Gretchen Jones at Content (Photo by Hope Reynolds)
PDX FASHION: Content 2012 took place at The Ace Hotel last night and once again the event delivered a creative mix of curated rooms ranging from interactive music in Sword + Fern’s room, to a cutesy matchy/matchy, somewhat Shining inspired room by Kate Towers.
Just like last year I was able to grab Project Runway winner Gretchen Jones and ask her a few questions about how her life has been going since the big W.I.N. In boyfriend jeans, minimal make-up and her own jewelry designs she seemed much more calm this year. She didn’t have a room, she was just wandering the halls chatting with folks she hadn’t seen since last year. When I spot her, and we hug it out, she was nothing but compliments (I recently cut my hair). I’ve interviewed Gretchen one other time before, the fact that she remembers me is charming, I tell her I’ll bug her in a bit and she makes sure to tell me I’m not bugging her at all. When we finally stop to chat it’s nice, I tell her I just want to catch up, and ask her what’s new. She tells me things have finally started to calm down for her. She’s just designing and living in New York and it’s been great.
Marissa: I see you had a fashion show with GenArt.
Gretchen: Yes! I was part of GenArts “Fresh Faces in Fashion” which was great for me because I still need recognition in the industry.
Refinery29 LOVES you! I just saw they did a photo shoot at your house.
Yes, that should be out next week. Refinery and I jive so well because I’m a Refinery girl, and I always have been (editors note: ME TOO). The customer base is people like me, I’ve done they’re (pop-up) shops, and capitalizing on our relationship is very important to me.
Do you think a lot of your success comes from your social media skills?
(Gretchen has over 2,300 followers on Instagram, over 5,000 followers on Facebook and a beautiful website).
It’s different because social media is entertainment, but not necessarily my customer. I have a huge following - how do I capitalize on it? If you're 12 how do I make you my customer when you become my demographic? I have no team, everything you see is all me. I have a factory but I design everything and every post you see I wrote. With (Hurricane) Sandy I had no computer therefore no relevance for a few days and that was a problem.
I see from Facebook you’d really like to tap into the Asian markets.
Yes, young woman there are a decade behind. You and I are lucky we can change our hair or outfits whenever we want. These women are just being able to do that. Asia is huge and could be my bread & butter until Europe and America take notice. Sure Obama just got another term but things are still not great here. People can buy one $400 dress but not four of them. Asia can be that place where American designers can find gold and (hopefully) help sustain me as a designer.
She tells me she still feels young and not successful. I tell her she looks pretty successful to us here in Portland. She says with a smile, smoke and mirrors babe, just fake-it-till-you-make-it! Thanks Gretchen, I’ll definitely keep that in mind!—Marissa Sullivan
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:54)