Jane Michelle always had an affinity for fashion. Growing up in Montego Bay, St James, she was a fixture on runways, modelling on different shows. She even made appearances in a few music videos. But even though she had a knack for entertainment and fashion, she decided to pursue a career in teaching.
However, Jane hit a roadblock as an educator when the private school she was employed to made her redundant. Michelle had no choice but to return to her first love. “I started out styling my partner, and then I got my first major styling gig with Wray and Nephew Contender, from there then Rising Stars,” she said.
‘I’m in it because I’m really passionate about making people look beautiful’.—Michelle
Ten years later, and Jane has styled the likes of Beenie Man, D’Angel, Mr. Vegas, Shenseea, Kamila McDonald, Krystal Tomlinson, Allison Hinds, Terri- Karelle Reid and singer Stephanie Hava. She has styled the contestants on Digicel Rising Stars for three years now, and is currently Miss Kitty’s stylist.
While the job itself might not be as glamorous as the looks she creates, Michelle is just happy that she’s doing what she loves. “Styling is something that you have to love to do. I’m not in it for the money, I’m in it because I’m really passionate about making people look beautiful. I get paid and that’s a bonus, but I went into it because I genuinely wanted to do something that I love,” she said.
“My brand is not just, ‘Okay, I just come and dress you’. I want to make sure that when you walk out of the room, you look and feel like a million dollars. I want to bring out the best version of you,” she added.
Michelle’s client base has increased with the growing number of Jamaican celebrities who are becoming more conscious of the image they want to portray. “What’s good now is a lot of artistes, instead of them just going into a store and putting on anything, they are more concerned about the look and feel of music videos, and photoshoots for their promotions. So I find that people will call and say ‘Jane, I have a photoshoot, or I have a music video to do, can you come and help me?’
“They don’t have the time to go to the store, so that is why they need the assistance of a stylist,” she added.
Michelle told BUZZ that the thing she enjoys most about her job is being able to express her creativity. “Usually a client would express what event they have to go do. Sometimes I’ll tell them, ‘I’m liking this, or that’, but for the most part, after having a general consultation, I decide, based on what they have shared, what is the best fit,” she said.
“The majority of the work is on me, which means I have to create pieces. I have to do fabric shopping, and all of that but they still have input and I to make sure I don’t push my style totally on a client,” she added.
Inspiration for other fashionistas
Her dream is to see more people who love fashion to get involved in the business of styling. “I want to serve as an inspiration for other young girls who don’t want to do medicine, nursing or go teach. The girl who loves fashion, but her parents might be saying this is a waste of time, telling her to come out of the magazines, or stop watching this or whatever. If you’re passionate about something, you can actually create a space for yourself,” she said.