Good afternoon my lovelies! Hope the start to your week is going well, I know I’m glad I made it through Monday! Now off to the good stuff, today I have for you an exclusive interview with designer, Gigi Jorié. This particular designer will be showcasing her spring/summer line at the LS 1426 Curves Swim Week this coming June. I was truly excited to review the interview, as she gave honest and thought provoking answers, I hope you feel the same way too! And her swim suit line is pretty fabulous too!
JB: First, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your clothing line?
GJ: “GiGi Jorié is made up of the daughter/mother team of Georgia and Marjorie Greenwood “hence our name”, we specialize in swim/resort wear. Wearable Luxury Defined (WLD) is the only way to describe a GiGi Jorié garment, the woman who is welcomed into the illustrious club of GiGi Jorié is confident enough to be noticed and secure in her sexuality. We create clothing that distinguishes a woman in a crowd and fully captures the essence of femininity and creates an immediate transformation for whoever wears it. I was surrounded by fashion growing up, my mom is a an amazing seamstress and was on the team that sewed for the Rex Nettleford Dance Company back in our home island of Jamaica so I was always in that world of bright colours, drama, and theatrics, its’ engrained in my blood. We migrated to Canada in the early 90’s and in 2008 we created our first lingerie line and debuted it at the International Fuller Woman Expo www.thefullerwomanexpo.com. The Expo was extremely well received and since then we have just been perfecting our craft.
When we officially decided to take it to the next level, we chose a swimwear line based on our heritage; the sight, sound, smells of the islands; the sea, sun and sand; it was an easy and obvious choice. I love colors, swim and resort/cruise wear is such a fun area that you can unleash your creativity in.”
JB: When did you start designing and what inspired you to design?
GJ: Because my mom is a seamstress, the majority of my clothing is made by her. I never really saw anything in the stores that would fit my style and personality so I would come up with a concept/idea/style and she would bring it to life. People started to comment on my style and from there we started getting clients for custom made orders. I loved watching the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, but never saw anyone who looked like me being represented on the runway. It was quite disheartening to be made to feel like if you were not a particular size, you weren’t beautiful or sexy enough to wear such garments. So in 2008 I wanted to prove a point, and I created a plus size lingerie line and it just evolved from there.
JB: Do you believe there has been improvement in the plus-size fashion industry?
GJ: Most definitely! From when I started in 2008, I have seen tremendous changes. More and more designers are opening their eyes to what the average woman really looks like, and not what they have illustrated in their sketch books. The access to more fashionable clothing choices has more than doubled and the ability to shop online now provides more options to shoppers and suppliers far and wide allowing you the opportunity to find what you need at the click of a button.
JB: What is your opinion on the improvement of the plus size fashion industry?
GJ: It has been a long journey and yes there have been amazing strides that we should all be proud of. We are seeing more sizes of 6-10 in the media, movies and a few fashion shows, but we still have such a long way to go. There needs to be more of a true representation in the media and on the runway showcasing the average woman in North America. Where are the sizes 14 to 20? We need to see us represented in the main stream media and not just in the targeted plus size community. We need to be on the front cover of major magazines like Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, etc. We need to be gracing the runways in London, Paris, New York and Toronto Fashion Weeks and not having to create our own “fashion week” to fit in. It’s still an uphill battle but if we have enough voices screaming for this change we can make it happen; we won’t all like each other and that’s just life, but what we do need to understand, is that we all have a common denominator and that is the decimation we face as plus sized women. When we say “#unityinthepluscommunity” this statement should not be taken lightly, people tend to use this statement for only those they believe belong in “their circle”; but this is a worldwide issue and we all need to be in a space where we are celebrated. Once we develop, cultivate, and execute that “ant colony” philosophy and “unity in the plus community” we will be valued and we can start moving the mountains of change.
JB: How does your clothing line represent the plus size woman?
GJ: The vision of GiGi Jorié is simple, to not just to create a garment to sell, but to release a feeling of power, control, femininity and sensuality to any woman that wears our clothing. Being an Image Consultant, far too often I encounter too many women with extremely low self-esteem and low self-confidence. This is mainly because they have never seen themselves in a positive light, and my line represents that. My line pushes you to a new level of self-acceptance and love; allowing you to come alive ready to reclaim your power and affirm your femininity.
JB: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
GJ: That’s an amazing question and I don’t even know where to start answering it. We have huge plans for GiGi Jorié over the next five years; we will be focusing on developing our brand, perfecting our designs, formulating effective marketing strategies and getting our products into the right hands.
JB: How do you stay motivated in the constantly changing, fashion industry?
GJ: My clients keep me motivated. I get emails of gratitude constantly. The fashion industry is a fickle one and can be very daunting at times so to keep grounded, I try not to follow trends; I just base my designs on my mood, environment and get inspiration from existing couture designs.
JB: What advice do you have for those wanting to be in this industry? Any specific suggestions?
GJ: Preparation is the key. In this business you have to be fully aware of what you’re getting into, it’s a tough, unforgiving industry with an abundance of negativity, criticism and judgment so you have to know who you are and be strong enough to go against the status quo to make your mark and stand out. If there is one advice I can give, it is to do your research, don’t always take what others say to you as gospel, and come to any situation with the ammunition of information.
JB: What will be your involvement with “LS 1426 Curves Swim Week”?
GJ: Linda Scott is such an amazing individual and I am blessed to know her; she has given me the wonderful opportunity to showcase our Spring/Summer collection and I am overjoyed and extremely honoured to be named the Featured Designer for the first ever 1426 Curves Swim Week.
JB: Anything else you would like to share about yourself?
GJ: Well, I’m pretty much an open book and an easy going person. What you see is what you get. I am not “everybody’s taste”; not everyone can handle my personality, but what you can count on with me, if I consider you a friend and not just an acquaintance, is honesty and loyalty.
Thank you Gigi Jorie, I enjoyed this interview and can’t wait for everyone to see your work! Below are a few swim designs.
Thanks for reading! If you would like to connect more with Gigi Jorie, please follow their social media below.