Generation Next:  Jérôme LaMaar
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The Company: 5:31 JÉRÔME

Designer: Jérôme LaMaar

What I do: I’m the owner and creative principle of the womenswear line 5:31 JÉRÔME.
Why I do it: I felt there was a void that needed to be filled. What about those of us who work their way to the top from nothing? Why can’t we be educated, stylish, spiritual and sexy? Why can’t we live in both worlds? One of well made street style and other for luxurious ready-to-wear. I wanted to answer all of those questions through my own perspective of style elements. Challenging myself to play with contrast to find balance to build strong wardrobe.

I got my first start: At 15-years-old at Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons. I left on top and was blessed to learn from Ralph Rucci and travel the world as a trend forecaster.

The necessary tools to becoming a designer are: You must have a point of view –– don’t copy. Be willing to sacrifice your personal life to obtain your goals. Have a basic understanding of how fabric drapes, and most of all be a sponge. Learn from your surroundings and use your absorbed knowledge to create beautiful things in your life.

I brought my ideas to life by: Not waiting for anyone to help me. There were times I thought I would have help from others. I soon realized the only way to make things happen is to work toward it at your own pace. No one knows how badly you want it, so go out and get it. Your ideas are waiting for you to manifest them into reality you simply need to put in the work.

I draw inspiration from: Nature, my faith in God, meditation and my past memories. It’s interesting if you take a step back and look at your life you can find all of the elements you need to inspire you to create. The best way to do this is to sit alone in silence and let the energy flow naturally.

The most important thing I’ve learned is: Always stay true to your aesthetic and encourage yourself. Sometimes, I would look to others to validate something for my line, and I would then take a moment and remember that this is my brand and I call my own shots. Only you –– the designer could know what is in your mind’s eye, everyone else is there to help you manifest it into a reality.

The one thing I never expected was: All of the positive feedback from the collection. I knew that the look was very bold but never did I realize that it would take on a life of it’s own. The shoes are being requested daily for purchase, the retailers are loving the fresh look and most of all my peers are loving the looks as well. I’m filled with gratitude.

What’s different about my point of view: My understanding of contrast. I come from the Bronx, New York and have lived a life full of abundance. I would shop globally and travel locally and always come back to the Bronx where many people may have never left the burrough. I am grateful to have a background in street style and worked in true Couture with Chado Ralph Rucci. For all of these reason, I have a profound understanding on a way I can bridge the to worlds in an authentic effortless way.

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Entrepreneur I look up to most: Tom Ford. He designed for a brand, left to find his voice and started his own universe. I hope to follow in his foot steps in so many ways.

Key advice I would give to budding designers: Be yourself. If you feel left out of the crowd, distance yourself and create your own filled with genuine creative minds who respect you. Stick with them, learn from each other and you will grow together. You will find that when you work as a collective great things happen rapidly.

Check out Jérôme LaMaar’s tips on how to sport his pieces in the gallery above.