Speaking from her office in buzzing Hong Kong, Jasmine Smith reflects on her prolific career and discusses her future plans. She also talks about her faultless personal style and introduces a few tips and tricks.
Aside from your blog you started your own label Raven + Rose. Could you tell us more about it and share some details about your upcoming collection
Raven + Rose is my second little baby. I just had my first eight months ago and at around the first time I founded Raven + Rose. It is a lingerie line for a much younger demographic than my blog – females in their early twenties.
The designs are very androgynous, minimal and edgy, but most importantly they are very well made. There will be no underwire and it is mostly based on the triangle bra. It is designed to lift and shape, but there is no padding. It is made for females that feel they do not need to embellish their bodies with bows, lace and padding. I want women to feel confident without having a massive bust. Raven + Rose allows them to put something on, which is: minimal, black, strappy and sexy.
I am so excited about Raven + Rose. It is set to launch very soon and it will be pretty cool! It has taken tremendous amounts of work and a lot of thought, but it something I have always wanted to do. I was just waiting for the right time to launch it.
Will Raven + Rose only launch in Hong Kong?
It is a global project, which will launch in Hong Kong first, because I am based here. I will then take it back to Australia and New Zealand – the aesthetics of the brand perfectly match with those countries. Eventually I will probably go to Canada and the USA. Raven + Rose may also possibly launch in the UK. As a brand Raven + Rose is definitely set up to be more global. It is a brand with a completely separate identity from both DressMeBlogMe and myself.
How did your background in fashion apparel assist you with designing Raven + Rose?
During my time at university I learned about the different lines, aesthetics and different ways of sewing. I actually designed a basic bra and knickers collection. Designing has always been something that is very familiar to me and it makes total sense for me as a designer to go down the lingerie route. Personal shopping has also encouraged me to go down this path because aside from clothing I am very interested in body shapes and confidence. I work with body shapes and confidence all the time and lingerie really pulls this together. Raven + Rose is my career and background merged into a brand.
How do you manage both of your businesses along with being a new mum?
My life is crazy, but I am such a timed person – scheduling is everything! If I don’t put something in my diary I completely forget about it. I live by my diary and I live by a strict schedule. I make sure I do things in their scheduled time and I move onto the next thing when I complete a task. I make sure I’m on top of my targets all the time. It makes for a complete day when I can tick off those boxes on my running to-do list. It is my secret to managing everything!
It is hard at the moment, especially being a new mum. In terms of my professional life, I work at half the rate that I used to. Previously, I could get so much more accomplished in a day, whereas now I get half of that done. It honestly doesn’t matter because I am a mum when I am not working – being a mum is so important to me! My days are incredibly busy and my life is packed, but it is still really fun – I wouldn’t swap it for the world! I can get everything scheduled in and I love being a working mum. It is a really cool thing to do and I am lucky that I run my own business. Isabella Zia (my little one) comes to so many events with me. It is really cool for us to be able to do these things together. She’s so much fun and she has such a wild personality, I love it! It definitely helps having your own business because I can bring her to events. We can work together to getting the daily schedule right.
If you could describe a typical day for you, what does it consist of?
I start off my day with a six o’clock alarm and work out for an hour. Isabella wakes up at seven o’clock. I do the mum thing; I change her nappy and feed her. We have playtime together in the morning. During her morning naps I am simultaneously emailing and having my breakfast. I figure out my timeline for the rest of the day by reading my morning emails.
Between 10.30 am and 3.00 pm my time is dedicated to my business: I schedule in meetings, I go see new designers, I visit my factory and I do my blog posts for both DressMeBlogMe and Raven + Rose.
After my dedicated work hours, I go home and I spend my afternoon with Isabella. We always go on an adventure of some sort, whether it is to a fashion launch or to a playground. She’s a little trooper! She’s usually in bed by 6.30pm and she sleeps throughout the night.
As soon as she sleeps, I spend time with my husband we build on our husband-wife relationship. I don’t do as much work as I used to in the evening because I want to spend time with my husband.
I try to make sure everything in my life has a dedicated time. My day is nuts, but I have a lot of fun during the day! It is so full on, but it’s doable. I feel Hong Kong has a manic energy that you can just draw on and go for it!
What do you love about fashion and your career?
I have always been interested in fashion and it always has been a part of my life. When I was seven years old, I used to sew scrunchies and I used to sell them at primary school. There wasn’t an inch of me that thought I wouldn’t be in this career.
My life is a huge extension of what used to be a childhood hobby. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to make a career out of it. I worked very hard for it though! I have gone down a path that many people thought would not be possible for me. I found a way and I always had to do everything myself – I never had a boss, a permanent team or a mentor. My career is very self-run and it is so hard because you only have yourself to rely on. If I fail it is my fault and I can’t do that to myself. I just have to keep ticking all of my boxes until I get to the places I want to.
It takes drive and a lot of dedication. It is a lot harder than it looks! Especially, with social media it is very interesting. My life appears to be all smiles, designer dinners, cool make-up and glamorous outfits, which is so fun! In reality, that is only about fifteen percent of my life. Social media shows a snippet of the fun times, but behind that there are early mornings and late nights. I am constantly working and I keep pushing myself. My career is amazing and there are so many perks, but it is also taxing when it is only you.
Let’s talk about your personal style. Your outfits are always flawless! How would you describe your style?
My personal style is simple, it’s orientated around black or white, it’s minimal and it’s not fussy by any means. I don’t really wear anything frilly. I would say it is quite sleek and very wearable. I like very classic sharp lines and straight tailored cuts. I don’t wear a lot of jewellery and accessories or carry around fancy bags. I keep things relatively plain for the most part. I always tend to add a little bit of rocker’s edge to my outfits because I love a good leather skirt, amazing leather boots and a cool hat – all black, of course!
Is there one item of clothing that you cannot live without and why?
Without a doubt, a black leather jacket because it takes me back to that place where it is a little edgy with a rocker’s vibe. It is my absolute go-to item I wear it in a cape style. On the edges of winter, namely autumn and spring I still try and rock it for as long as possible – it is my thing! If there were a situation, whereby I wasn’t comfortable in an outfit someone else has put me in I would tell them to put a black leather jacket on it, so I could feel more like myself.
Are there any must-have items or staple pieces you feel everyone should have in their wardrobes?
I have a whole list of basics, which I feel are essentials to a wardrobe: black pants, white shirt, trench coat (depending on the season), white t-shirt, black t-shirt, and tank tops in both black and white. Basics can make you look trendy or low-key depending on your mood. They are never limited and they can be taken in so many different directions!
I think essentials of a wardrobe are usually things that can transition through seasons, so a pair of black pants are timeless – you can wear them for years without them taking! You can also style them in so many ways regardless of the occasion. Essentials are items that you can dress up and down. Essentials transition through the different seasons and they are not fashion colours, so you don’t appear out dated.
Do you have any essential styling tricks or tips?
Never feel like you have to be trendy, always just be yourself – being yourself comes before emulating the trends. Trends are constantly changing to the extent that there are even micro-trends, which are only there for a week or two. There is honestly no point! The first thing you need to do is look after your presentation – make sure you feel comfortable and look appropriate. You need to learn how to emphasize your own character and once you have mastered that then you can pull out trendy things. For example, rose gold accessories are really hip at the moment, so adding in a rose gold ring or two can make your look a little trendier. Trends are interesting as inspiration, but they are not the be-all and end-all of fashion!
What upcoming trends do you love for Autumn//Winter 2015? Do you feel there are any upcoming trends that you would personally steer clear from?
Being the kind of minimal dresser that I am, there are some really cool trends that are coming through, which are oversized and androgynous. A lot of the winter jackets are A-line and I love it. It is interesting to me because the trend doesn’t revolve around your body shape. You can rock this look with any body shape and it subtlety hints at your body shape. It is not overly revealing and the lines are clean and sharp. Another trend I love is the 70’s vibe that is coming through – it is probably my favourite! You see flared pants, neckties and some boho prints. Also, most outfits are monochromatic, so they are all navy for example. There is also an interesting mustard colour coming through.
Personally, I feel with the 70’s there are a lot of whimsical boho dresses that are embellished with a lot of patchwork and they are printed – I just don’t like them. It just reminds me of going opportunity shopping as a kid. In New Zealand, opportunity shops are where people donate their grandparent’s clothes or clothes they have had in their wardrobes forever. All of the clothes are super cheap too and they are comparable to flea market clothing – nowhere near as cool as vintage! I used to do a lot of opportunity shopping as a kid because you can find some really cool items, but majority of it is revolting. Some of the prints remind me of the not-so-flattering opportunity shop clothing.
Making her childhood dream a reality, Jasmine Smith is a woman that truly has it all. Her hard work and dedication has earned her respect in the industry. Whether she is taking care of her adorable baby or building up her business, there is no stopping her from taking the rest of the fashion world by storm.
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Images: dressmeblog.me, ravenandroselingerie.com