SANTA ANA — On Fri. May 29, at Santa Ana College, stood nine models, one make up artist, an assistant, and one fashion designer inside of a small dressing room located to the left of the stage. Within this dressing room, each person shared one goal and that was to make Jonathan Jimenez’s, 20, debut as a fashion designer flow as smoothly as possible.
After steaming dresses, figuring out what shoes worked best with which outfit, and bringing snacks and treats for everyone involved, designer Jonathan Jimenez stood in front of his crew and thanked them for their time and dedication to the show and his designs.
Inspired by the “Colors of The Wind” scene in Pocahontas and the song Jubel by Klingande, Jimenez “bridged in the warming pallet from sunsets all while playing with movement and fluidity” thus allowing the garments to tell the story to his audience without him saying a word.
#blessed Yesterday was a special moment for me, something I will never forget, winning that award wasn't the crowning achievement last night, what was though was walking out with my girls and my collection right behind me and hearing the crowd shouting and clapping for me, validating me as a designer, knowing that I have a chance in this career. Amidst the chaos of last night, the fights, the small space we had to get ready, and everything else I couldn't help but cry, and yes I did cry, but tears of joy because when you work so hard and are so proud of your work and to see everyone's reactions is just amazing, this isn't the end, but rather the beginning, I have many of these left in me and I can't wait to share them on larger stages. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this. It meant the world to me.
His nine looks flowed well with one another as they transitioned from an orange backless dress with a shimmery purple skirt underneath to floral patterns, fringe dresses, and an extravagant well fitted plum colored dress. During the show, the models dawned natural makeup (artist: Kim // Malkiajla)) with their hair parted down the center and with a low chic ponytail.
Jimenez worked furiously throughout the day to make his debut as successful as possible. His goal was for everyone to radiate positivity and bring their best smiles in order for him to remain calm. During the on stage rehearsal, Jimenez could be seen moving from different seats and locations within the house so he can be sure that every member of the audience can get a good look of his work. Minutes before his models walked the runway, Jimenez would be snipping off loose strings of fabric and fixing any imperfections that he may have noticed while waiting.
Before the models walked out on stage, a two minute video played which included a short monologue of what his debut means to him, photographs detailing his inspirations, and thank you’s to several friends, family members, and sponsors.
While the video played for the audience, people backstage could see Jimenez circling behind the curtain and his eyes beginning to water a bit. The moment was definitely an emotional one for anyone who was able to witness a designer’s dreams becoming a reality.
The style Jimenez had decided to go with is a lot different than the ball gowns that were discussed in a previous interview we had a year ago but his designs still make an impact. The nine outfits he had could be seen at concert festivals or even formal parties. Each article of clothing is unique and stands out in its own way. The clothes have their own personalities as they bring a sense of confidence and energy to the person wearing them.
Despite suddenly becoming ill four days before the show and a skirt that was created a size too small, Jimenez was able to make his dream and fashion debut become a successful reality. As the show came to an end, it was announced that he had won the award for “Best Collection” and was accompanied by loud cheers from not only people within the audience but everyone backstage as well.
Congrats on your wonderful debut and your amazing designs, Jonathan! To the models working the show, you all did a wonderful job and looked marvelous throughout the show. WritersWaste looks forward to seeing what you all have in store for us next and wish you luck on future endeavors. Cheers!
I was fortunate enough to have an online interview with Jimenez. Read below:
WW: How was the actual set up and preparation of the show different to what you were imagining it to be a year or two ago?
JJ: To be honest I was prepared better than I thought I would have been, I was having dreams of the worse things possible, it took me months to prepare for this show and hundreds of dollars however the outcome and comments has been nothing but positive! But I think the difference from a year to two ago is actually seeing the work that goes behind it, I did 9 looks by myself with the help of my other and I underestimated that work, it was 4:30 (half an hour before dress rehearsal and 1.5 hrs until show time) and I was still sewing like a crazy person!
WW: You stated you were sick a couple of days ago, did that seem to hold you back or make this process more difficult? How so? If not — how did you power through it?
JJ: Oh yea being sick made it worse on me for this collection, it was harder to think and process everything, I was in a creative block and not being able to breathe and all that did not help out. I powered through it, I mean I had a week to go, I couldn’t get sick and if I did the suck it up Jonathan because you have a collection to show the world.
WW: In the long run, are you proud of the way the show turned out?
JJ: I am more than just proud of the show, I worked it, my girls worked it, the team worked it, we pulled an amazing collection, a collection that is meant for the streets of New York, I am blessed and grateful, proud and ecstatic for this collection, the list of words to describe my collection and how happy I am go on and on.
WW: What did you learn from doing your first show? What did you underestimate?
JJ: I learned a lot from my first show, who to trust who not to trust, who’s out there for you and who’s coming for you, I had some major issues during the show however they got resolved, for future shows all I know is that in planning it and making sure I know what’s going on at all times.
WW: I listened to Jubel by Klingande and the song seemed so upbeat which naturally showcased your personality — but what was it about this song that put it all together for you? That made you believe “this is it.”
JJ: What really drew me to the song was the way it started and the different instruments and how each played at different moments and how it was different yet it all came together, I pulled oranges purples pinks and florals tied in with fringe black Grey and white, it was color overload, each a different instrument that played at a different moment and shined however worked together flawlessly and when I heard this song I looked at my sketches and said I have my debut collection and I’m sticking to it.
WW: You previously told me that you “can listen to the song and picture an actual person wearing my outfit” and honestly, I perfectly understood what you were saying because I can clearly see the models walking down the catwalk in your clothes but in your mind; what did you visualize while the song played?
JJ: When I listened to this song I imagined some girl walking and just enjoying life, she was happy, energetic, filled with life and that’s what I wanted to evoke. I imagined a lot of bounce and movement for sure, colors came later but it was the play on movement that was really motivating me through the music.
WW: How did the models make your vision come to life? Why did they stand out to you?
JJ: The models were extraordinary, they made it work, they stood out because they knew how to follow direction and make it work, each look was different yet they pieced all together and those girls just rocked it, it looked like a collection and I have to thank those girls for that.
WW: During the show you explained that you almost started crying when your introduction video was playing. What was going through your mind at the time?
JJ: The moment that crossed my mind was “it’s finally here” the moment I’ve been dreaming of starts now, I will see a collection on stage and it was emotional for me, I’ve worked so hard to get where I was and the stress the anger it was fine and happiness filled and it was so much I almost cried from joy. I actually did eventually cry after a friend of mine living across the country sent me something heartwarming, at that moment I was blessed and grateful for everything I had accomplished.
WW: At what part of the show did you come to the conclusion that this is all becoming a reality — that people are recognizing your talent and becoming familiar with you as a designer?
JJ: I realized this as soon as my video played at that moment I knew I was a designer and as soon as my first girl walked out I knew this is my show.
WW: How has your choice in style and wardrobe changed from the last time I spoke to you?
JJ: The last time we spoke I talked about print and patterns and using them and doing these gorgeous garments that trailed you, now I don’t know, my aesthetic is a lot simpler and easy but still looking flawless and chic. When I saw my collection all lined up I thought to myself this isn’t Jonathan, I only have one pattern, this is something new of me, it’s almost like a rebirth and I found my signature.
WW: Why did you decide on the brand name being Jonathan Jimenez instead of Jimenez.
JJ: I want my name to live forever, I won’t, so I want the the following generations to know what I accomplished and I want them to know my name and love it, haha.
WW: This is clearly a new start into your career — what frightened you the most about presenting your clothes to the world?
JJ: The thing that scared me the most was not knowing whether or not people will like what I create.
WW: How did you physically and mentally prepare for the show?
JJ: Mentally, I kept telling myself everything was going to be good and tried thinking positive the entire time. Physically, I just needed sleep, given there were days I didn’t sleep but hey I can sleep when I’m dead.
WW: Was winning the award for “Best Collection” significant to you and your clothing line? How so?
JJ: Winning the “best collection” award wasn’t that significant. It was great to win it but the significant part for me was walking out once again onto that stage and hearing people clap and shout for me, it was a sense of acceptance and it validates what I’m doing and the fact that people like it.
WW: What is your next project?
JJ: Next project is my online store followed by my spring collection.