Do you have any thoughts on the movement from Lincoln Center this season? Or about the hub they’re creating where new designers will show instead?
It’s absolutely necessary. And this is why brands come to me. The second you stop growing and changing, there’s going to be someone that comes around and you’ll fall behind. I think that sometimes people just get comfortable in their existing business models, and I personally think it’s lazy — and this isn’t even specific. I’m not saying IMG is [doing this]. I think it’s super important that you listen to what the community wants and respond to it. You can’t dictate and expect people to follow.
Discovering new talent, that seems to me like a full-time job. How do you keep that in mind and find the time to do research?
I don’t know, I just crave newness and content. I’m a junkie for it. I don’t have the attention span to get through a magazine, which is pathetic. I don’t even buy magazines anymore unless they’re beautiful book-azines for my apartment. I’m constantly hopping around from site to person to any rad new designer. I’m always asking, “What are you interested in, what’s happening?” Teenagers are my favorite human beings to talk to. I love to know what they’re shopping, what they’re doing.
What’s the MADE selection process like?
We just try to curate a nice balance of streetwear to high fashion. We support [some of] them because we know they’re going to be a viable business. Others, they might not, but it’s just really visually stimulating and fun. So it’s like editing — for us we treat our program almost like a magazine.
Do you follow blogs?
No. I think a lot of them are all the same. It’s like “pretty girl in clothes.” I do look to JJJJound and the #Been #Trill crew for inspiration.
What are your goals for MADE? You just collaborated with Macy’s on a clothing line. Anything else exciting coming up?
We expanded to Paris three seasons ago. We’re not supporting Paris this season because it’s contingent on the amount of funds we can raise. There’s the deal with Macy’s, which is really exciting. We designed 30 SKUs a month carried in Macy’s stores and online. They approached us and took a massive leap of faith with us. And I’m going to miss it when it’s over because I love getting to design the clothes and wear them. We definitely have a lot of growth strategies in the making right now.
Let’s talk about The Terminal Presents. Is that like ‘Jenné on call?’ Is it mainly consulting?
The Terminal Presents is a strategic marketing company, so I help brands maintain their relevancy. A lot of brands turn to me because they want to develop a dialogue between themselves and millennials while retaining their core customer base. And based off of the client, I do many different things: I did the Westfield shopping centers and making sure that they maintained their relevancy. Playboy came to me to help restore it to its glory. I helped Beyoncé launch her album. It is awesome.
I really enjoy working with older established companies. They come to me when they realize their brand needs to change — that maintaining old methods doesn’t allow them to grow, and they’ll lose to the other competition. I’m doing some work with Pepsi, which is really exciting for me because I just have such a clear vision and path for them.
Some of your clients are outside of fashion.
Yes. I have some fashion clients that I’m helping to build their brands in the U.S. — multimillion dollar [brands] overseas [with no U.S. presence]. From content creation on the front and back end to retailer appointments, I’m making sure they’ve established themselves here.
What is your life like between Fashion Weeks?
It’s just like anything else. Magazine editors are out of commission for a month traveling, but the magazine still has to come out every month, you know? I don’t like it. I really don’t like it. I’m a mother, I maintain a business. I change outfits three to four times per day because there are a lot of different press opportunities. And then there are all of the designers you want to support. It’s exhausting. I’m convinced that it’s for teenagers.
Are you able to make time for yourself?
No. I don’t go to the gym during Fashion Week, although I’d like to try this season. I try to not go to parties. Last season I really didn’t go to a lot of events because the people who are out partying are, I’m convinced, not the real people in the industry because I’m sure that it’s not humanly possible. But I feel bad not being there.
What’s shaped your work philosophy?
I guess what I have learned is just the preparation that goes into it is key. If you try to wing it during the week, you’re going to fall off your game because it’s all about efficiency. If you’ve got your cards laid out, your hair and makeup set up if you’ve got public appearances or camera interviews, your outfits… come Fashion Week, it’s best that you wake up and everything’s on auto pilot.
You are very much a creative and business-minded woman. Do you think that’s what makes you valuable to so many types of brands?
Yes, I think it’s advantageous in what I do. I wish I had one or the other. I would like to be all or nothing. In a lot of projects, people like to define you. For instance, if I’m working on something on the business side, they don’t realize creatively how much influence I could have. So you have to keep quiet and realize what someone hired you for. And then as they get to know you, they open up and allow more opportunities.
Would you say that just having a variety of things to do every day is what keeps you going? No two days must be alike.
Ever. Ever, ever, ever. And I don’t even think my boyfriend knows what I do. He knows maybe about a third of what I do, and at the end of the day, when we’re talking about each other’s days, I’m too tired to recount what happened, so I just ask about his. I’m really good at deflecting.
Out of all of the things you do, what’s your passion? Whether it’s one of your businesses that you’re tied to or an aspect of fashion show production or design, is there something you see yourself doing forever?
I absolutely love design for sure, but I love it because it’s not on my dime. I don’t have to deal with production and Chinese New Year. But yeah, I have a lot of passions. It ranges from just taking good care of myself — I’m really committed and devoted to that. Taking care of people. Putting things together and introducing people is my favorite. I want for everyone to feel the same excitement that I do when I meet someone amazing. Little stuff. It’s not anything major to write about.