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Meet the Woman Supporting Wellington's Most Promising Young Designers

Bundled up in Karen Walker, with a flash of Chanel, the iconic Jaye has arrived.
By Jonathan Brumley
July 27, 2017

Meet the Woman Supporting Wellington's Most Promising Young Designers

Bundled up in Karen Walker, with a flash of Chanel, the iconic Jaye has arrived.
By Jonathan Brumley
July 27, 2017

Passion, fashion and a whole lot of glamour, she's the most fashionable fixture in Wellington. Often seen with fistfuls of designer bags strutting down Cuba Street or socialising at Wellington's most hip establishments, she is a familiar face about town. Her fabulous personality is matched by a fierce work ethic. Producer for Project Fashion Wellington, Jaye Glam Morgan is a mentor for the capital's most promising up and coming designers. Bundled up in Karen Walker, with a flash of Chanel, the iconic Jaye has arrived.

The Residents

Jaye, thank you so much for coming to meet us today. Tell us about who you are and what your story is.

I'm a stylist, that's my fulltime job. I take women shopping and I do look books. Last week I worked on a television advert styling all of the actors and making them look amazing. I create the final look and I have to follow them around the set all day making sure that the clothes aren't dirty and that they're appropriate. It's quite strenuous. As soon as they break I get them all into their own clothes that I provided, they can eat, then I have to get them all dressed again. It's like having children.

I came here as a teenager by myself from Hawkes Bay and I've lived in this city, on Cuba Street, for my entire life. I met my husband of twenty years, Jono, here and I've spent years doing crazy stuff on this street. I've done things that I regret while I've been here and I am now at that age where I've apologised for what I've done and now I'm just trying to do better things for myself - and I have two Chihuahuas.

You do a lot in the fashion industry, particularly for young designers who have just graduated. What's your passion? What's in it for you?

I've thought about this, about why I'm doing this and it's because I've been in that position before. I have studied so hard in the past and came out of university to have no idea what to do next. I've come out of makeup school — that was the weirdest one — but I've come out of hairdressing college, nursing school, and every time I finish I think, 'There's nothing, there's nothing at all'. It's so hard to find work, especially when you come out of a creative school. Design is so tough and for a lot of those designers they're told, 'Hey, I know you've just finished four years studying, but you'll probably just find yourself working in retail for another few years'. So I wanted to cut that gap and just go, we can do this for you. I wanted to provide something for these students. They have all of these skills, so let's do a massive show and showcase them.

You're producing a show this Friday and giving some young designers a pretty big platform. Tell us more about this.

We want them to come straight from school and still be a designer. Our goal for them is to be stocked in a store. We're trying to give them a platform, because they couldn't do this by themselves. I'm providing locations, aesthetics, models, hairdressers and doing the styling for them. We give them a real fashion show so they don't have to take out loans. I would rather them spend their money on their garments and their craft than have to take out loans. And it's a good story, emerging designers who are really keen to be big. Two of the designers who are showcasing for us on Friday have been invited to showcase at Fashion Week which is exciting for everybody on board. There is really amazing, raw fashionable talent coming out of these kids. Which I love.

Project Fashion Wellington

How did you find these designers?

We put it out there, not as a competition, but we said we'll pick six to eight of you [Project Fashion Wellington] and now we've ended up with eleven. We loved so many of them that we couldn't leave it at six and we had so many people enter. We wanted ground-breaking, we wanted designers who had enough knowledge on what their final product would be. They needed to have the ability to give us a complete capsule collection. It's a hard thing, to construct these garments, I come from a background of just being a stylist and I don't construct the garments, but after hanging out with these students [it looks] terribly hard.

With the designers being so young, I'm sure it can be a bit intimidating for them at times, what's your advice?

The whole time I've told my whole team that there is to be no fashion bullshit, everyone has got to be treated fairly. In the past I've been put into tears as a makeup artist by designers, and I don't want something like that happening on my watch — in a show that I'm producing.

What are you most proud of?

I'm proud at just being me, I haven't changed and I haven't become an absolute bitch just because I'm doing this. I'm proud of just staying true to being completely individual, not being run of the mill.  I may be a producer but that makes me no better than anybody else. I'm still going to hang out with the two boys that are polishing the wine glasses. I'm still going to have a meeting with them and let them know that we really appreciate having them on board and without them we wouldn't have clean wine glasses! I don't want to be the type who says, 'Oh, you go talk to them', I want to talk to them and let them know myself.

Do you have any words of wisdom?

Always try and look your best no matter where you're going. You don't know what you're going to end up doing during the day.

Image: Lucy Revill, The Residents

Published on July 27, 2017 by Jonathan Brumley

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