Indiana native Jacqueline Rousseau knew she was destined for fashion greatness at age 9. "I announced to my parents that I was going to be a fashion designer, which they thought would be a passing trend," laughs Rousseau. "The walls of my bedroom were absolutely covered with sketches."
Cutting her teeth at the London College of Fashion and with internships at the likes of Diane von Furstenberg and Roksanda Illincic, Rousseau was soon making preparations to launch her own eponymous collection upon relocating to New York in 2010.
"It started with my spring collection in 2011, and I really wanted to immerse myself in the industry in New York by getting to know the Garment District," says Rousseau. Like the old "it takes a village" chestnut, Rousseau seeks to keep production methods local while simultaneously building a community around her.
"I like to know who I'm buying fabric from, who I'm buying ink from," she said. "Part of the design process for me is having that community."
Made entirely in NYC, Rousseau's cool, feminine ready-to-wear collections (and, more recently, dapper men's accessories) strike a perfect balance between effortless and fashion forward.
"Photography is always a big influence," Rousseau says of her designs. "Whether it's something I see in a museum, or just things I spot on blogs...Day-to-day things inspire me, too—maybe the way somebody is wearing a denim jacket, and personalized it."
Asked for any hints about her next collection, Rousseau—who says screenprinting, color blocking and contrasting panels of texture will always play key roles in her collections—says she's thinking a lot about body-con dresses and capes.
Check out Jacqueline Rousseau's complete collection at www.jacqueline-rousseau.com.