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FabUK followed Paris Fashion Week and interviewed designer Jacqueline Loekito

No matter what your gender, love to unite us” JACQUELINE LOEKITO

Jacqueline Loekito is a visionary female designer. Born from a British mother and an Indonesian father, Jacqueline has a special cocktail mix of a background that shaped the designer she is today.  More here

Jacqueline loekito interview (1)
Violeta: When did you first realized that you want to push a career in design?

Jacqueline: When I was eight years old, I got my first sewing machine from a friend as a present. I think I kind of knew from the beginning  that I wanted to be a fashion designer. So it started from there, I have never thought to become anything else except designer.

Violeta:  So it triggered you to find a passion, something that you want basically?

Jacqueline: I guess by accident because my friend gave me this present. If I did not have this present, maybe I would love something else.

Violeta: Are you self-taught or did you study fashion?

Jacqueline: I have studied fashion in London. I was born in Jakarta and then I moved to London when  I was nineteen because I knew that I wanted to study fashion and I wanted to be with mum also. She said to come to study rather than studying in Jakarta. So I did in Kingston and creative arts then I did my master in FHNW Basel.

Violeta: Are you happy with your degree in London, it was worth it? Because people who want to do something with arts, sometimes they say that it is not necessary to study it. How was in your case? What did these degrees give to you?

Jacqueline: I think If you really want to be a proper fashion designer you need that base of knowing what it is, like the history, pattern maker and you know how you work your concept. Because of course you do not need to study but you need some kind of basic that you have to learn also. But of course you can learn it yourself from youtube or social media but still, it’s a different kind of background.

Violeta: As people say, once you know the rules, you are free to break them…

Jacqueline: Yes, of course, the rules also can be broken.

Violeta: I saw the designs, the designs they are colourful, so what inspired you to do that kind of design that you do?

Jacqueline: I focus on pink especially after my master. I focus on the greatness issues that I want to break away like Babyboy have to wear blue and the baby girl has to wear pink… So before 1940, it was the boys that wear pink, it was all the way around. And if you look at the history back to the seventeen century it was completely normal men wearing pink and heels but because of this marketing system in America and Europe. You know they ask people:  should a baby girl wear blue or pink? So that changed the whole thing and now we think ‘’Oh my god, he wears pink, he must be queer or something…’’

I want to break from that and bring back the original. I also use pink as a signature colour, that you would recognize- this is Jacqueline. So every season the pink is there but maybe I add another colour, like this season I add is baby blue and mint because of the inspiration behind it.

Violeta: What kind of ethics you need to follow as a designer?

Jacqueline: I think people do not realize how much work you do as a designer. It is not about making clothes or designing only, you have to think about the concept, the mood, the makeup, the models, the meetings, marketing, everything. It is really…a lot.

we must have this work balance but also enjoying life and supporting people that you work with. In London, what I do not like is how people are treating their interns. For me interns, my team are like family. I was not treated well when I was an intern so when I have someone working for me I want to treat them well. Treating everyone equally, paying them properly is important. I also have a team in Jakarta and Bandung. I know what people produce there for me and I pay them fairly. Because I design myself so I know how much work you should put into the product.

Jacqueline loekito interview (2)Violeta: What do you think is a big challenge for a new designer? Like when you started as well, do you think that something has changed since then? Always the internet makes it easier to be self-taught as we said before but what are the challenges?

Jacqueline: I think it is both ways pros and cons, social media makes it easy to market yourself.

Violeta: But in this way, more designers are coming…

Jacqueline: This is another thing, anyone can be a designer even a cat can be a designer. You know sometimes it is so difficult as a new designer to be in the industry to be accepted because the big ones have back ups for business and finance, it’s hard to compete. Of course, social media helps because you can promote and express yourself.

Violeta: What you think it is different in 2006 when you started your studies?

Jacqueline: It is a long time ago …  Fashion designers was like God, someone we look up to. Now it’s too saturated, it’s a different era.

Violeta: It was like a fancy thing?

Jacqueline: Yes because they were exclusive so different from the fashion world now.

Now – you are so familiar with social media and young people now say ‘’Oh, it is so easy to be a designer’’. They think that it is easy to become one. They believe that this person is doing that easily when it is a lot of work.

Violeta: People does not see that but do you think that social media helps to grow? What are the other aspects that you concentrate to grow? There shows, lives or it is more online?

Jacqueline: I think it is difficult to say. To have a show is very important, also learning from mistakes and learn what it is happening. You need to learn these things, without doing this you will not know what happens. Of course, you can sell clothes online but if you want to come in an expansion of brand you need a strategy of what you really need to do, it depends what is your market, where you want to spread it. For me, I would love to be more international of course. But there are a lot of steps beforehand and you cannot really rush it. You really need to do it step by step. It cannot happen overnight.

Violeta: What is the racial of how much it helps you to sell things online and like do shows, clips anything else?

Jacqueline: The good thing about online is that it reaches a lot of people. Like somebody purchases from Toronto, I was like ‘’ Wow that’s far away! “ I’m always curious where my followers come from. It is amazing how the world becomes smaller in a second, you know there is no gap, everything is so near and this is the beauty of it. And I think as a small brand people need to know who you are, what is your aesthetic, what is your design, that’s important too.

Violeta: What is your favourite part about being a designer?

Jacqueline: I think it is really…  expressing yourself, for me, fashion is to communicate ‘’this is my message ‘’.

Violeta: As an artist, do you like when people interpret things your way or are like: there is my message?

Jacqueline: No, I like it when people have their own ideas. For example, when my clothing is out for press shoot I am excited to see the outcome. Sometimes you do not agree with everyone’s idea but sometimes it’s also to open your horizon, you need also to build this dialogue with people, you cannot do it only from your side.

Violeta: When you see something unusual that you do not expect does it give you more ideas for the next collections?

Jacqueline: Absolutely.   last year when my friend passed away, it was emotional and I made a collection because it was a way to say goodbye to her.  And the people see it in a different way but also you can relate with it because she died from cancer. many people can relate , I received many messages, letters from people who said ‘’ I had a friend/family who died from cancer too” And this is what I want fashion to be real not just like ‘’ If you touch, you do not feel anything’’ I want that connection.

Violeta: Why Paris now? And how your work is seated here?

Jacqueline: I’m in Paris for Dach showroom that connected to Mode Suisse.

Violeta: Do you have the next steps?

Jacqueline: I cannot say to be honest. But I want to change a few things, especially fashion shows. You go to a fashion show and that last for five minutes, you do not see anything, you do not feel it, there is no feeling and designer work for 6 months just to be seen for 5 minutes.  So I want to have something else maybe for next season.

Violeta: What do you think is unique about British fashion?

Jacqueline: I love British fashion, you cannot beat that! It is really expressive,, they do not think ‘’who is going to buy it?’’ they just do it and even they do not have any money, they just do it. And thank God I have this in my blood and you are accepted by who you really are.

Violeta: What would you like to achieve before the end of this year?

Jacqueline: I think I would like to know where I can stand, I do many shows in Switzerland, London, in Paris … I would like to learn what it works well for me. I learn from my mistakes, I became better, you know by the end of the year I would love to know where I stand, what my customers want and know who are my real customers.

Violeta: What advice would you like to give in a new designer?

Jacqueline: I think it is crazy to be a fashion designer now, but following your heart, following your dreams and have hope, I think that leads you somewhere. Having hope regardless of the crisis. Cause you have to have hope, without a hope you do not live, you do not want this life so much.

Violeta: Thank you so much

Jacqueline: That was great, thank you too!

Interviewed by:  Violeta Brodovskaja

Written and edited by: Maria Tomprou