Portraits of Women Vol 11: Rajni Jacques

 

If you read about fashion, you’ve read about Rajni Jacques. The Fashion Director of Teen Vogue has left her indelible mark on many a publication, from Racked to Glamour to Nylon. She’s also a very familiar face in every street-style roundup from the busy avenues of NYC to the grand boulevards of Paris. If that weren’t impressive enough, she’s also a mother and a painter. But the Brooklyn-based editor isn’t braggadocious about it... au contraire.

Rajni's practical approach to life and style is an ethos to which #everywoman can relate.
We shot Rajni in her apartment amongst art she made and art she loves.
Interview by Julia Reiss
 

Hello, Rajni! Winter is here (boo)! Are there any trends you are living for this season?

Nope. It's not that I'm never into trends, but I don't live for them. Some are cute, some are not, and some I can wear for more than one season. But I like my style and how easy it is (for the most part). Style over Fashion.

Sage advice, but tell me, are there any that you hated?

To each his own. 

Indeed. Speaking of style, how would you describe your own?

Super simple in the sense that I'm always in jeans and a tee (or a crop top). I don't dress up for the everyday meaning, I love an element of comfort in whatever I am wearing. And that means jeans are always involved, as well as some type of heel or boot to upgrade it all. I'm super simple, but it always looks good!

What are your most prized wardrobe items?

Denim. I have so many vintage pieces that I love and covet. Even if they don't fit me, they are still there for me to look at. Also, my moms Dior clutch from the 60s. [It] just reminds me that before my mom Magalie was 'my mom' she was her own person.


 

I love that. I definitely have a few pieces of mom memorabilia as well. Moving on to work, did you always aspire to a career in fashion? How did you get your start?

I never thought of a career in fashion, to be honest. Growing up, fashion was never seen as a career. Blame it on immigrant parents who wanted their children to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, or teachers. I fell into it by accident when I had to do an internship at a publication when I was in college. I thought, 'ok, I'll do this and move on'. And then I met my mentor Sydney Bolden who opened my eyes to the world of fashion. That's when I was like oh fashion can be a career. From there....

If my e-stalking serves me right, you're also  a bit of an art collector. What's the last piece you scored? Are there any artists you are really into right now?

The last piece I scored was the last piece I made myself. This year has been a little harder for me to paint with Diego becoming a little guy and moving around everywhere. Before he would just sleep and I had all the time in the world. But I want to carve out more time for myself to do what I love. So the fact that I was even able to finish one, was a big thing for me! And of course, I'm always into new artists and photographers. Right now I'm inspired by the work of (old and new) Awol Erizku, Lorna Simpson, Lucien Smith, Emma Amos, Tschabalala Self [Tome F18 inspiration] , Jordan Casteel, Tyler Mitchell.


What inspires you creatively?

Oh man. EVERYTHING! From people that walk by me on the streets and on the subway, to my friends (who are all really creative), to my little guy Diego (who because he is so young everything is a new adventure for him which has excited me and has given me new life), to anything from the 80s. I'm also inspired to do better with everything that's happening in America right now. Whether it's creative or not, this new world we live in has motivated me.

I can’t agree with the latter enough. About your little guy… do you feel like your style changed when you became a mother?

Nope. I mean it changed when I was pregnant due to my changing belly size. But once I got back in shape, my style reverted back to what it once was. I'm easy breezy with style anyways — I'm usually in jeans and a tee.


If you didn't work in fashion, what do you think you would do?

I would be doing something in the art world not exactly sure what that would be.
Art in all its forms is something I've always loved. I'm also a painter so maybe that!



What's one piece of advice you would give someone hoping to break into the fashion industry?

Don't fall victim to trends and pressures of being a certain type of person. Know your worth. 

What does a day in the life of Rajni look like?

It's never the same. Which is quite nice.

Fill in the blank. When leaving the house, I always have _______ in my bag.

Red lipstick in my bag, just in case I have to turn it up a notch.