In Conversation With Jessica Kesogi - Eastern Mirror
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Style Spot

In conversation with Jessica Kesogi

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By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2015 12:46 am

Seizing the opportunity to be recognized as a designer in her hometown, Jessica Kesogi is making use of ethnic tribal handlooms instead of influencing western designs on her creative pieces. In a discussion with Eastern Mirror’s Style Spot, the winner of the 1st Edition Aida Events Designer Hunt 2015 takes us through her creative process.
A Gold medalist for Duke of Edinburgh who has assisted in designing Spring/Summer 2014 Collections for renowned brands such as American Eagle Outfitters, Jessica Simpson, etc and assisted in designing Swarovski cuffs, neckpieces, bracelets and handbags for Spring/Summer 2015. Jessica is also the Founder/ Creative Director of J&Sasha Clothing. Read on to get creative with Jessica……………………………

EASTERN MIRROR: You’ve just won the first edition of Aida Events Designer Hunt 2015. Did you expect this big win? Talk us through your preparation for the Hunt?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: To be honest, I wanted to challenge myself, to remain driven and grounded. I didn’t keep any expectations, only to learn and experience from my contemporaries and seniors and progress and evolve as a designer. My motive in preparation for the Hunt was to remain true to my style of design. Of course a lot extensive research work was needed but I didn’t want to be heavily influenced by the works of other designers. One can take inspiration but not plagiarize it.

EASTERN MIRROR: What concept did you keep in mind while working on your piece?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: My theme, ‘Tribe, The Gypset’ revolves around a group of people who are on a constant journey, never stopping to move forward in search of anything elixir like. Everything they own must be a part of their caravan. This pack of individuals serves their tribe according to the status they are born into. This is where I bought in the female protagonists into the categories we were asked to design for the contest. Ethnic wear: The Commoner, Classic White: The Shaman, Evening Wear: The Enlightener, Avant-Garde: The Protector.
This theme may be fantasy based but it truly applies in our society, where we as individuals are ever changing and progressing but we must keep ourselves true to oneself and true to the ethnical group we belong to, this is our uniqueness that stands out of the rest. We need to acknowledge and celebrate our culture.

EASTERN MIRROR: What is your personal style signature?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: I would say, I always had a boho in me, but my take on boho is about being fierce and chutzpah. I take a great interest in learning of different cultures and costumes around the world, they have always inspired me and this particular interest has simultaneously influenced in my designs. It is an amalgamation of tribal handloom textiles, motifs, prints with other contemporary fabrics, fusing it into wearable statement apparels.

EASTERN MIRROR: What kind of attitude do you try to communicate through your piece?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: My work in design is about being bold, fearless, free-willed and independent.

EASTERN MIRROR: What brands or designers are you fond of? Do they serve as inspiration?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: I am gaga over Mara Hoffman, other designers and brands I am fond of are Proenza Schouler, Spell designs, Moda Operandi, Free people, Pero by Aneeth Arora. Few serve as inspiration while some; I admire their design ability and workmanship.

EASTERN MIRROR: Nagas are known for fashion. But what is the common fashion blunder that we make?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: We Nagas are indefinitely fashion forward and we are most definitely influenced by Western, Eastern and celebrity culture and nothing is really wrong with that. But why not celebrate our own culture too? That’s where we as designers from Nagaland need to step in, we need to start designing apparels keeping in mind the wearability, the functionality of the design. Most of us create exaggerated, costume like designs, it’s good for occasions and showing your creativity but it isn’t in viable on daily basis, if you need to sell, you need to have target potential clients and study your market.

EASTERN MIRROR: As a proficient in fashion, what advice would you like to offer to all fashion lovers which can be handy for us?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: Continue to reign in being fashion forward. You will go through phases in fashion, but that’s where you learn and find yourself, you only evolve with time. Try everything possible under the sun, experiment with fashion, express yourself through your clothes and whatever it is that you are wearing, own it.

EASTERN MIRROR: What are the main difficulties faced by young Naga designers wanting to venture into fashion industry?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: I would really like to extend my gratitude to Aida Events for coming up with such a platform for aspiring designers from our state; it helps in staying competitive and driven.
I feel strongly, it is the lack of opportunity and something can definitely be done about it. We need to have more competitive platforms where talented and potential designers can be discovered by angel investors, fashion entrepreneurs, fashion marketers et cetera and maybe, mentor them, offer them jobs, sponsor their education in fashion, offer them bigger platforms to showcase their works, such as national and international based exhibitions, fashion shows, fairs, expos etc. Maybe through State Government collaboration, we can have stores countrywide, promoting Naga designers. We really need to think out of the box and not just follow traditional methods.

EASTERN MIRROR: What’s next for you professionally?
Jessica Kesogi Kent: My sister, Shanisha Kent and I have started a label by the name, J&Sasha, we hope to open a flagship store in Dimapur, and soon go Glocal (Global-Local).

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By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2015 12:46:47 am
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