Jenna Weickert


Editor's note: Through this week, Fashionably Cleveland is paying homage to up-and-coming local designers. Each story subject is a graduating senior at Kent State University, and each story is written by another KSU student. Keep an eye out for these emerging fashion designers - you'll surely be hearing more about them in the future.

The world of fashion is an extremely competitive and captivating industry. It’s full of fascinating and inspiring people that contribute to one of the most sought-out industries in today’s society. 

For Jenna Weickert, a senior fashion design student at Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, her hard work and dedication to her education is about to pay off. 

As the last few days of her college career come to an end, Jenna has a lot to look back on as she prepares herself for the future. 

Coming from the small town of Fremont, Ohio, Jenna’s love of fashion and skill for sewing began with one of the biggest moments in a young girl's life. When, a then-16-year-old, Jenna locked eyes on her dream prom dress, she knew the only way she would walk into her prom wearing it was if she made it herself. Like most young girls, Jenna had limited financial resources to be able to afford such a costly dream dress. Luckily for her, Jenna possessed the skills and ambition to tackle such a risky project, realizing that she could create the same dress for a fraction of the cost. At that point in her life, Jenna realized that fashion design was the creative avenue she wanted to pursue and has moved ahead in full force to get to where she is today. 

“I feel like I’ve always been a creative person…it [creativity] has always been a part of my life," she said.

After an exhausting year, Jenna’s senior collection is complete. It was no easy task, however, to come up with a compelling final collection. When it came time to draw inspiration for her collection, Jenna looked to Native American textiles and art for the foundation of her collection. 

Choosing to design winterwear, Jenna’s collection, entitled “Amautik,“ is heavily influenced from Inuit background and tradition. The inspiration for one of her key pieces, an oversized hooded coat, came from an Inuit tradition of carrying infants in large, oversized fur-lined hoods. This key piece also posed controversy and a challenge. Her choice to use real fox fur was one of her biggest challenges as a designer to date. Not only was it a completely new process to physically execute, she risked the authenticity of her inspiration by choosing not to use real fur. 

In the end, her willingness to step outside of the box and challenge herself as a designer paid off in more ways than she could have ever imagined. Her vision and aesthetic has produced a casual, conservative and wearable collection that fully represents her as a designer. 

Voted “Outstanding Student in Fashion Design” by her instructors and professors, Jenna is assured that her hard work and risk taking have paid off. Receiving this scholarship let her know that she had done something right amidst the chaos of her senior year of college. 

The possibilities seem endless for someone with the determination and mindset of someone like Jenna. After graduation, Jenna plans on taking an internship with Kohl’s corporate offices in Milwaukee, where she hopes to acquire a job with the company. 

Taking advantage of all of the opportunities that have come her way, Jenna has set herself up for success in the field of fashion design. When asked what advice she would give to designers, regardless of their place in the industry, she said to “focus on your own work, and don’t worry about what other people are doing.” 

It is inspiring and uplifting to see the positive attitude of young designers despite today’s troubled economy. It will be very exciting to see where this competitive and fascinating industry will take her. Time will only tell.

Thursday, May 13, 2010