Fashion Advocate and Creative Consultant
Gretchen Jones is a woman who has had many identities and careers. Always open for a new, wild experience. She is currently shedding the skin of her previous role as a fashion designer and director to become a new version of herself. A "post product designer" and mentor who guides other creative entrepreneurs.
She is a committed public speaker and thought leader with a new focus to explore and invest in the spiritual side of the fashion industry. With an eye on sustainability and emotional influence.
We met with Gretchen to get more insight on her new career choices, while overlooking the epic roofs of Manhattan's SoHo.
1. How did you grow up?
We moved around a LOT when I was a child but most often came back to high country Colorado to a tiny town of approx 400. My parents were both Midwestern kids who originally ran to the Rocky Mountains during the hippie movement. I suppose, that particular lifestyle (one part hippie, one part ski bum, one part cowboy) is one that’s hard to run away from, even if what lingers is just the aesthetics! They very much did their own thing and were a bit of the black sheep in each of their families. But that didn’t phase us. My parents have always been the life of a party, cared more about living life than playing by any rules. They were more entrepreneurial than the opposite. Which clearly influenced me in many ways.
2. What made you choose to start a career in the fashion world?
I just always have been interested in and inspired by how we wardrobe ourselves and our homes for that matter. As I kid I organically cared as much as I do now. It’s not just a manner of self expression but a way we communicate with and find our tribe[s]. That always appealed to me.
Fashion CAN be frivolous, but I find it to be far more meaningful and an important part of the human experience.
3. Describe your personal aesthetic. Does it relate to your character?
Tho it shifts a bit with the times, I think of my style as being a refined version of bohemian with a bit of a nod towards french femininity, I suppose. I like embracing my roots and upbringing in my dress. I appreciate a bit of restraint and prudishness in how much and what I show off.
I think it would be difficult to remove how I dress from my identity. I see it as deeply connected. I dress with confidence, and I carry myself with confidence. I don’t hide that I am a woman. Instead I champion womanhood as professionally important. They go hand in hand.
4. Has there been a defining tipping point in your career?
Many! My first big tipping point was probably going on Project Runway, as it continues to affect my life… tho it is more of a part of my story, rather than the definitive story of my life. At that point in my career, I was devoted to achieving my dreams of being a fashion designer. And I confirmed through that experience that I am talented and capable of attaining recognition and value as a creative.
My second tipping point was in realizing that what I enjoyed creating was hard to sell… at least to my ‘people’ or following. I wasn’t really designing clothing for the life I lived, nor the company I kept. That made it difficult to achieve the level of success, I dreamt of, but also made me understand that alignment is not only necessary, but vital for sustained success in this industry.
The third tipping point was in realizing that my career dreams were not necessarily aligned with the life I wanted to/was living. I didn’t enjoy being a fashion director and the impact it had on my personal life and mental state.
I came to understand that in order to create the life, I wanted to live, I would need to drastically edit some basics and focus on what brings me joy and what feels purposeful. First and foremost. I ended up leaving the design side of my public identity behind (for now anyways) and decided to go back to school to get my M.B.A. at the London College of Fashion.
The fourth tipping point is what I am in the beginning stages of… and I have yet to fully understand what exactly is ahead of me. But I do know that it will be more aligned and in service of the life I want to, and need to live. What I do know is that this chapter will be multidimensional, it will bring together my professional ambitions and personal needs and goals...