Norway High School grad has sights set on NYC fashion world
By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON MOUNTAIN – After years of writing about clothing designers in the New York City fashion scene, Norway native Justin Spade is ready to become a designer himself.
He hopes to have his very first clothing collection, called J.Scott, ready for New York Fashion Week in September.
Although Spade is still brainstorming ideas and sketching designs, his goal is to create four looks for a preview in Detroit this summer and an additional six to 16 looks for the complete J.Scott collection.
The collection will likely be a mixture of formal and ready-to-wear clothing.
“Experienced, established designers usually take between one to maybe three months to put their collections together,” Spade explained. “Being that this is my first time at this, and this is really a learning experience for me, this is going to take a good amount of time and effort to get this done by September.”
There are less than six months until fashion week, but Spade’s journey toward becoming a designer has taken years.
He graduated from Norway High School in 2006, then went to Central Michigan University (CMU), where he earned a double major in organizational communications and integrated public relations.
During his time at CMU, Spade began to take an interest in fashion.
“I had made this amazing friend, Jessica Mosley, who was really into fashion, and she sort of sparked that little bit of interest in me, just through things like conversations or even shopping,” he said.
Spade and Mosley started a fashion and music blog as a hobby, but Spade soon moved on to writing for other blogs. He worked as the Lansing-area men’s style writer for the nationwide blog the Examiner, and as the senior writer for a fashion blog called the NYLA Report.
While at the NYLA Report, Spade conducted an interview with a major fashion designer, and the two kept in touch. The designer later asked Spade to move to New York City and work as a fashion publicist.
Spade said that it did not take much convincing to get him to take this “dream job.”
“I was interviewing some celebrities and attending New York Fashion Week, and I had this entire world thrust upon me that really captivated me,” he added. “These artistic people I was meeting, and the whole fashion scene in New York was everything to me.”
However, the “dream job” turned out to be anything but. Spade left the job, but not the industry. He continued to write on his own fashion blog called Brown Paper Bag.
With the support of friends and family, Spade decided that it was time to start creating his own designs.
“After talking to a few people, realizing that I have some basic knowledge of the industry, and utilizing contacts I have made in the industry, it just made sense to pursue this opportunity,” said Spade.
Spade admitted that this endeavor will be a lot of work, but he said that he feels confident with a team of helpers at his side.
One thing he is still looking for is funding.
Currently, Spade has a Go Fund Me account, where people can make donations to help fund his collection.
Each level of donation comes with special rewards, such as a mention on the J.Scott social media accounts and website, a handwritten Thank You card, a J.Scott support t-shirt, and more. Visit www.gofundme.com/2dvbck for details.
Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.