Vancouver Fashion Week S/S19 - Interview with Designer Lyndsey Jackson of Phased by LJ

VFW SS19 Images by photographer Arun Nevader for Gettysburg Images (unless otherwise noted)

Image from VFW to designer.
No photographer credit given
Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career. 

My initial reaction to this question was no, I never dabbled in fashion when I was younger. Now that I’ve thought about it for a moment, maybe I have. Does playing dress-up in your mom and dad’s old clothes count? Or dressing up your Barbies with your sisters to get them ready for a runway show? Or stealing clothes out of your sister’s closet as a teenager because you wanted to expand your wardrobe…

Travelling in Europe is probably what got me the most interested in fashion. My friend and I showed up in Paris with our comfy Lululemons and giant backpacks at the age of 18 – we stuck out like sore thumbs. As you probably know, women in Europe are classy AF and fashion is in your face. By Italy, I had a whole new travel wardrobe and I loved it.

When I came back from Europe this first time, I took Art History and Psychology courses (which I loved), but I wanted to do something more practical. I ended up getting a Bachelor of Business Administration from BCIT and took a semester abroad in Berlin. For 6 months, I went to school in Berlin and travelled around Europe again. What an amazing city to have studied in during my 20s. It is full of young people exploring their youth; art, music, and history. There is an underground culture of partying in abandoned buildings that have turned into miniature cities/nightclubs, and everybody and their mom wants to be a resident DJ. Berlin sparked my creative interests.

After I graduated, I wanted to make money, so I made the move to get into software sales. This job gave me a lot of financial independence and allowed me to move downtown and live the city life I wanted. It was great at first and I learned a lot about the business and selling. Eventually, I got worn down by the industry and decided that I wanted to do something more technical and with my hands, something that I could be passionate about when times get tough in my career. Less than two years later, here I am.

My family and friends have been an incredible support throughout my decision to change my career path. They are all so excited for me and I am so lucky. My mom is a great seamstress and helps me a lot around fashion week and crunch times.

How did you learn your skills? If you studied fashion design where? If you are self-taught how did you hone your skills?

My mom was the first person that taught me how to sew. It requires you to think three steps ahead, and to have a lot of patience.

When I left the software industry, I took a 6-month Core Design Program at John Casablancas Institute. This is where I learned the ins and outs of creating a fashion line. From getting your ideas on paper, to pattern drafting, to executing your ideas. I was lucky to have been part of a small class with a lot of attention from my teachers, who were all industry professionals. Also, Maneli (Program Director) is amazing. She has set me up with so many industry contacts and has given me a lot of opportunities since I graduated.

Now, I am constantly learning and teaching myself about the industry through trial and error, meeting new people, making connections, and asking a million questions.

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

Finding inspiration and getting my ideas on paper is my favorite part of the process – next to completing it ;-)

The hardest part is managing my time (I haven’t quit my day job yet) and being patient, but it is teaching me patience.

Where do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

I like looking to music for inspiration; different eras, genres, music videos, etc.  Chaos gives me inspiration, and the idea that nothing is perfect.  I have purposely used monochromatic colour palettes in my collections so far, as to focus more on cut, lines, and asymmetry.

Readers would love to know more about the current collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week.

Collection name: “Feels like TWENTYSOMTHNG.”  It is inspired by the era of our 20’s – travel, learning, experimenting, music, partying…fun times. The palette is stark white…and grays. With a small contrast of yellow and green.

I experimented - A) with a lot of different textures, as opposed to colours, in this collection B) with repurposing some of the material from my old clothes when I was “twentysomthng” and C) this was the first time I got an original print digitally printed on a fabric. It was all a learning experience, and there was a lot of spontaneity in the designs.

Do you have a favourite look in?

Probably the high neck midi-dress, because the fabric for the digital print showed up at my door different than planned, so I had to change my designs up for those pieces last minute. It was off the cuff. The print itself turned out great, and it has a lot of sentimental value to me.

Turns out I enjoy the spontaneity of repurposing fabrics from old garments or being given an unexpected fabric and getting creative with how to make it work symbiotically with a collection.

Left and centre image by - Arun Nevader for Gettysburg Images, Right image from Designer's Website
Where can readers purchase your designs?

At the moment, I am working on updating my website, but my contact details are there (or you can contact me through my Instagram) and I am willing to create custom pieces from my collection.

In the new year, I will be taking pre-orders for selected looks in my spring/summer catalogue. Stay tuned for that.

What's next for you as a designer and your brand? 

New website w/ online catalogue and store. More repurposing, finding more ways to take my designs greener, and exploring ways to give back to the community.  Many more fashion weeks!

Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your brand that isn't included above? 

Nothing comes to mind. If it’s not life or death, have fun with it and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Image from the website - Some of the designer's FW18 Collection
What advice do you have for young fashion artists just beginning their journey to become designers?

If you love what you’re doing, don’t give up. Achieving yours goals is so rewarding, so make sure you have some.  Get exposure, and don’t say no to learning opportunities. When you are given a short timeline for a project, it’s an opportunity to test your creativity and resourcefulness.  Nobody’s waiting for you, so hustle hard.

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