Jaya Jankowski’s Fashion Focus

Junior+Jaya+Jankowski+uses+a+dry+brushing+technique+to+block+basic+shapes+into+the+first+of+many+layers+of+her+piece+for+Painting+2.++Photo+Credit%3A+Alicia+Finnorn

Junior Jaya Jankowski uses a dry brushing technique to block basic shapes into the first of many layers of her piece for Painting 2. Photo Credit: Alicia Finnorn

Junior Jaya Jankowski uses a dry brushing technique to block basic shapes into the first of many layers of her piece for Painting 2.  Photo Credit: Alicia Finnorn
Junior Jaya Jankowski uses a dry brushing technique to block basic shapes into the first of many layers of her piece for Painting 2. Photo Credit: Alicia Finnorn

“Mommy, look what I made!”

Reaching up and holding a sock stuffed with toilet paper and sloppily embellished with a button from a sweater of her own, Jaya Jankowski presented her first hand-sewn piece to her mom. At the young age of 5, this makeshift rag doll was only a glimpse into Jankowski’s creative future. Now, as a junior in pursuit of a career in the fashion industry, Jankowski fondly looks back at her childhood beginnings.

“It is safe to say that I have been designing for my whole life,” said Jankowski. “When I was little I would be rarely seen in anything but a princess costume decorated with my mother’s jewelry and my dad’s ties.”

For Jankowski, this early curiosity towards piecing together outfits has progressed from adorning herself in various scarves and ties found around the house as a child to designing wearable clothing items and accessories.

“I love being able to look at something and think to myself, ‘Hey that’s really cool’ and then interpret it and produce it into my own style,” said Jankowski.  “I really like getting inspiration from the Indian culture and the 1920’s, and using unconventional materials to create and design.”

For some designs, a simple conversation can spark an idea for a final touch. Jankowski recalls her time designing a dress with sequins and a tutu-styled skirt, but remembers feeling as if something was off.

“It was missing that unexpected twist that I love,” said Jankowski. “When I was at school one day and I heard about the glow in the dark theme for Soph-Semi, my idea clicked.”

Jankowski was instantly inspired to make the dress light up, and she made it work by sewing 25 led lights underneath it.

While Jankowski’s advanced skills are mostly self-taught, she still aims to attend a fashion school to improve her technique even more and better her chances of being successful in the industry. Some colleges on her radar are Parsons, Pratt, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Colombia Chicago. She is also considering going overseas and spending her first year at Kalakshetra, a textiles and fine arts school in India.

“Throughout college I want to intern, study abroad, and hopefully have my own small online boutique and blog,” said Jankowski. “I eventually would like to be able to have my own label but I know that I want to work for someone else for a while. I am really open to any opportunities that come my way.”

In the many art classes that she has taken at Mercy, Jankowski has excelled.

“Jaya is really creative and has lots of potential,” said art teacher Mrs. Carol Rife. “I have had her in both jewelry and drawing and she has definitely shown her dedication.”

Many have seen or heard about the competitiveness of people in fashion careers, highlighted in shows such as Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model, but this stereotype doesn’t seem to faze Jankowski at all.

“I feel like the fashion industry has a bad reputation for being cut throat and cruel, but I see it as an opportunity to be completely free,” said Jankowski. “I am inspired by the hard work and time that goes into every sketch, every design, and every garment.”

Family members of Jankowski see how passionate she is about fashion design, and this has especially influenced and inspired her younger sister.

“Jaya is very dedicated to school and her love for fashion,” said Reena Jankowski, a freshman at Mercy. “If she is not doing homework, she is in her room sketching or in the basement by her sewing machine. She shows me that by hard work and dedication, I can accomplish whatever I want to.”

Video Link: http://youtu.be/n3uH-JBcJJw