Jordan Saenz, is the designer and creative director of emerging luxury label Jordan Alexandra. When taking on the emerging designer world, ambition is key to have and Jordan is definitely not lacking that. Her debut collection for Autumn/Winter 15 is minimal, edgy, sophisticated, androgynous, and clever. She has taken her experience in luxury ready-to-wear and sportswear and brought various elements from each level of the industry in order to build her own label. We got to sit down and speak with Jordan herself, where she gave us advice on how to stay inspired by not sticking to routines, and how to be cautiously optimistic.
What are you most inspired by and how do you stay inspired? Everything. I love geometric shapes, I am constantly looking at imagery ,music, and going back on historical references. I tend to find inspiration in unconventional beauties. To be honest, it’s difficult to stay inspired when you’re running a business. As a business owner there are so many aspects you have to manage, finance, production, marketing, design; it all can distract you from staying inspired. I stay inspired by doing things differently from time to time, things that I haven’t done before.
I think staying in a rigid routine is a death sentence to killing your creativity.
Even if it’s something simple changing up my routine on the weekdays that helps maintain my creativity.
How has your industry experience enabled your brand? Do you think it’s important to have it before starting your own brand?
Yes! Oh my god yes! I would be out of business before i even started if i didn’t have that. My experience lies in design and production; if you’re naturally creative, designing is a natural gift but if you have the passion for the business of fashion its good to learn the other aspects that come with it and vice versa. You can be a great designer but if you’re not a good business person and you don’t understand the business you’re going to fall apart. It’s not glamorous industry but it’s rewarding in the end. Different systems work for different levels of business and I took away from my experience what I needed for my own company in order to build my brand.
What inspired your collection and who is the woman behind the brand?
My personal style has always been androgynous but designing lingerie for Oscar de la Renta put a new spin on my whole aesthetic. Being primarily a RTW designer, lingerie was definitely a road less traveled for me. Going through so many lingerie archives, researching and having to come up with ideas; that sort of stuck with me and I felt that it needed to be carried over to my collection. I also generally enjoy bringing two very different elements to life under one canvas. There is something exciting and challenging about using unconventional combinations and making it exist as a sellable/wearable item in the market.
What type of woman do you see wearing your clothes?
I want to start off by saying that I designed this collection with the expectation in mind that I wanted these pieces to be easily worn from day-to-day. For that girl that wants to diversify her staples; a little something different but still classic enough to be worn often. That in mind, I see this woman being a sort of busy body. On the go! Doesn’t want to spend too much time thinking about her outfit; just grab and go. The piece itself is a statement enough. It’s definitely for the woman who very much likes to express herself through her clothes and likes to take risks in her wardrobe.
What is a piece of advice you would give to any newcomer looking to start their own line?
Be thick skinned, accept that you may fail, have a back up plan, and as contradicting as this next thing I’m gonna say may sound, I think it’s so important–be positive,
patient and persistent even when things are the darkest because things may seem dark but you don’t know when the next opportunity is going to creep around the corner so you need to hold on to any positivity, the worst thing you can do to yourself is be negative, and you limit yourself to the things that are actually in your own control that you can do. You limit yourself to motivation when you’re negative. It’s important to keep the fire burning no matter what. Be cautiously optimistic, don’t be negative but don’t be overly optimistic keep a level head.
All your manufacturing in done in the garment district, why do you believe it is important to save the garment district of New York City? What are some manufacturers?
Yes, it is absolutely important. I don’t plan to go overseas because you lose so much control with quality. I think its important for my collections to maintain the highest level of craftsmanship, given its a luxury brand. I like to stop by the factory often to see what’s going on and how its going; be proactive. I think Its important as a creative director to be directly involved, and know who is working on bringing the pieces to life. I think it’s important to keep the garment district alive, given that nyc is the home for American fashion.
What is the hardest part and easiest part about being an emerging designer?
The hardest part is that you’re new. You are doing everything under your name for the first time. It can be a scary feeling. That’s why I think it’s so important to have a very clear business plan. But even at that, I think that no matter how much you plan it’s still a little scary.
Easiest and most grateful; through my industry experience, I’ve met some amazing and truly talented individuals who have taught and or inspired me along the way and I hope to keep meeting them on my journey.
How do you measure your success?
I measure success on how you handle the most difficult times regarding your work. It’s so easy to say someone is successful based on what you read on paper but I think success is really measured by the how, opposed to the what.
Where do you see Jordan Alexandra in 3-5 years?
Sales, stock internationally, currently starting to launch the collection in the U.S.. I would like to go global as my brand grows over the years. The aesthetic is not completely the American style. When I design I really try an aim for the aesthetic to sit on the line between American basic sportswear, and a sort of international Avant Garde aesthetic.
What is your favorite part about designing? And your favorite piece from the latest collection and why?
My fav part about designing is how its like a puzzle. There are a lot of factors with production that play into designing, which can definitely limit your design but it’s about finding what fits where in order to maintain the integrity of the design while being happy with the execution.
The juxtaposition of hard shapes over a solid ground. Then you throw the bra on it and it can seem like a bit much, but when you step back it comes together to make sense. Its an interesting balance that I didn’t expect to achieve.
Jordan is planning a presentation for this coming fashion week and we can’t wait to follow her journey and you should too.