For island girls who love wearing their sunkissed hearts on their sleeves (read: wearing vibrant outfits in flowy, feminine shapes), finding the right pieces to sport during tropical travels might be a bit of a chore—it’s difficult to find unique ensembles!
Enter, Jeanjaquet, a luxe resort wear brand dedicated to creating perfect islandwear. The feel of the designs can be likened to a lush garden filled with colorful crops that range from off-shouldered tops and floor-length dresses with bows and ribbons that delicately flaunt your figure.
We chatted with founder Mia Jeanjaquet on the brand’s story and the fashion narrative it commits itself to:
What was the concept behind Jeanjaquet? What prompted you to start a resort line?
"Jeanjaquet is inspired by the natural and tropical weather in our pacific islands. I grew up in one of the islands (Bacolod) where it felt like it was summer all year round and the beach [was] just 45 minutes to a few hours away. I wasn’t as aware of my design aesthetic then [as I am now] but I feel it was this tropical and vibrant environment that honed me to be constantly drawn to equally tropical and vibrant designs.
"I’ve known for a while that I wanted to start my own resort line but [I] took my time because I really wanted to make sure that the first collection I launch would be one I was proud of—with each piece and detail crafted with so much thought and meticulousness."
How does your creative process go?
"I normally get inspired by patterns, colors or specific details I come across through art, nature, textiles, and photos, then translate these into sketches and designs. I don’t necessarily know what I am looking for when I want to get inspired but I do know it is always something unique and vibrant—both visually and emotionally.
"I’ve always carried around a notebook and pen for easy sketching but now [I] find myself relying on my iPad more often (something I’ve learned to appreciate recently). When I have an idea, I have to be able to sketch it somehow right then and there so I don’t forget. I have terrible memory so I try to keep as much sketches and look back at them from time to time for inspiration. Some of my sketches and pegs are years old but I still end up revisiting many for recent designs. It’s also nice to keep track of how your aesthetic changes through the years."
How are your clothes made? What kind of fabric do you like to use?
"I’d like to call our production slow fashion. We are definitely not a fast fashion brand. All pieces are made in the Philippines, mostly for pre-ordering and have details that are very tedious to make and hand craft/sew. A lot of clients may complain about pre-orders but this makes us sift through the customers who want it 'fast' from those who want and appreciate it enough to wait.
"After I finalize the designs and collection, I locally source fabrics and materials then my team and I create our own patterns. I do all the fabric sourcing myself and make sure suppliers provide me with premium quality. I like to use light and vibrant fabric, perfect for the tropical weather, such as linen, light satin, and silk. I also make sure that the fabrics do not crumple or crease too easily since I want it to be as wearable as possible. I am very grateful to say that I have been very blessed with good and skilled workers. Design and creativity are critical but no designer can work as an island—shout out to my amazing team!"
What kind of woman do you envision your clothes in?
"I envision a Filipina who appreciates local, well-made clothing in fresh and clean designs. One who values their clothes, not just [for] one-time use but with purpose and longevity in mind. Someone who appreciates good handiwork, unique details, light fabrics, and constant travel. This sounds mainstream but I really want women who strive to live their best lives and have great passion to wear my clothes because these are the type of women who make memories worth showing up and dressing up for."
How do you think your clothes reflect your own personality as an artist?
"I am initially a painter/artist so my genuine love for color and detail, especially in my art, reflects in my designs as well. I have always been so enticed with intricacy, always creating pieces that are difficult and different just to challenge myself and keep my creative brain on its toes. My attention to detail is a little bit too much for many but I think it works well in fashion and art because I know that each piece I create, I’ve put my heart into and [this] reflects me as an artist and person."
What do you think differentiates your brand from others?
"I really want the brand to be known as one of the leading luxury resort wear lines in the Philippines—that is the dream. I want women to think of the tropics and think of Jeanjaquet for their next vacation. I think this vision and theme, together with our slow fashion principle, sets us apart because this embodies the spirit of the Philippines as a tropical country while making sure our clothes create a positive impact to the wearer and the environment. Plus, I also try my hardest to create specific details that are unique to Jeanjaquet, so clients will distinguish our designs from the rest."
How do you see your brand in the future? Do you have anything new in the works?
"We are coming up with a summer collection plus a ready-to-wear formal wear line ideal for beach weddings and special occasions. We’re planning to incorporate swimwear but we’re still in the process of sampling and production as of now. A showroom is in the works for clients who want to try on our clothes and schedule appointments for custom designs. Our accessories brand, Arete, will also be releasing new collections this year. I’m really excited for what’s to come for Jeanjaquet and very, very grateful for all the support and love!"
Jeanjaquet may be a newcomer in the industry, but given the quality of its handcrafted pieces and its distinct brand identity, it seems that nothing but a sunny sartorial future awaits them.