Jersey City Review: Urban Swag – The Ladies

Editor’s Note: Today we’re happy to welcome Ed Ramirez as a contributor to JCI and his new blog, Jersey City Review, about urban fashion and fashion trends in Jersey City. Enjoy!

Fashion is riveting because of its rapid pace, cutting edge technology and unending evolution. Hot today is throw-away tomorrow, checks are in, then stripes; prints replace solids and color blocking falls somewhere in between. Preppy never really goes out of style while vintage and retro fight tooth and nail against new designs. Old is almost always new again – albeit a decade or two later. Somehow, we keep up.

Most associate fashion with the Mercedes Benz-Bryant Park runway shows in NYC, Paris boutiques like Cartier, and other iconic cities like Milan and London (the latter by the way, is the easiest of the four to get fashion week tickets for) but let the record show that many larger houses look to urban trends for design inspiration and creativity. They refine (by using quality fabrics, adding fancy color names, and putting an extraordinary amount of attention to detail and finish) the looks and offer them at a much higher price point. Realistically however, urbanites are setting fashion’s future tone.

We found a few local females focused on creating trends that impress major retailers while amassing wardrobes that compete with chic international boutiques and established clothiers. Today, let’s vacate the notion that fashion doesn’t exist beyond the aforementioned borders and take a look at three ultra-hip Jersey City fashion mavens who broadcast their flair in a neighborhood near you.

 

Sasha Sano2

Sasha Sano

Age: 23
Employer: The GAP
Neighborhood: Bergen Hill

Sasha’s style is Upper East Side meets Hipster Prep infused with bits of Punk. Think piped blazer atop a long sleeve button down cotton shirt with sleeves pushed up to the elbows (balancing out the look’s lower portion), pencil pants  (patterned or solid), and brightly colored or metallic flats (or the occasional heel when really dressing up.) Bow ties often finish the look and their ingenious design (clip replaced by a pin with clasp) allows for versatility – a head shaved along the sides (Sean Paul’s faux hawk with extra volume) and lots of chunky jewelry round out her statement uniform.

Before winning the top $500 prize for GAP Wide, (an international contest for GAP employees that showcases their best GAP style) Sasha found herself experimenting with different fashion concepts. Finally realizing that aside from her passion for getting dressed up, creating hand made bow ties was something that kept her creativity flowing.

ER: What goes into making one of your bows?

Sano: Everything is made by hand. Fabrics are sourced from various stores. I use multi-colored beads, leather, chains, and sometimes add shredding.

ER: Shredding? Is it time consuming?

Sano: I literally shred the fabric. A typical bow takes under 30 minutes to make if it’s simple. A more difficult one would take longer.

ER: How much can one expect to spend?

Sano: Adults $20-$35, Kids $12-$15.

ER: What advice do you have for people who might need help choosing their perfect pieces?

Sano: I find perfect pieces at good quality retail stores like the GAP, Banana Republic, and Urban Outfitters or a thrift shop because the merchandise is usually out of the ordinary.

 

 

Grace Coughlin2

Grace Coughlin

Age: 24
Employer: Maiden Form/DKNY Intimates
Neighborhood: Paulus Hook

A graduate of FIT, Grace realized early on she had a fascination with Burlesque. Her high-end, all black approach is categorically inspired by Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester and when peppered with lingerie pieces worn as outerwear, she takes the look to higher level. Catch her wearing a vintage corset or camisole and carrying the occasional parasol (which is bold, even in a city setting).

An intimates designer by trade, Grace understands the all ‘solutions based’ philosophy behind fit and proportion. Unlike ready-to-wear, that can be tailored, undergarments are delicate and need to properly fit a woman’s body. Designing for a specific woman is instrumental in realizing a well-made product. Grace’s designs help mold the shape of feminine physiques worldwide.

ER: When did you start wearing all black?

Coughlin: I’ve been dressing pretty much in all black since I was 15.

ER: What message are you sending with your fashion choices?

Coughlin: Individuality. I dress to match my industrial surroundings and it’s easy to be accepted in a city like Jersey City. That’s why people come here.

ER: Where are you from originally?

Coughlin: Flemington, NJ.

ER: Is that where all the designer outlets are?

Coughlin: Yes. (chuckles)

ER: What advice do you have for people who might need help choosing their perfect pieces?

Coughlin: I think you have to be a detective and use all of your resources. The internet, vintage shops, and sometimes shopping in the country where you can find pieces that haven’t been snatched up in the city.

 

Dara Jemmott

Dara Jemmott

Age: 30
Employer: Victoria’s Secret
Neighborhood: McGinley Square

Kaleidoscopic Vintage Vamp is the name of her game: stylish coats, ponchos, and lengthy dresses. Dara’s loyalty to vintage expands all genres and includes a mix of eclectic, bohemian, and masai, with the acrylic sweater thrown in for good measure. Her ensembles (yes, ensembles) are showstoppers and she can be seen at local designer and vintage shops including Another Man’s Treasure, Ed’s Salvage Co. & Kanibal Home.

A transplant from Teaneck, NJ, Dara’s personal fashion collection grows by the day, literally. Her extensive closet, with a staggering 100 plus pairs of shoes, sets a high standard and gives this urban chick plenty of choices when planning an outing. Whether it’s tea at The Plaza or dancing at Azucar Cuban Cuisine and Cigar Bar, Dara’s style situations never disappoint.

ER: Are you seeing any real fashion in Jersey City?

Jemmott: All the time. I find a lot of fashionable people on the Path train. More are moving to Jersey City so they can use the money they are saving on NYC rent to buy great pieces of clothing.

ER: Do you think people come here to buy fashion?

Jemmott: Absolutely, I have friends who come from Harlem & Brooklyn to shop at the great boutiques I find.

ER: What is the most you’ve ever spent on a single item of clothing?

Jemmott: $350 for a vintage Moschino Cheap & Chic leopard sequin blazer.

ER: What exactly is Victoria’s Secret?

Jemmott: You’re the first to ask me. It’s confidence.

ER: What advice do you have for people who might need help choosing their perfect pieces?

Jemmott: Go with what speaks to you and makes you smile when you wear it. True statement pieces turn the wearer into a conversation piece.

 

Have a fashion tip? Tell us in the comments!

Photo of Dara Jemmott by Andrew Tess; other photos courtesy of subjects

Ed Ramirez

is the owner of Ed’s Salvage Co. in Jersey City, runs the McGinley Square Market, and blogs on his site Jersey City Review. He possesses years of experience in the world of high-end fashion sales and public relations. Having worked for Calvin Klein, Gucci, Valentino, Reem Acra, and Roger Dubuis.