Jada Eleanor is a rapidly rising clothing designer based in New York whose vibrant, bold, and colorful work combines influences from her heritage and culture as well music and fashion. She grew up surrounded by fashion, carrying her passion into high school and eventually college where Jada would style fellow classmates on campus. The idea for NORi, Jada Hines’ Black-owned brand, sparked in 2016. With the 2020 pandemic shifting a lot of things to the side, she finally decided to launch with the goal of making every muse feel stylish, unique, and bold!
“I just think that women, especially Black women, are divine. We are truly goddesses, everything about us is beautiful and I like to display that. I like to show that in the different types and sizes of bodies,” Jada tells us. “I design clothing that’s very stylish, unique, and fashionable even if you don’t have the conventional body type.”
We had the opportunity to chat with Jada Eleanor in regards to fashion, her womenswear label NORi, aspirations, and much more! Read below.
What sparked an interest for you to take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?
I’ve always been into fashion, I remember from a little girl I would cut up my clothes and create something with what I had. Even in high school, I would dress up to take pictures on my Instagram. Fashion was something that came naturally to me, but when I stopped going to school at Howard, it gave me the free time to explore it. That’s when I really got into it because while I was at Howard, I would go to people’s dorms, style them, and write a blog about it.
From there, I was like maybe I can make clothes. I started seeing the emergence of young Black designers on Instagram. Seeing that, I started developing the idea for NORi in 2016 and things just started to align. I learned to sow, and things started falling into place when I set my mind to it.
You started NORi amid the pandemic and it’s been doing well since then—do you recall those first few months of getting it off the ground?
It was a very magical and divine time, to be honest! My brand was already in the works so the pandemic kind of forced me to finally launch and put it into action. I wasn’t working so that gave me the time to really sit down and sow a collection then plan things out. Everything aligned and came together; time was the only thing that I didn’t have but the pandemic allowed me to go full throttle. It was great!
One thing I love about your brand is that you don’t shy away from working with ladies of all shapes and sizes—what do women and their bodies represent to you?
I just think that women, especially Black women, are divine! We are truly goddesses, everything about us is beautiful and I like to display that. I like to show that in the different types and sizes of bodies. I design clothing that’s very stylish, unique, and bold even if you don’t have the conventional body type. You can still wear short skirts, you can still wear crop tops, you can wear this! I think it’s important to show that and put it on display because we’re all different shapes and sizes.
What fashion trends are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I love it when people use different colors. I like anything Rihanna does like these furry hats, playing with textures, and using different fabrics. I don’t really keep up with trends too much; I couldn’t really tell you what’s trending. I try to stay away from keeping up with trends so I can do my own thing.
Walk me through your design process, how do your pieces typically start out and where does conception end before bringing it to life?
I get ideas that come to me and I’ll use my sketchbook, which has sketches from when I first started. I go through them and ask myself what I want to bring to life, update, or make fresh. It always starts as an idea and from there I make the sample myself and it’s a handmade collection then I’ll go into production mode. It’s a very natural process that just flows. I’m a very go-with-the-flow type of person so I let things happen organically!
In terms of 2021 and beyond, what are some things you’re hoping to achieve with NORi within the next few months to a year?
I definitely just want to be consistent with the rollouts. It can be hard, but I’m also working on DC fashion week right now as well. It’s my first time participating in a fashion week so that’s something that I’m looking forward to. I just want to see constant improvements and keep elevating.
On a more personal note, what do you aspire to be on a creative level?
I want to be creating at a higher rate! I just want to be known as a super creative person, fashion designer, I want people to remember me as that girl that kept going. I aspire to be a costume designer as well so I want to put together things for award shows, movies, and so on. I want to use my creativity and push myself to the fullest extent. I might surprise myself and do something I didn’t expect!
If you enjoyed our interview with Jada Eleanor, check out our chat with Nish Murdock!