Jamie Hayes at Dose Market. photo courtesy of Dose Market/Eva Deitch (corrected from original post!)
It is always wonderful when you find a new talent especially with an interesting story to tell. A long time friend, Lawrie Weed, invited me to join her for lunch and a program at The Arts Club of Chicago. Her invitation said the program was to be given by a “designer” that was all! I presumed a fashion designer, but learned long ago never to assume anything!!! I was, however, correct the program was to be given by a designer, Jamie Hayes. The title that was presented on the screen was a bit off putting and I thought, oh my, I’m in for an hour of a “lecture on the environment” again I was correct but totally wrong in my presumption that it would bore me to sobs! Jamie was not only a totally engaging speaker but her story of how she got to where she is captivated me and her designs enchanted me, I wanted to know more. I also realized that she had been in the Fashion Studies program at Columbia College Chicago. After her presentation, I asked if she would be interested in joining me in a blog post by answering my questionnaire. She not only agreed but had returned it to me within 24 hours along with the wonderful photos you see in this post. Do join me as I present a person who has not only found her niche in the fashion world (and is pursuing her dream by staying in Chicago making her garments “in house” another plus!!!) but has started to help change our thoughts on how to help the eco system, fair trade, and ethically made clothing.
I wanted to give you Jamie’s background from her website www.jamielhayes.com followed by her answers to the NenasNotes questionnaire.
“Jamie Hayes’ interests lie at the intersection of fashion, art, labor, and identity. Her approach is both collaborative and customized. She believes that clothes should fit one’s body (not the other way around); that people should wear what flatters and interests them rather than what someone else dictates is fashionable; that style is a form of self-expression; and that everyone in the chain of production of clothing should be paid a living wage.”
“She has explored these topics through her academic studies, earning a B.A. from Washington University in English Literature, a B.A. from Columbia College in Fashion Design, and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Chicago. She has worked in the fashion industry since 1999, and in the field of immigrant and labor rights since 2009. Her recent work merges these two paths: she has designed for fair trade organizations including SERRV, Intercrafts Peru, and Threads of Yunnan, and has volunteered as a Campaign Leader for Chicago Fair Trade, helping to pass an ordinance mandating that apparel procured by the City of Chicago be sweatshop-free. She is the owner and designer of an ethically made line of clothing for men and women called Production Mode (productionmodechicago.com)”
WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT
When I was very young, I was fearless. I don’t think I even thought to wonder what other people thought of my talent–I just loved creating things. I mostly hand-sewed super hero outfits for my cat out of Kleenex and thought I was brilliant. Then like many children, I lost my nerve and it took many years to get back into a head space where creating was truly fun and joyful. I won a few accolades when I was studying fashion at Columbia College Chicago- I was in the Driehaus Competition and FGI, and it helped to have an outside panel recognize my talent. But I think I knew that I had truly found my calling when I was working on a self-generated art project in Vietnam, called Past Perfect, exploring the social meaning of fashion. I remember feeling so entirely focused and energized. I felt a click, like I did when I was a little girl.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT”I have “made it” in the sense that I’m passionate about my work–it combines my artistic, design, and ethical goals. In financial terms, however, I still haven’t “made it”, as my businesses are both very new. But they are growing.
HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW
I always loved to sew- I taught myself embroidery and hand-sewing as a child, and bothered my mother and grandmother to teach me on the machine. I was always drawing as a child as well, and playing dress up, like most little girls. But I took it really far and wore my dress up outfits to school.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE
I wanted to be an architect for a spell. Not so different than fashion!
YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF MUSIC
I adore Latin music and dance- especially salsa!
Besides salsa dancing, I also deejay. I have a monthly night at a bar called Danny’s in Bucktown. I adore music and worked at a record store while I was studying fashion at Columbia College. And I love to get people dancing!
HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC
My house includes lots of mid-century modern pieces. I’m from St. Louis and during the 1950s and 60s it was still a wealthy town, so when I was putting together my first apartments in college and afterwards, mid-century modern pieces were all over the thrift stores, selling for nothing. Now that era is very in vogue, but luckily I had many a thrift score before it became valuable.
WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER (LIVING OR DEAD) AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE
Mexico City & Oaxaca. I’d love to go to Japan and to Brazil.