Jacqueline Madey dedicated years of her life to competitive dancing, but once she hit college she decided to change paths, not disregarding dance, but instead using it to give her a creative edge and advantage as a fashion designer for her brand, “Jacqueline Nicole.”
The St. Louis-raised 23 year old, just one year out of college,has now transformed into one of Phoenix Fashion Week’s top 13 emerging designers for 2014.
Madey said she couldn’t remember an exact age that she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer but said she “was always a really creative person.”
Madey said her history in dance helped her understand the body’s movement and how clothes needed to be designed to fit the body properly.
In addition to dancing, Madey liked to sketch and began at a very young age. Once she transitioned in to high school, she was ready to bring her sketches to life.
“I decided to give sewing a try. I had sketched (designs), but now I wanted to create them,” she said.
She put her dance pastime and knowledge of body movement together with her talent and passion for sketching to go after fashion design in college.
It was in 2013 when Madey graduated from Stephens College in Missouri with a degree in fashion design and product development.
That same year she met Brian Hill, executive director of Phoenix Fashion Week, through a mutual friend.
She applied to be an emerging designer for 2013 but straight out of college without a finalized business plan, she was rejected.
“I saw (her) potential, but she wasn’t quite ready as a brand,” Hill said.
After taking a year working a part-time job and devoting all other time to developing her business she said, “It worked out because I got to apply this year. My business entity was ready to go, and I got accepted.”
“One of the reasons we knew she was ready was because she came back,” Hill said. “Anybody who wants it bad enough to come back a second year? It resonates with me.”
Hill said Madey grew as a businessperson but also as a designer.
“She matured. It was the same great quality, but just a little more cohesive. She had the quality, mentality, and ability to be flexible.”
Madey’s growth in her Spring and Summer 2015 collections showcased at Phoenix Fashion Week were inspired by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Roman Holiday, she said.
The dancer-transformed-designer described her clothing brand in three words as flirty, tasteful and versatile with a hint of 50’s Hollywood glamour.
“Flirty, because it’s not too sassy,” Madey said.
CydniLeake, a 17-year-old attendee of Fashion Week who like Madey has spent 13 years of her life competitively dancing, said she could see where the line was influenced by dance.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all, with all the sparkle and pink,” Leake said. “She knows just the right amount of sequins to make something like just right, as a dancer should.”
Leake also said she skillfully combined flashy and bright looks with simple and sleek looks.
“She provided outfits you could wear to work but also the perfect outfit for going out,” Leake said.
Madey said that was her ultimate intention. She said she hoped to provide customers with everything they needed.
“I want someone to shop my collection and say, ‘Perfect. This is everything for Summer. I need one of each, and then I’m done for the season.”
The Spring and Summer 2015 collections will be available for purchase on her website, http://www.jacquelinenicole.us, the first week of February.
Madey is also working on getting her collections sold in small boutiques in St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix.
Her tops will start at a little over $100, while the dresses range from $300 to $550 and gowns from $600 to $1300.
In five to ten years, Madey said she hopes to expand her women’s clothing line into a lifestyle brand, with products ranging from menswear to children’s wear to active wear and even home décor.
Specifically, she said she wanted to an “active wear and lounge wear all in one.”
Madey said she remembers her years as a dancer practically living at the dance studio and never being able to wear cute, fashionable clothes that she could also been seen in public wearing.
Until then though, Madey said the best part of being a designer was giving others the ability to feel confident in their appearance.
“I love the reaction from people when they feel confident in what I put them in,” she said. “That’s the whole purpose. My clothes aren’t going to overpower that person’s beauty; they’re going to complement it.”
Article by Guest Blogger Taylor Seely (ASU Journalism student) for Phoenix Fashion Week
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