Through her love of fashion and two years of experience, Janette Kabeh Ojo Johnson, an up and coming designer, has applied her accomplishments and knowledge to her designs.
As a graduate of the Art Institute of Houston, Janette earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Fashion Retail and Management with honors. During her studies at the Art Institute, Janette’s visions, uniqueness, and hard work, earned her The Best Portfolio Show Award out of the entire graduating class of 2013.
1. Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I solely decided to become a fashion designer because my mom taught me as a child. She started giving me sewing lessons at the age of 10, but I wasn’t interested at the time because I didn’t know what I was doing. I would fall asleep on her every single time she attempted to teach me. Eventually I got the hang of sewing and practiced on my mother’s sewing Singer machine. It was too advance for me still, so I learned how to hand sew. I was so good at it that I hand sewed practically everything. I played with Barbie dolls around this age as well so I would make clothing for them. As I child, I never had the latest clothing. Because I grew up as an only child, I had a vivid imagination. I would create mood boards using clip outs of clothing from different magazines, newspapers, and anything other publications I could get my hands on, to create different looks that I aspired to wear. All four years of high school I took sewing construction classes and I thought to myself “this is what I want to do”.
2. What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
My favorite part about being a designer is having a vision in my head and when I create it, it turns out 10x’s better than what I envisioned it to be. I don’t have time and patience to draw out my ideas. All my ideas are stored in my head. I can literally be sitting down doing something non-fashion related, then I will get an epiphany of something to make and it motivates me to start on the project right away just to see the outcome.
3. What are your plans for the future?
In the near future I plan on launching my first fashion show for my Spring/Summer 2016 fashion collection. There isn’t a lot of well-known talent from Liberia in our generation. To change that, I hope to become a revolutionary icon for my native background and inspire and motivate others to follow their dreams.
4. What is your philosophy about fashion?
Well, I have two philosophies. The first philosophy is to be who you are and never follow fashion trends. If you are always listening to someone tell you how to dress, how will you develop your own style? I don’t believe in wearing dark colors in the fall/winter, and brighter colors in the spring/summer. Being who you are is the best gift you can give to yourself and others around you.
My second philosophy about fashion is not to be a label fanatic. Of course designer clothing is nice, and we all want people to see that we are wearing designer labels because they show a sign of social status, but if you see a dress at Macy’s and you absolutely love it, get it. Fashion is definitely what you make it to be.
5. Does your work reflect your personal fashion taste? Can you describe your style?
My work definitely reflects my personal fashion taste. This goes back to my philosophy of being you. I want my personal fashion taste to exude through my work. When it comes to my brand, I want to incorporate all different kinds of styles of fashion, not limiting myself to one distinct fashion aesthetic. Just like my work, I like to consider my style as being versatile. Sometimes it can go from being very cultural to being vintage. I try not to categorize it because I like to change it up every now and then.