#MEETTHERETAILER - Jackson's Fashion

Chelsea Slater

As apart of a new series of blog post's we are going to be shining a spotlight on one of our fabulous retailer's every month. You will find out what makes them tick, why they do what they do and obviously what they enjoy most about retailers at REX stores...

This month we meet Heather, owner of fashion business Jackson's Fashion. Not only does Heather run the business, she also designs and creates every single piece... let's hear what she has to say!

Why did you decide to become fashion designer?
Becoming a fashion designer is something that just happened. I never decided 'right this is what I want to be' it started out just designing outfits for myself and girls would ask where I got my clothes from and I soon realised there was a market out there for my style. I've always been unique and hate the idea of looking like everyone else. Ever since I can remember I've always had an eccentric style and people responded to that. I always wondered to myself 'where would I go for unique clothes if I didn't have the ability to create my own..?' and always hit the same wall. There was nowhere I felt I could shop that satisfied my necessity to be different. The worry with buying from high street retailers is always that someone else will show up at the party in the same outfit as you or people will end up looking like clones of each other. I have always been against that. So I felt I had to do something about it. 
Favourite part about being a fashion designer?
Being a Designer is similar to the points I've made above. I can create my look and wear exactly what I want to wear, without relying on someone else to think it up for me and in turn doing the same for my clients. Girls come to me all the time and say I want something amazing for a pool party or I have an event coming up and I want to turn heads and I love the process of taking their look and personality into account and coming up with something and them telling me 'it's exactly what they were looking for' you can't get that on the high street. I love pushing the boundaries too. I've had customers saying 'I love your style but I could never get away with that' and I encourage them and always get the same response, they love how it makes them feel. Our tag line is Fashion For The Brave and I want women to feel liberated and be courageous with their fashion choices. 
How does it feel seeing people in your creations?
Amazing. I'll never forget the first time I seen someone in Ibiza wearing a Jacksons Fashion creation. I went up to her and got a photograph. I recognised it straight away but the thing that made me most proud was the fact it had caught my eye and was admiring it. I see girls all the time on holiday, in night clubs and all over social media wearing outfits I've designed and I'm so grateful for each and every one. One of my proudest moments was seeing our long fringe chokers on The X Factor, I jumped out of my seat.  
As a business owner what is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge as a business owner is juggling a full time job too. I work in Design at Hollyoaks and I love it there. I wish I could split myself in two and spend all my time on both. Lime Pictures is like my second home and everyone who works there have became like family. I miss everyone when I'm away so I can't imagine pursuing Jacksons full time just yet. Another challenge this brings is the time I have on orders for customers. I leave Hollyoaks and come home to emails/orders/packaging items not to mention the actual creation of the garments. It leaves little time for me to actually have time to myself but I love it and it feels right.  So I will continue to do what puts a smile on my face until it doesn’t anymore.
The best advice I could give anyone wanting to start their own business is be true to themselves. When I was starting out I was tempted to sell dresses similar to ones already on the market which I knew would sell, but that’s not what Jackson’s is about. For me, I want my customers to be confident that no one will have a dress like theirs and they can go out and stand out! I often get told that my outfits are amazing but not everyone would wear them. That’s fine, I don’t need the whole world to buy my designs. I would rather be true to myself and sell one unique dress than 100 that I wouldn’t wear myself.
What were your inspirations when it comes to your designs?
I take inspiration from everything and everywhere. It's rare it will be from other garments of clothing.. It's usually objects/nature/art etc.. Obviously I'll read Vogue, watch all the catwalk shows and fall in love with the shapes of a particular dress, the fall of a fabric but I find my inspiration is found in the most unusual places. For example I'll pick up a lollipop and decide I want a dress made from sweet-wrappers or see a sunset and decide I want to use similar colours in my next collection. I recently wore a skirt made from reflector material the lighting team use in work and a bra made from smashed glass mosaics. I love using materials you wouldn't usually place with dressmaking and challenging myself. I loved the way some fairy lights in my bedroom shone under a mesh dress once around Christmas time so I spontaneously decided I'd sew them in. That's how my light up dresses came about. In a world where there is beauty in everything I find inspiration all around. 
One of my favourite quotes is from a Director Jim Jarmusch:
"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."
Why did you choose to retail at Rex and why do you love it?
I chose to retail at Rex last January when my mum brought a leaflet home and told me about the store. I loved the idea that everything was local and it really celebrated Liverpool. When I walked into the store I immediately loved it and knew it would be the new home of Jacksons Fashion. Now we've moved the Met Quarter it's even more perfect. 
Plans for the future?
I don’t know what the future holds exactly for me or for Jackson’s but I will continue to work hard and appreciate everything it brings. 
For now I'm concentrating on creating fresh and innovative designs for new and exsisting customers. I have several photo shoots with my favourite photographers Dollworx lined up. I'm always messaging them and bouncing ideas off each other and I'm loving working with them. I'm constantly exploring other avenues and there doesn't seem to be a day when I don't have another 'bright idea' regarding Jacksons. I want to do it all and I'm really enjoying seeing where each road takes me. Moving to the Met Quarter is a big step for a business that was primarily available online. I'm planning to expand my area in the store and have several collections available for customers at any given time. I don't have any main objective set in stone for the future and I never have with Jacksons. I take each day as it comes, work hard and give thanks and that's what has worked for me so far. 
You can follow Jackson's Fashion on Twitter ... and you can shop her designs here.

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