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Jovan jjackman
Despite the fact that we all have simultaneous access to the same fashion images across the globe, there are still subtle differences in the way people dress. In each city, dress codes come with certain characteristics: the effortlessness of Paris, underground boldness in Berlin, informed quirkiness in London.

New Yorkers, too, always had their own style which is characterised by a certain sharpness that comes with a sense for the pragmatic. Nowhere else in the world your identity is so intertwined with your professional life and so your clothes must work around the clock without loosing their fit or appeal.

Jovan Vialva is a born New Yorker and one of these professionals. Only one day, after getting another promotion at an e-commerce company, she realised that despite the successes in her corporate career, she was not making a difference. This should change with starting up her own fair fashion business j.jackman in Berlin.

You’re a born new Yorker — who usually don’t leave the city voluntarily. What made you move to Berlin?

Love! I first moved to London, because I met a dashing Austrian man in Chicago. At that time, he was based in Vienna, I in NYC. I spent a year in London, and then I got a role at an e-commerce firm in Berlin. I decided to move here, without ever having been before. That was almost five years ago, and I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

What did you do before j.jackman and what made you found the label?

I worked in management consulting, then at an e-commerce company. My experience was mainly in retail and analytics — very different from fashion. I got inspired to start j.jackman when I became more involved in the slow fashion movement. That was interesting because sustainability was essentially a non-topic for me before moving to Europe. But as I became more aware of my consumption habits, I started to feel that there were not many options for chic, professional pieces with that NYC style I love that were made with ethics. So I jumped in.

No background in fashion — is that an advantage or disadvantage for founding a fashion brand?

I think more disadvantageous is not having too many connections. Fashion is a lot about who you know and who wears what. Still, I think there is space for outsiders — it just takes a long time and a lot of persistence.

What should clothes do for you?

I think women’s clothing has to make the woman feel great. So much clothing is bought and never worn because it does not fit right, is not really the style of the person, or was really great in the shop but at home not so much. If we are going to buy something — let’s buy things we really love, that make us look and feel great.

The most sustainable thing we can do is to wear our clothes for as long as possible. Which piece of clothing in your wardrobe have you been wearing the longest?

I am someone who keeps clothing for a long time. There are a few shirts from college that say my University on it — I still have those, primarily for the gym. Also, one of my first purchases after I got my job in consulting was a navy suit and a black spring coat. Both I still have.


Björn Lüdtke


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