5:31 JEROME is a womenswear fashion line designed by Jerome Lamaar who designs ‘Street Glam’ (glamorous streetwear). Jérôme LaMaar was born and raised in the Bronx, New York he is a Fifth Generation New Yorker. Jérôme has a profound love for art and design, spirituality and glamour. His career began at age 15 as an intern for Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simons in 2001. At age 18, he was appointed as the Senior Designer/ Creative Brand Coordinator for the brand, overseeing the creative direction for the company under Kimora Lee Simmons. After enrolling at Brown University to study Physics Jérôme switched gears to attend F.I.T to study Fashion Design. At 20, he was commissioned to design all of the costumes for Mariah Carey’s 2006 Adventure’s of Mimi world tour. After 8 years at Phat Fashions Jerome left to apprentice for Chado Ralph Rucci and also worked for Armani, it was at these fashion houses where he trained his eye for tailoring and craftsmanship. At 25 Jerome was recruited by Promostyl Paris as a design and trend forecaster traveling the world for trend inspiration and consulting brands like, Tommy Hilfiger, Swarovski, Givaudan, Moussy Japan, Calvin Klein, Uniqlo, Essie, Maybelline, Mattel, Victoria’s Secret, GAP, Microsoft, Adidas, and Nike. In 2014 Jerome Lamaar launched 5:31 JEROME a playful womenswear collection which fuses Jerome’s love for embellishments, maximalism, glamour and south bronx street-style into what he calls “Street Glam” or Glamorous Streetwear.
Since then 5:31 JEROME has received accolades from New York Times, Elle Magazine, WWD, Style.com and Refinery29. as a brand to watch and “the next big thing” Celebrity supporters include: Beyonce, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Ingrid, Kim Kardashian and Taraji P. Henson. Most Recently, Jerome Lamaar was tapped to collaborate with samsung on the “Next Big Thing” project an ad campaign which ran across print, digital and tv outlets. Staying true to his roots and love for the Bronx as of April 2016 Jerome is pioneering an arts & culture movement by opening his design studio and retail concept in the developing neighborhood in the South Bronx, named 9J.
You have been creating quite a buzz in the fashion world. Tell us a little bit about your journey.
I was born and raised in the Bronx. The second born of four children—a military kid with great parents. I started my career as an intern at 15 years old working for Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons and worked every single day until I finished school and became senior designer at age 19. I was going to attend Brown University to study Physics but wanted to pursue and continue my blossoming career in fashion and went to FIT instead. I have had the pleasure of meeting the late, Oscar De La Renta, who told me he loved my fashion illustrations. I later left Baby Phat to apprentice for Chado Ralph Rucci and later became trend forecaster. Clients ranged from Uniqlo, L’Oreal, Swarovski, Timberland, and many others. I have since become an ambassador for Samsung, Lincoln U.A.E. and part the Ace hotel’s Artist in Residence program…I was aiming to become a monk but it appears art and fashion pulled me in a different direction.
You have recently opened a boutique and gallery space in the south Bronx and have garnished much recognition for doing so. Why did you choose the Bronx and how did you come up with it being both a boutique and gallery space?
Yes, being from the Bronx and having the opportunity to travel the world as a trend forecaster and design consultant. It was only natural to set up shop in a place where it all started. I have always said the bronx is the the place to be…but everyone would look at funny and never wanted to visit. I pretty much made it my life’s goal to put the Bronx on the map in my own way. Insisted they note that I was from the borough in every high profile project I did. The location of the gallotique is one stop into the Bronx and is perfect for people with a vision who want to grow. I am officially the first retailer of this kind and the first to open in the area which is going to be the new hub for style and creativity in NYC. I call the space a gallotique because it allows me to merge my love for art, culture , lifestyle items, limited edition items and clothes from emerging talent that may have been overlooked. Besides, I am not interested being the last at anything..so I decided to be the first.
You have named both your brand and your boutique with personal significance. 5.31 JÉRÔME for your birthday a 9J for your apartment. Why did you choose to name your brand and your store with personal significance?
I think it’s important to create authentic goods which speak to your personal perspective in life. My birthday in a way is a very magical number, it belongs to me and as my life improves so will my brand(s). It also equals to nine, hence (9J) . Nine is the number of completeness, mysticism, self-love, freedom, leading by positive example, balance, empathy and many other powerful traits. Being a very spiritual being, I saw the signs and simply followed them. 5:31 JEROME represents my fantastical and glamorous side while 9J is more realistic and down-to-earth. My world is very personal…and this is how I get to share it.
Your boutique curates non-clothing items, such as your own soap and candles. What other items do you curate now and hope to curate in the future?
Yes, the 9J soaps and candles are a hit!! I plan to develop more home and lifestyle items like cool chairs, flatware, pottery. My biggest goal is to issue fragrance under the 9J brand that evoke the same concepts of soaps. I like to use the term #southBronxLuxe which I made to define my personal movement for the gallotique.
You are part of the designer line up for the NYFW this fall. What was the source of your inspiration for your collection? What is your favorite piece of your collection?
Well, since I am in a destination location, I am using the term AWAY. This urban approach of escapism which I long for these days, but being a young business owner, there are no off days. This season I will be introducing these cool oversized hates with have their own narratives in collaboration with Pacasso Papi or Darnell who is one of my favorite artist right now in my gallotique.
Your line has already been picked up by Beyoncé elevating your brand to the forefront; and she also has commissioned you to create one of a kind pieces for her wardrobe. How did it come about?
Zerina Akers and I met my second season (2014) and I offered to give her my Plum Virgin Wool bejeweled coat which all of the buyers and editors said they didn’t think would sell… she wore the coat days later..and I received several emails from several buyers who didn’t think it would sell. I’ve been working with Bey and Zerina ever since…
You are currently on the rise to becoming one of the next top designers. Who are you eager to work with and/or dress?
I have no expectations, I really want to be able to dress real men and women. I’ve ready dressed Bey a few times and Ms. Tina Lawson how much higher and cooler can you get??
What do you desire for those wearing your pieces or those in your boutique?
I only ask for good energy. I like individuals who are authentic and march to their own tune..conformity has never done anything for culture, and neither do followers who can’t think outside the norms.
You have been called a true Pioneer of culture, but you, “would rather just be called a hypercreative that loves culture, art, fashion, food and good energy.” What are you looking to do after fashion week? What are you looking to try your hand at next?
I am thinking about writing a book about manifestation and personal style. Daily, I have visitors who come to me for guidance, and while I am not a multi millionaire yet, I am really happy and have over 15 years of first hand experience in the fashion industry. I hope to build something that will empower the creatives who may not be super wealthy, or connected. I want to elevate the idea of being authentic and working towards your goals. We can all since, sometimes you just need some clarity to do so.
You have written and produced a short film/poem called If Thoughts Could Glow, which was released during Swizzbeatz #NOCOMMISSION Art Fair. The film speaks to making your dreams a reality against the odds. You started making your dreams a reality at a young age. What do you hope to impart or what advice would you give to someone wanting more?
I would tell them to stop worrying about everyone else’s achievements and successes and focus on your own, because you never know what that person has gone through to get where they are. It’s important to improve focus on yourself and push your abilities in ways you didn’t know you could.