AN INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA HU, FOUNDER OF JESSTURE

JESSTURE FALL-WINTER 2019

Founded in New York, Jessture is a contemporary casual womenswear brand pioneered by entrepreneur and designer Jessica Hu.

The motivation behind the brand was sparked by a desire to introduce simple, comfortable and chic clothing to the modern day woman. Massimo Vignelli, an Italian designer once said, “Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It’s fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things not the appearance.” With the idea of minimalism, JESSTURE want their products to have simple elements and minimalist appearance, giving wearers enough freedom to show their own attitude and their innate beauty. Jessica Hu believes clothing is a type of “media” for people to express their true selves. 

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JESSICA HU, founder and designer of JESSTURE

‘You are the person who defines your own personalities and styles. It doesn’t matter what you wear, all that matters is who you are. Please join us to celebrate your true beauty, and define your own fashion styles.’

Your gesture (Jessture) is your own style.

Designer and brand founder, Jessica Hu believes that one should not just to work for a living, but to work for passion and love. For Jessica, fashion is a type of art that is closely related to people’s daily lives, how they express themselves and how they discover who they are inside. With a passion for art, life, beauty and fashion, she entered the fashion industry to create a brand that allowed people to define and express their true selves with their own unique styles.

We had an exclusive talk with Jessica Hu for 33 Magazine: 

 

33 MAGAZINE: Describe your brand in five words.

Minimalism, contemporary, freedom, attitude, true self.

33 MAGAZINE: Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?

I started drawing, sketching and painting at a very young age (when I was a kid). And I’m always fond of the passion and power hidden inside the beauty of art. For me, design is a type of art and media that allows me to express and share my thoughts, feeling, the beauty I discover in my life. And it’s also a process of creating an artwork that can make our life better (either physically or mentally, or both). The power and joy of design give me passion and motivation to live and keep moving on. This is the reason I choose to become a designer. Regarding why “fashion”? I think clothing is one of the basic needs for almost everyone in the world. So fashion design may be one of the closest forms of design to our daily life. Becoming a fashion designer, I will be able to generate inspirations from life, and use them to create new stuff that makes life better and happier. I kinda enjoy the whole process of generating new ideas and turning them into reality. To work for a living might be boring and tiring. But to work for something love gives you passion, excitement and satisfaction to my life.

33 MAGAZINE: How your brand’s mission evolved starting with your first collection?

I think clothing is a type of “media” for people to express their true selves. What they wear represents who they are. I like the minimalist idea of “less is more”. I think fewer elements and add-ons can actually give people more freedom and space to express themselves. Therefore with the idea of minimalism, I wish our products to have simple elements and minimalist appearance, giving wearers enough freedom to show their own attitude and their innate beauty. My first collection was the Spring Summer 2017 season. It was a black-and-white collection with mostly casual shirts, t-shirts and sweatshirts. As our brand slogan states, “Your gesture is your own style”, our brand mission is to provide a “media” for our customers to create their own unique fashion styles freely. The colors are basic black and white, providing people more freedom to mix-match different pieces. Most garments of that collection had simple silhouettes with some degree of design on the details. They looked clean and simple, but when you looked into the details, they were special. So “less is more”, simple but special. That was our first collection.

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33 MAGAZINE: In your experience, what are some of the other negative points regarding fashion design schools?

I think each school has its superior and storage. However in general, based on my own experience, I would hope all fashion design schools to include courses about how to start and operate a fashion business or a fashion brand. In some fashion design schools, these courses are under “fashion marketing” major. In fact, many students have had plans to start their own fashion business after they finish school. Therefore, I do think some degree of business background and knowledge is necessary for even fashion design students. I had studied business and finished an economics degree before I went to Parsons and started my fashion career. During my fashion design study, my career as a designer, and even my start-up journey, my business background carried me through countless problems and difficulties. There are so many unknown difficulties all the way along the fashion journey. For young people who what to start up their own fashion business, it’s really hard to make a step without certain proper knowledge of business and understanding of the market.

33 MAGAZINE: How sustainability can change fashion industry? Do you think we can see, in the next future, a positive change regarding sustainable design?

Sustainable designs and materials are probably one of the hottest topics in the fashion industry these years. We can see many fashion companies and brands trying go “green” using different methods. There’re new artificial leather using fruits/plants’ fibers. New technologies being applied to production to reduce the wastes. Some company recycle clothes for reproduction and some recycle for donation… In the long run, if these new materials and technologies can be widely used in the market and production, they will certainly have more positive effects to both the productivity of the industry and our environment as well.

However, in the short term, there are some limitations for sustainable design and sustainable products. For many fashion companies, especially the smaller ones, the cost of “going green” may go beyond their capacity. For instance, making a non-waste design takes more time and more work, and therefore higher labor costs and lower productivity. There are also other problems like higher development costs for making sustainable materials, extra recycle and reproduction costs, lower acceptance in the market (some customers would still prefer to use general materials for safety and other reasons. For example, some customers would still prefer a real leather jacket to the one made of sustainable materials. Because they are more familiar with the real leather and they know how to take care of it. If they buy a garment made of new sustainable materials, they will be worried about the safety of the contained components; how to take care of the garments, etc). So I guess when the sustainable design and products become too “advanced” to some people, they would rather choose to stay in their “comfort zone” and reject the new products. It doesn’t mean they have negative thoughts about the sustainable products, just this part of the market isn’t ready to accept these products yet.

So in general, I think sustainability is an inevitable trend in the future. But to get to a point where it becomes the main stream of fashion industry, it needs better and more efficient cooperation from designers, material suppliers, the market, the media and other important players of the industry. Starting with low-waste sustainable designs, use technologies to generate new materials with lower costs, popularizing the sustainable concepts in the market, bring up recycling consciousness, so the whole industry can shift towards circular economy in the future.

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JESSTURE FALL-WINTER 2019

 

33 MAGAZINE: In your opinion, will it be the consumer who will facilitate the change in the supply chain or will it be the design and manufacturing industry?

I think the effects come from both sides. On consumer side, higher efficiency and convenience are always preferable. As nowadays e-commerce and technologies have increased consumers’ expectation and demands on higher service efficiency and quality. Therefore, companies need to update their supply chain mode accordingly to meet the higher requirements and expectation from the customers. On design and manufacturing industry side (the supplier sides), more systematic and more efficient supply chain will not only reduce their cost of sales, but also bring up the flexibility and efficiency of fund flow and inventory distribution. And again, with more efficiency and higher service quality, consumers’ demand will go up as well. So eventually the outcome will be a positive growing cycle for both sides.

33 MAGAZINE: What should a customer expect when buying your brand?

I believe people’s personal styles should not be bounded by the clothing. By offering simple products with attitude and essence, our goal is to provide a “media” for our customers to create their own unique fashion styles. “You should be the one who defines your own style, not your clothes. Even the same piece of garment, when you dress it in different ways, or mix matching it with different pieces, you create your own unique styles. Everyone has his and her own personality and preferences. Be who you are, define your true selves, and don’t let the clothes cover your true selves up.” These are the messages we want to deliver to our customers. So “your gesture (Jessture) is your own style.”

JESSTURE FALL-WINTER 2019
JESSTURE FALL-WINTER 2019

33 MAGAZINE: What drives your inspiration for your design?

My inspiration comes from all different sources. Usually some abstract feelings or emotions from my daily life. Sometimes from a book, a song, a movie, or the food I eat. I’m a quite sensitive person, with severe insomnia problem. My brain runs actively at night, and that makes ideas flood in easily on the good side.

33 MAGAZINE: What was the biggest challenge for you as a designer?

To keep moving with passion and persistence. It’s easy to start a career, it’s hard to carry on. For me, choosing a career is different from finding a job. I can change my job, switch companies. But when I choose my career to be a fashion designer, that means I’m ready to devote my life to this path. On the way of this long journey, especially for now I am not only a designer but also a brand founder, a business owner. The multi-role adds much more pressure and obligation on the outcome of my design. Many objective business factors affects the final designs. Sometimes I got stuck not because of lacking design inspiration but due to other problems come from the business side. The pressure from business side kills the passion and patience from design side easily. Therefore maintaining a balance between design and business, finding motivations to carry on the design journey are very crucial tasks for me.

33 MAGAZINE: Would you like to showcase your collection in one of the most important fashion weeks around the world?

Of course I’d love to. I had a collective runway show in the New York Fashion Week last September. That was our Spring Summer 2019 collection. And I wish there could be more opportunities to showcase in different fashion weeks around the world. Attending fashion weeks is a great way to promote our brand, increase our brand exposure and build up brand recognition. I may also have chances to meet more excellent people in the industry and to seek for more potential business opportunity as well.

What we should expect next from you?

Our Fall Winter 2019 collection is coming soon! We will be launching the collection in Vancouver Fashion Week in this March. Please stay tuned for our upcoming runway show and more news about our new products.

 

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