The seventh annual Black Ivy Fashion Show is coming up, and all you have to do is purchase tickets on the show’s website before the “official” fashion show and brunch runs on July 20. And one of Washington’s brightest fashion designers — Jason Jules — will return to design the show’s second runway look as well as sit front row with fellow designers Anthony Ryan and Stefania Coincetti.
Jules’s credits include co-founder of BlueRue & Other East Coast Resources, co-founder of Premiere Living Magazine, and the founder of Five Points Privé. During last year’s show, he took on the second runway look after it was found by New York designer, Italia Coi.
This year, he will bring a returned from the show. In preparation, he sat down with Washingtonian to talk about his inspiration, his new collection, and his three major rules for black fashion: Be true to yourself, support those in your circle, and don’t be afraid to ask.
“You always want to back up your originality,” he says. “The easiest way to do that is to make your own brand, because then, when you see black millennials and pop culture and fashion are embracing it, then it becomes part of their cultural canon.”
Here are three rules he recently shared:
1. Ask yourself how black fashion can shape and influence the next generation.
Jules says this is the concept behind his focus on black youth culture, which explains why Five Points was founded in 2013, after several years as a consultant for e-commerce business.
According to Jules, “We focus on organizing our black youth culture, because as a whole, they’re not being represented on this national level. And so we really focus on building those relationships with that influential youth culture. That’s where that whole ‘It’ theme comes in. You can’t just be black. You have to be black with a strong purpose.”
2. Support what you love, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Jules admits that he’s all about having “fun” while being serious about creating beautiful work. But when it comes to fashion, he says it’s important to always put your team — in this case, HisNext.com — first.
“There are a lot of fashion leaders who don’t care who they were meant to work with. They care about getting the job done,” he says. “I kind of think as a designer, your team is your muse, and really, they represent everything that you love and that you love about yourself.”
When asked what he values most about his staff, Jules pointed to work ethic and diligence.
“So many people go through fashion school and then they’re like, ‘Oh this is fun.’ And I just take it as, ‘you need to have one, at least.’ It’s so easy to become a party animal in fashion, and then as soon as you try to do the design, there’s always someone telling you, ‘Oh, you need to do that.’ So it’s so easy to become disillusioned if you don’t develop strong relationships with your team.”
3. Be true to yourself, and support those in your circle.
Don’t worry, Jules will be bringing his unique fashion sense to the runway at Black Ivy this year. But even more, he’ll be bringing his biggest cheerleader and an ally: his dad.
“My dad is an amazing designer, and for him to pass it down, I was like, ‘that’s what I wanna do,’” he says. “I wanted to get that experience. And then when I reached out to Anthony Ryan, he’s another one who’s like, ‘don’t forget about your dad.’ I was like, ‘really?’ He’s like, ‘so you do?’ And I was like, ‘OK, I’m on it.’”