Happy International Women’s Day, bbs! We’re getting up close and personal with the power woman behind our latest launch.
Photos by Courtney Yates
When we first found self-taught, multi-media artist Jaydee, we knew we were onto something. Her work lives and thrives in a space of female empowerment–something so close to our hearts–and we knew we had to collaborate. Flash forward to almost a year from our first fateful meeting at a juice bar in New York and BAM–some damn fine jackets came out of it, all launching on International Women’s Day (another thing close to your hearts), all celebrating our lovely feminine world. We caught up with her at her LES studio to talk shop, process, how the collection came together, and–of course–the power that comes with being a woman.
How did you get started out?
I have always been creative my whole life. I started drawing and painting when I was 10 years old. So with dedication and opportunities I was able to make a career out of it.
Tell us about your day to day at the studio.
My day at the studio is like a therapy session. It’s the only place where I can let go of everything and focus solely on channeling my creativity. I ride my bike from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan where the studio is and I start the day with emails and a big cup of coffee. Once I’m done with that I get to the fun part: creating.
Tell us how this collaboration came together. What kind of inspiration were you looking at with the jackets?
I have always been a fan of Nasty Gal and I have followed all of their trajectory. I most likely bought vintage clothes from Sophia Amoruso on Ebay, that’s how far back my connection with Nasty Gal goes. When they approached me through my Instagram to propose a collaboration I felt extremely flattered. I met with the girls for a coffee and since then our minds have been totally aligned. We’ve been working on this collaboration for a few months now and it’s very fulfilling to see it come to life.
Which piece is your favorite? Be honest!
So hard to decide on a favorite one! The leather one (girls, girls, girls) with fringes may be my favorite. Because of its fit, fringes, details and colors.
You’re very active in the feminist space. When did you first realize that female empowerment was a necessity for you to explore in your work?
I have always been a very independent woman. My work reflects on the way I feel. Being able to express my voice feels like somehow I’m helping other girls out there express theirs. In these past 2 years so much has happened for us women. Seeing women I admire step out of their comfort zone to try and make a better world for women to live in is the biggest inspiration for my work.
Take us through your process–what do you start thinking about when you’re working on a piece?
This is so hard to answer ha! I take inspiration from every single thing I look at. This goes for a person walking on the street, a colorful object, pop culture, all things 90’s…etc. So when I start working on a piece I try to put all of these pieces of inspiration together. It’s like a puzzle. Whatever is inspiring me at the moment is reflected on my work.
You’ve established a really unique aesthetic. How did you hone into that?
I believe my art reflects the things that inspire me the most. I’m a big fan of female super heroes. They are present in most of my work. I feel like they express female empowerment and the feeling that us women can conquer anything. I guess that’s how I have established my aesthetics, mixing female super heroes with all the other things that inspire me. All things 90s, pop culture, cartoons, old school tattoos, colors…
You work with a ton of materials–clothing, canvas, neon. Are there any materials that you’re dying to explore?
Yes! I’ve been thinking of turning my characters into 3d giant sculptures for a while. That’s what I’ll be working on next.
I love that! You take a lot of current, pop cultural element and give them a feminist twist in your work. Tell us how that came about, and why?
I try to show the viewers that anything can be done from a female perspective. The latest I have been working on is a series of famous characters (all male) turned into females. My point is to show the world that whatever a man has achieved a woman can do too.
What are the major issues affecting women today?
The Continuing Gender Wage Gap, Sexism, Gender Bias, Domestic Abuse, Debate over Reproductive Rights… I mean, I could keep going for hours. I think the issues have always been kind of the same, what is changing is the way we react to it. We have been raising our voice and fighting harder against all of it. We have accomplished so much already, and it’s just the beginning.
You surround yourself with lots of strong women, both personally and professionally. Why is that important to you?
Strong women inspire me. Being surrounded by women that go after what they want and are not afraid to fail or to hear a no as an answer is literally what keeps me going everyday. I surround myself with inspiring people as much as I can.
Any highlights in terms of the women you’ve worked with? Besides us, of course 😉
I feel so fortunate to have worked with so many incredible women throughout my career. (Of course you included!) They are all highlights. Every single one of them inspired me in their own way.
Why is it important for women to stand together now?
We have accomplished so much this past year. There is no force more powerful than women standing together. Once we realize that we are all playing in the same team we can accomplish anything.
A lot of the women in the campaign are your friends! Tell us about why you admire them?
Those girls are examples of determination, hard work, bad-assery and all things girl power! They go after what they want and they get it. I admire them not only because of their style but for fighting for what they believe they deserve.
Speaking of friends, I love the artwork from other female artists you have up in your studio. Tell us about these pieces, and why you’re so drawn to them?
Most artwork I have up in my studio is from a dear friend who passed away a year ago. He left his mark in this world through his layers of colors and his pieces inspire me everyday. Among the other pieces I have there is the “Pussy Power” by Andrea Cook, also another favorite.
Advice for women who want to get into art? It tends to be such a man’s world.
It definitely is such a man’s world. My biggest advice is not to give up. So cliche but true. If you’re talented and you do your work with passion no one can stop you from achieving your goals. Go get them!