303 Style Profile – 19-Year-Old Denver Designer Makes Jackets with Meaning

303 Style Profile is an ongoing series highlighting unique locals and their incredible style and stories. Go here to see past profiles

At 19 years old, Jesus Perez has already created his own clothing line called Fides — “faith” in Latin. Although he doesn’t have any formal training, the Aurora native is already designing clothing for musicians like Afroman, who has opened up for rap legends, Method Man and Redman. In a graffiti-like style, Perez paints jackets with messages about relationships and heartbreak, encouraging wearers to “fxck feels,” but it isn’t what you think. 

READ: 303 Style Profile – When Fashion and Social Justice Collide You Get Stephen Garcia

Fides started as Perez’s way to share his style with friends, but as he began to explore his creativity, it evolved into something more. “Fides started off by me making t-shirts and sweatshirts for myself and friends, but as I began to explore my creativity and my potential it slowly began to become more centered around custom jackets,” he said. “It was a way of me expressing my feelings and thoughts and a way of being able to stand out.”

A promising career blossomed in a year — humble beginnings for a courageous, young designer who believes faith and the power of love are what the world needs most.

303 Style, Amanda Piela, New Denver Designer, Jesus Perez, Artist

303 Magazine: Describe the moment you realized fashion was an important part of your life.

Jesus Perez: I have an older sister. She is 10 years older than me and I always looked up to her even to this day. She always cared about the clothes she had on. Since I was younger than her, I wanted to be just like her so that meant I too had to have white low tops and match my shirt to my shoes all the time. I went to a Catholic school almost all my life. In middle school, free dress days where everything. I had this idea that I wanted to be the best-dressed person in my class even if others just wore basketball shorts and a t-shirt, I wanted and had to wear my best clothes. I wanted to stand out from the others. When high school came along, I was all about the sneakers — Jordan Retros and Nikes. I had to have the best shoes in the hallway and I also began to realize that I could express who I was, what I loved and how unique I was through the clothes I wore.

Pretty much all my life fashion has been a big part. As a kid, subconsciously I cared about what I wore, mostly influenced by my sister. That desire to wear clothes that look good carried onto middle school where I wanted to dress differently from others to show I was different, and then to high school where I wanted to show everybody that I could be unique and creative by making my own clothes and custom making my own jackets.

303: Where do you find inspiration?

JP: I find my inspiration from so many things. In all honesty, it comes from the music I listen to — mostly indie, alternative rock and rap or hip hop music as well. I find inspiration from hanging out with friends, family nights, watching the sunset on a summer night, breathing in the cold, crisp air of a winter morning, feeling the sun’s warmth on a chilly spring morning and hearing the sound of leaves blowing on the ground in the fall. I’m inspired by textures, sounds and sights. What I create is truly an expression of who I am, what I feel, what I think, what I see around me, my dreams and my desires. I am also inspired by visual arts, especially artists like Van Gogh, Picasso and my favorite artist at the time, Daniel Arsham.

303 Style, New Denver Artist, Denver Deisgner, Fashion Designer

303: What is the process to make each piece of clothing?

JP: I start the process of making each piece of clothing by choosing the color of the jacket first, whether I want a black denim jacket, white denim jacket, washed denim jacket or leather jacket. I then proceeded to brainstorm ideas, whether I want paint or embroidery, what type of phrases I want and I just write it all down on a piece of paper. Then I just put music on, choose the right song to begin with and I just go. There’s no real structure to making the jacket, it just flows and it’s all about the moment, what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, what I saw that day, what I saw the previous day, what I saw five minutes ago. It’s all really an expression of what I’m feeling at that moment in time

303: Describe your style.

JP: My style focuses mainly on my inspiration from the Los Angeles rock scene of the ’90s and early 2000s. It has a major focus on always having a — jacket leather or denim — and customing. It has to be custom with a t-shirt, sometimes a vintage rock tee with black denim and a pair of boots. Honestly, the boots are just as important and essential as the jacket itself, and not any pair of boots but a Mexican-style Chelsea boot from Mexico that is worn in and has a vintage look to it. Not only are they more comfortable — in my opinion — but it is a good way to keep my ethnicity and heritage always with me.

303: What message are you trying to deliver through what you create?

JP: My message is not to be sad over heartbreak or not to fall in love like the words can say sometimes, but rather to enjoy life no matter how rough it can be, because at the end of the day, we only have this life to enjoy. I want people and kids to not be afraid to express themselves. They don’t need to be the funniest in their class or the most athletic, rather they only have to stay true to themselves and not be afraid of knowing who they are and expressing themselves, and if wearing one of my jackets helps them then even better.

303 Style, 303 Fashion, Denver Fashion Designer303: What does “fxck feels” mean to you?

JP: It’s honestly not something to be taken too seriously, but rather it’s just me having fun and reflecting on high school and the innocence of high school friends hanging out, talking about relationships and girls that we liked and just saying “fxck feels” because life was so easy back then. It’s more of a playful phrase than a serious phrase.

303: Do you communicate your personal experiences through your clothing?

JP: Honestly, they are personal experiences that I  communicate through my clothes and the phrases on them, and it’s not as if I was ever depressed over a relationship, but it’s more of me communicating my feelings and thoughts through what I create.

303: What are your goals and dreams? 

JP: My dream is to be an artist and to continue creating and to inspire people. I want to inspire people most of all. I want people to look at the things I’ve created, and I want it to be an inspiration for them to go out and create something of their own and for them to be unique and express themselves the way they want to. I also want to create a brand that combines contemporary art with luxury and textures. I want to make a brand that is up there in the names with Givenchy and Gucci and Balmain. My dream is ultimately to be remembered in the fashion world, to make a name for myself and to inspire others to be creative and unique

My goals are to be more involved in the Denver fashion scene this summer, to make a name for myself in Denver, to keep growing my brand and to keep growing its diversity and its quality.

Photography by Amanda Piela.

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