How would you sum up Jaye-Ann O’Connor in one sentence?
I’ve been finding out things about myself daily. I’m a down-to-earth, girly girl who loves life, people, and fashion.
What first brought you to the world of fashion?
In high school realizing I could cut up and revamp jeans and clothes I had.
How long have you been sewing and what brought about this passion?
Well my mom’s sewing machine has always been in the house. To be honest, sewing isn’t a passion, it’s the finished product and making a statement that is.
You are more popularly known as the Co-Director of Yahdie Conscious. How did this line start?
Well we started the line after sixth form at St. Andrew High School with us cutting and revamping our clothes when we realized this was something we were actually good at and made it official. We continued for a number of years until we branched off and are now focusing on separate projects.
Tell us more about your BagLady line and newest venture Charmed?
Well Bag Lady is a line I started in October of last year and it consists of very funky, chic, and unique handbags that express my bold crazy side but still has something for all the ladies. CHARMed is my small accessory line. It consists of chains, armbands and brooches. I’ve also been doing makeup artistry as well for a number of years, and I do styling as well.
How would you describe the Jamaican fashion scene and what recommendations would you make to make it more vibrant?
Mixed-from dancehall on one end to a mix pop of culture on the other end. What would make it more vibrant is if we mixed more of our eclectic dancehall energy and easy-going reggae culture with the international influences so we’re not so much “carbon copies” of American music videos.
As someone who is familiar with the social scene what are the styles that are popularly being worn?
Women-Varying bold prints, cross body (slings), platform pumps and bandals(boot/sandals),wedges. Men-graphic tees, button-downs, skinny jeans.
What colour and style of bag do you think every woman should have?
A fashionable medium-to-large bag, to hold personal items such as wallet/coins, keys, cosmetics, etc, and a small purse, clutch or small handbag for going out purposes. For women who aren’t impulsive shoppers basic colours such as black,white n nude can be worn with just about anything and for women who love to switch it up, I say go for any colour that’s hot and trendy!
What fashion staple can you not live without?
That’s a hard one Jo! There are too many. I guess you could say a handbag, but I can’t live without my gold accessories, nude lipstick, my LBD, ripped jeans and shoes!
What type of lady do you design for?
I design for the woman who wants to take a risk with bold colours or who wants to add some pizzazz to an outfit.
What influences you as a designer?
Fashion trends, music, people, my personal style (retro chic glam as I call it) (she laughs)
What are your favourite trends?
I will always love vintage and large gold hoop earrings, layered chains, ripped jeans, pumps (loved that trend from childhood-mom’s pumps of course!) But extremely happy they’ve evolved for the modern generation
When you’re not designing what can you be found doing?
Working my day career (medical imaging), hanging out with family and friends on the social scene, dining out, going to the beach and movies.
What words of advice would you give to budding fashion designers?
It just starts with one idea, if you’re good at it, do it. Surround yourself with people who love and believe in you. It will take a while to get where you need to be, but then again that’s how it is with everything else.