Welcome to our series, Hello Denver, My Name is… where we profile people in Denver that you probably don’t know — but should. Get ready to meet painters, dancers, comedians, musicians, designers and just generally fascinating people that help make this city awesome.
Colorado native and local fashion designer, Jasmine Lewis, immersed herself in the creative process from a very young age. As a shy kid, she turned to painting and drawing to express herself. Today, Lewis draws people into her world with experimental, sculptural designs created using anything from flowy, feminine fabric to repurposed football gear. Her eponymously named line encourages wearers to brazenly explore their individuality, much as she does with her often space-age design style. “My goal is to create unisex garments and accessories that allow people to express their individuality. I want my customers to feel strong, sexy and unique when they wear my clothes,” explained Lewis.
The beauty of her work is that it defies description, allowing observers to translate what they see and feel through their own personal lens. She is part of a new dawn of designers emerging in the city — creatives who see fashion as an artful, boundless experience. The sky is the limit for this new designer and we’re lucky enough to be part of her journey from the beginning.
Denver, meet Jasmine.
303 Magazine: How did you develop your interest in fashion design?
Jasmine Lewis: I’d always had an interest in fashion but I was hesitant to dive into designing. In college, I was pursuing a degree in product design but most of my projects involved fabric so I decided to take a class that merged industrial design and fashion design. After that, I finally committed to fashion and have loved it ever since. Fashion allows me to combine so many of my other artistic passions into something that people can experience in a much more personal way.
303: You described yourself as a shy kid. How did art help you overcome that?
JL: I think taking art classes definitely helped with overcoming some of my shyness. Part of these group classes is critiquing everyone’s work and there isn’t a lot of room to be quiet. Artwork is an extension of yourself and can be very personal so I had to become comfortable giving my opinion in class and taking criticism on my work.
303: Describe the relationship between art and fashion.
JL: Art and fashion have always been interconnected and I see fashion design as a form of wearable art. Fashion designers often use art historical references and are inspired by the forms, color and content in traditional artwork. I think with the rise of fast fashion, the art aspect has been taken out of the clothing people interact with on a daily basis, and these garments are worn until they aren’t useful anymore and then thrown away or donated. But there is a whole side of fashion design that has just as much thought, research and effort put into its creation as a traditional painter working on canvas.
303: Where do you find your greatest inspiration?
JL: I love learning and doing research so my designs are usually the result of many different subjects. Some of my interests include science fiction, historical fashion, astronomy, marine biology, nature, architecture and really anything else that piques my interest at the moment. I could be researching space explorations and get inspired by the history of pressure suits and start creating from there.
303: Describe your creative process.
JL: The process can change from project to project. Sometimes I start with a lot of research, sketches and fabric experimentation and develop a very specific vision. With other projects, I’ll find a material or form I’m inspired by and experiment with technique and shape until I get something interesting.
303: Out of all of your designs, what has been your favorite to create and why?
JL: My favorite design was my final project for fashion school. It was called “Not Just a Game” and is about the journey of football players overcoming life-altering sports injuries. The project was inspired by the experience of several people in my family and it was great to create a dedication to them and make garments I’m truly proud of.
303: You spent some time designing in Chicago. How does fashion there differ from Denver?
JL: I think there are so many different influences converging in Chicago that the fashion ranges a lot from streetwear to formal to avant-garde and everything in between.
Denver is definitely on the rise and I’ve seen more interest in fashion since I’ve been back to the city. It will be cool to see how Denver changes with all of this new development and I’m excited to be a part of the emerging fashion scene here.
303: What quote or saying do you live by?
JL: “Success is when hard work meets with opportunity.”
303: What can we expect from you in 2019?
JL: In 2019, you can expect a collection on the Runway and more items for sale. My goal this next year is to work with more performing artist and to continue collaborating with amazing people and creating new work.
303: This last question comes from our last interviewee, Andy Immerman: You’re on a deserted island. You can pick one food and one personal belonging to bring with you. What are those things?
JL: I would bring M&M’S and also my volleyball so I could make my own version of Wilson from the movie Cast Away when I inevitably lose my mind a little bit.
All photography by Rebecca Grant.
Models provided by Goldie Mae Productions.
Hair by Cecelia Kirby.
Makeup by Eric Quintana.