Azéde Jean-Pierre is an independent women’s ready-to-wear design label based in New York City. The namesake label was found in February of 2012 & walks the line between fashion and art, femininity and edge. Since it’s inception, the line has been committed to producing meticulously crafted goods that celebrate a naturally-feminine, quirky, modern & sophisticated free-spirit. It has since become a red carpet favorite for cool, sophisticated, quirky and influential women like Solange Knowles, Gillian Jacobs and First Lady Michelle Obama.
A native of Pestel, Haiti and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Azéde Jean-Pierre is a refugee, a first generation Haitian-American and the fourth of eight children. She grew-up in a large working-class, single parent family household and was surrounded by the juxtaposition of beautiful nature and metropolitan life. An alum of Savannah College of Art and Design and a New York City transplant, Azéde Jean-Pierre honed her skills early on apprenticing under Ralph Rucci and at Ohne Titel before pursuing the launch of her own label.
Azéde Jean-Piere has a goal to reduce poverty and promote long term sustainable growth in developing countries similar to Haiti – where she was born and most of her family still lives today.
Tell us about yourself. Your upbringing? What lead you to SCAD?
I have a natural knack for creativity & art, SCAD was the natural choice for a young artist from the south who wanted to stay close to family. I am a refugee from Haiti and the middle child of eight.
What was the pinnacle moment that lead you to leave your junior year at SCAD, intern at Ralph Rucci, and jump into the fashion world?
I think I am quite anxious, I just love the concept of new, a new experience, a new idea, a new project. It’s just all so very exciting – which I think makes me a good designer; I can always come up with great new ideas. That can obviously be a double edge sword if you’re not prepared & Ironically the reason I left school is because I wanted to learn more. I wanted to get my hands dirty and learn things only experience can teach.
What was your inspiration behind your label?
A sustainable, high-end women’s wear label for the intellectual, quirky and sophisticated free-spirit. We make garments that our women will want to live in & treasure. Clothes that celebrate her character & uniqueness and that allow her to stand boldly apart. We walk the line between fashion and art, femininity and edge and are dedicated to developing clothing that empowers women by hiring and supporting marginalized groups and is committed to producing meticulously crafted goods.
What makes your brand different from other brands?
Native of Haiti, raised in Georgia – my diverse cultural background is a constant influence and inspiration for the collections I design. I pull from my natural, urban and multicultural upbringing to draft a unique prospective within fashion. Our statement dresses are quirky, cultured and polished. We design for a personality rather than a demographic. I am driven by a passion to create, for the individual identity and to reflect a women’s character in her personal style. I believe our brand has the potential to move fashion forward because of our unique prospective. And, I believe that slow fashion and sustainable luxury is the future of our industry.
Who is your customer and what type of relationship do you want her to have with you?
With your designs? We design clothes for the sophisticated free spirit; a global citizen who enjoys standing apart. Our customers are multifaceted and intricate and we appeal to their deep, naive, & inanimate emotions.
What are you coveting this spring summer from your favorite designers?
Nothing this season.
What do you foresee being a trend?
A new sleeve is on the rise, I think people must be getting tired of the bell sleeve & the medieval peasant mood that’s of the moment.
What was your scariest moment as a fashion designer? As an entrepreneur? As a woman striking out on her own?
I try to be as fearless as possible. That said, being the spokes person for your brand is added pressure on us young designers who often already wear so many hats. As an entrepreneur, you have to do what ever it takes to achieve every goal!
What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Newness, Intricacies in form, surface design & engineering.
Other than fashion, what are your other passions? Cooking? Photography? Music? Photography?
I have a natural curiosity and I enjoy myself thoroughly while exploring, traveling and discovering new things. I am also quite fond of photography.
Throughout history, a new “icon” always arises that challenges stereotypes, breaks down barriers, and elevates standards. Who do you draw the most inspiration from? Why?
No icon in particular, but women explores, activists, feminist and rebels are so inspirational. Women like Sylvia Earle, Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart, Mae C. Jemisom, maya Angelou, Angelina Jole, and Charlize Theron are all so very inspiring spiritually. They are the kind of women we have in mind when designing clothes for a personality- the sophisticated free-spirit.
As a person, as an entrepreneur, and as a fashion designer, what do you want to change? What do you want to break down? What do you want to elevate?
I think fashion is lacking in diversity of prospective. There is much too much concern with pedrigee; no one completely new can ever break in. I want to break down the many barriers to entry that have very little to do with talent. Also, everything is moving so fast that it is becoming increasingly harder to be creative & to make well crafted, beautiful & new objects to be treasured- which is our goal.
What motto do you live by? Why?
I am inspired by my failures as I know that failures always teach valuable lessons.
For anyone who meets you, what do you hope he/she walks away with?
Inspiration, motivation to move forward and a burst of energy!
When you look back on life, what do you hope to have accomplished both personally and professionally?
Happiness & purpose & success.