Q&A With Bianca Jones; Clothing Designer and CEO of Clothes Horse Clothing
July 26, 2016
I recently had the pleasure of working with Rhode Island clothing company, Clothes Horse Clothing, and designer and CEO, Bianca Jones. We planned an editorial around her "Urban Antiquity" and "Faux" collections at Peckham's Greenhouse, a gorgeous and truly magical location in Little Compton, Rhode Island. Bianca's designs are entirely hand made and are completely cruelty free! - No animal fur, feathers, etc. Clothes Horse Clothing is environmentally conscience, and make it a priority to not let materials go to waste; scraps of fabric are used to make hair accessories! During our shoot, we produced some of my favorite images that I have ever taken, and I would be delighted to work with Bianca again.
Bianca Jones (right)
Q: What is your full name, age, and hometown?
A: Bianca Jones, 25 years old, Rhode Island Native
Q: Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
A: I had no intention of making clothes- I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist and go to art school at the same time. I was taking biology and anthropology courses along with my arts and opted to go into the art education program. I knew that I wanted to be creative and I knew that I needed to be able to provide for myself- having the security of a job in education while teaching students about what I love seemed natural.
I never really cared about what I looked like in high school, opting for basketball shorts and skateboard shoes most days. I had always wanted to wear the nice Abercrombie shirts and short skirts my mom brought home for me but felt crushed by the impending scrutiny from my peers. Towards the end of my senior year and into my freshman year of college, it was a whole new world. I didn't know anyone, everything was new.
I began experimenting with my wardrobe- wearing skirts, dresses- shopping at vintage stores and altering existing garments to better fit or decorate with patches and found fabric. I had always 'designed' clothes in my sketch books- drawing long flowing gowns over clunky female figures. Learning to sew was another "afraid to fail" hurdle that I decided to tackle. I owned a sewing machine- my mom's 1980's singer sat untouched in our basement studio. I drove to Jo-Anne Fabrics with little cash in my name and purchased some hideous galaxy print fabric. After watching a YouTube tutorial, I drafted a pattern and sewed my first pair of pants. I created an over sized bow in the front that acted like pockets.
The thrill of making something that you can actually use and wear has always driven me- making a creative thought come to life in a tangible item. I was hooked! I've been sewing and designing since. I made things and people around me began requesting things- dresses, accessories. It was a really natural progression. I never thought that I would ever do this full time but I'm so glad that I do now!
Q: What were your inspirations for your "Urban Antiquity" collection?
A: My urban antiquity collection was really inspired by the materials. Being self taught, my process tends to be outside of the traditional sketch, to materials, to pattern and construction process. I had sourced all of these really beautiful one of a kind lace textiles from vintage shops, hole in the wall fabric stores and thrift shops up and down the east coast. I wanted to modify them for the urban goddess. Lace is such a gorgeous and versatile fabric, I wanted to give it a new voice and platform- freeing the material from the confines of bridal couture while still maintaining that precious, ceremonial charm.
Q: How did you select the materials you used?
A: I had a ton of it. I began making sketches and selected specific lace samples depending on how I wanted the piece to fall and lay. Longer pieces required softer textiles to accommodate the necessary drape and flow of the fabric. It was very natural for me. Like selecting an intern or employee at my studio, each lace swatch carries it’s own unique personality and story. Some personalities were best fit for specific designs while others worked well on some of the other design ideas I was working on. The remnant laces worked really well into the story I was weaving with the collection. Women are such complex beings- each carries her own unique story. I wondered what ephemeral purpose or use the textile fulfilled before ending up in a discount bin in a dusty antique store. Giving these materials new life was really exciting to me.
Q: Who are the most influential designers to you?
A: I’m so proud of Stella McCartney. Her push for ethical fashion- products and materials free of animal ingredients or unethical production practice. Her commitment to training women- providing a new workforce with skills and experience to move up in the industry. As far as design goes, I’ve always admired Miu Miu. There vintage inspired silhouettes, vibrant and rich textile choices and high quality product are something to aspire to. Additionally, I’ve always been infatuated with Chanel. Her ability to re-create herself and transform her financial and social situation with raw talent and ingenuity. I admire hard working people and aim myself to build ‘something’ from ‘nothing’ so to speak.
Q: Do you try to keep up with the upcoming fashion trends or create your own?
A: I don’t pay attention to what others are doing. I’ve accidentally chosen the ‘colors of the year’ two seasons in a row. I’m a firm believer in the style over fashion philosophy. I make things that I like, in colors that transition seasonally into any wardrobe. Consumer driven fashion trends are not top on my list of influential design inspiration. I look regularly to classic silhouettes and fashions history- carefully selecting elements of design that are both efficient and popular, recreating and reinvigorating them for the modern girl. Quality over quantity drives me to produce wearable items that transcend trend and withstand the test of time.
Q: Where would you like to be career wise in five years?
A: In 5 years I would love to be continuing to grow my web based business to a full time commitment. I would love to provide young men and women of all interests and backgrounds a stepping stone into the industry. I see myself selling my work to like minded women with a passion for fashion and an investment in vegan, locally made, ethically constructed and positively well made garments.