and my experiences make me stronger, not weaker. And at least I have my kids, who are now 20 and 17, to help me out! How old were you when you began sewing and who taught you? I have been lucky to have a lot of influential mentors along the way, like my mom teaching me to sew when I was only in the second grade, and my dad teaching me to make doll house furniture from kits when I was just a little older than that, and my quirky older cousin who gave me a subscription to American Craft Magazine when I was just in high school, and who also influenced me to live with individuality, and to pursue an interest in handmade items that tell a story. However, the person who really tapped into my soul and helped me to envision what I can do with what I feel inside of me, was my hottie boyfriend, turned husband of 25 years and counting, Drew Jones. He lit the fire in me to pull from within, take chances, and put my vision into something tangible. I owe him everything. He is the one who encouraged me to take my first real steps, and he's still pushing me. What was your turning point as a designer to create Jean Jones? Before I started Jean Jones, I started Jean Jones Couture, where I made couture garments for clients one piece at a time. After moving to Austin 5 years ago, I created the Jean Jones brand because I wanted to make couture garments that are accessible to more women. Now I offer the same level of couture quality in a ready-to-wear fashion. To do this, I spent several years working with my fit and patternmaking mentor, Sarah Veblen, and I developed my size range to fit real women's bodies in the most flattering way possible. I am very proud of the sizes that I offer and the niche that I have in offering perfectionist quality garments, in luxury fabrics, in a size range that is accessible to as many women as possible. Jean Jones will be launching her silk collection at Art x Austin x Fashion April 17th 3pm - 6pm. We would love for you all to join us for a wonderful evening to discover Austin's emerging designers.

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