Interview with JagandCo. Custom Clothing

*All photos by aTruLee Photography

We are so honored to announce that the queer owned clothier JagandCo. will be sending interactive lifestyle models to dapperQ’s five year anniversary runway show and after party. DJ Whitney Day first introduced dapperQ to the world of JagandCo. via Facebook, and we instantly fell in love with their dapper ascetic which blends vintage chic with contemporary styles. We sat down with E. Jaguar Beckford, JD, CEO, designer and stylist at JagandCo. Clothier to share bring you more information about the brand.

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Tell our readers about JagandCo.

JagandCo: First, I’d like to thank dapperQ for recognizing my work in the LGBT community. We’ve been working overtime branding ourselves in social media and beyond. JagandCo’s mission is to create chic, custom and edgy masculine identified clothing that is desired and consumed by the fashion community. I have worked in the entertainment industry for about 20 years now and have stumbled across some tremendous talents in the arts, often lost or wayward queer youth looking for some place to belong; and singers, dancers, artist, designers etc., all with a penchant for fashion. Yet there was always something missing from their equation. Identity. I heard too many of their stories of abuse, violence and self deprecation because they just did not fit in –  in their families, in their school social setting, etc. – because they were different. Well I felt that way for the longest. That’s the mission of JagandCo: Reach One, Teach One. Our aim is to reach just one person and change their lives, teach just one person how to wear clothing where they can stand out. Our further mission is to create a green campaign that can help reduce waste. So we are working on two products presently to “Go Green” and save our environment.

 

What motivated you to start JagandCo?

JagandCo: My official company name is “Jaguar and Company Clothier.” I went to law school in the 90’s, practiced and recently retired. While in school, I designed clothing for the LGBT community. Mostly Tees, hand pained jeans and afro-centric jewelry. But it was just a hobby and enough to pay my bills. So I did the law thing representing major clients such as Eric B & Rakim, Lyfe Jennings, Chrysette Michelle etc., but this was not where my heart was. So, last year I followed my heart and started this company because I was tired of how the fashion industry perceived women who wea,r how do you say, “masculine identified clothing?” I was disgusted by the looks of patrons at shops that shook their heads, demonstrative of their disapproval of my being in the men’s department. I was tired of the sales people with no sense of ability of how to “manage” a patron such as myself. So I wanted to create clothing where queers could attend family events, party, go on a date feeling not good, but great.

But the desire to accomplish this goal has turned into a movement. A fluid movement of the gathering of people from all walks of life who are attracted to how we move when we come into a room. Our elegance, our grace, our confidence is immediately recognized.  I just received this quote from one of your very own dapperQ models:

“Hey Jag, good morning friend, I just wanted you to know that I am obsessed with your movement now, all the bow-ties all the fashion all the androgyny I can’t stop now. I just want to know how can I help with the movement? I need to be a part of this. #Salute #Respect #Peace.”

We get letter like this after every event we do. So, we decided to focus on that, building a fashion movement. I’m different. I spoke differently. I thought differently. I dressed differently. I wanted different things from life and the Universe surrounded me with people to allow that to manifest into the world of JagandCo. It’s a movement.

How would you describe the JagandCo aesthetic?

JagandCo: We wanted the name to be sophisticated and reflective of an upscale market with a twist. Mixing things like military styles with traditional patterns; hunting patterns with classic styles. Formal looks with grunge or hip hop styles.

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What inspires your designs?

JagandCo: I love textures, colors and patterns. I love layers. I see lines and motion in clothing and constantly see enhancements. But I had no formal training, just what I saw and felt. So I found tailors that knew more about fashion products than myself. I spoke to designers about fabrics; I took introductory courses on textiles to become even more “inspired” as you say. That is what inspires me. Textiles. A pattern moves in my mind and dances in fluid motion. It translates into a garment.

You recently won “Designer of the Year” at the EHMP Hip Hop awards. What sets you apart from other designers who are now making bespoke clothing for dapperQs?
JagandCo: First, nyone can make a custom garment with the right measurement. JagandCo takes an edgier approach to the traditional and breaks the mold when it comes to that. We don’t want a garment that just fits, it must stand out.

Second, we re-design clothing often starting from a clients own wardrobe.

Third, we are presently applying for a patent for a special tie design that is a 100 percent re-cycled “green product.” We are very conscious about the environment and said if it can be fixed lets fix it, rather than throwing it away and putting more “things” into the environment.

Fourth, we developed three fragrances that are “to die for” that do not harm the environment with chemical sprays and last much longer.

Fifth, we show you how to put it all together by our styling experts. To sum it up we are full fledge “House of JagandCo” and not just the living room.

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Last week, you held an event called “Just Androgynous Gurls Under a Rainbow: The Diary of Androgyny,” where fashion met MC’s/poets and 3D visual art. How did you come up with the idea for this event and why was it important to integrate all of these art forms under one roof?
JagandCo: This was a big step for JagandCo. After two previous successful marketing campaigns: Ladies Love Bow Ties I and II; and two great photo shoots with Andros, queer, boi whatever you want to call them, and beautiful femmes wearing my signature Hers’ n Her’s Bow Tie Ensembles, each shoot became its own event.  So we had to do something different. I attended Mary Mount Manhattan College and majored in English Literature with a minor in theatre. I sing, dance, draw, act and do photography. The Arts’ is in my blood. When a model walks down a runway, she is before you an average time of 45 seconds to a minute. It then becomes necessary to do a final walk to give people another opportunity to see them again.  Our Live fashion show allows me to dress and layer my models for two looks that are viewed by my audience for an average of 3 min. During an actual performance my models can change their look along with the second song or piece. So, I coach my models (just as a photographer does) in what I call “Narrative Interpretation” of the performer’s piece. So think about this the photographer tells a model “give me a tiger, ok a fierce tiger, lil stronger, now you’re in heat,” and so on. The model translates their whole body into that Narrative.  My show accomplishes the same. I take my experience in theatre, utilize my experience as a photographer and produce a live Fashion show…that meets the arts.

Style is obviously important part of your identity. How would you describe your style?
JagandCo: My style is unique, edgy, non-conforming. I don’t have a favorite color. So I am not partial to any one color of anything. As I said before, patterns and texture do a fluid dance in my head, so getting dressed for an event is just fun, never work. If I’m thinking too hard, then something is wrong.

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Has it been a journey defining your own personal style? Tell me about it.

JagandCo: Not at all, because personal style evolves just as we do.  There are always fashion trends that we all want to be a part of or abstain from.  If I ever elected to join in, it was always on my terms with my flair. Showing up at a club, I would always hear; “only you could pull that off.”

Have you experienced any challenges when it comes to dressing dapper queer?  What are they?

JagandCo: Actually, no. When I dress ANYONE, I have one rule. No mirror. Hold your head up. Turn around, left hand back, right hand back, jacket up to shoulder. What I mean is. I do not let anyone see what he or she is being dressed in. They cannot see until I have finished. That is my rule. That way I am not fighting them about colors, styles, likes, dislikes etc. Once I am finished. I let them see my vision… I got about a 98% success rate.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

JagandCo: Probably the Internet. Small boutiques. Thrift shops.

What has most influenced your style?

JagandCo: What influenced my style wants to be different, so I always tried to do something or try something a little unconventional.

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Who are your fashion icons?

JagandCo: I would probably say The House of Givenchy, because his fashion was “art.”

What is the one article of clothing you cannot live without?

JagandCo: A dope Azz Hat.

Who have you worked with and/or styled?

My first celebrity client was Denver Bronco’s Player Alvin “Ace” Bowen, for the cover of Hard Candy Magazine. Then, I dressed award winning Director Michael “Boogie” Pinckney; Luis Antonio Ramos, star of Steven Spielberg’s ABC show Lucky 7, for his Red Carpet and ABC editorial daytime show; and celebrity Stylist Eric “E Stylz” Santiago. We had an editorial feature in Beautiful Savage Magazine; Hip Hop Artists, Smiff n’ Wesson; video shoot for Hip Hop artist Mr. Cheeks; The Coke Boyz artist “Lil Trigg” (writer, producer of Jenna Rose’s 23 million views “In my Jeans”); Underground Hip Hop promoter and radio show host AD the General for the Bravo reality Show NY’s Women to Women.

Jag4Tap Dancer/Singer/Songwriter, Cartier Conway wearing JagandCo.

You’re coming up on your 1 Year Anniversary. What was the highlight of 2013?

We have an awesome show planned for our anniversary, a never before type of show. We will be working throughout the year planning a really big event that cannot be discussed at this time.

What else can we expect next from Jag & Co.?

JagandCo: We have some interesting partnerships we are looking to solidify. We have some awesome productions we are planning. We have some wonderful queer models we are looking to brand. We have a social responsibility plan that we have taken across the globe into Afrika that will insure our products are helping to build the lives of others in our global communities. We presently sponsor a village in Hohoe Ghana and have helped supplement their community with electronics. We have hired 2 graphic designers that will be contributing designs that in turn will help to assist us in that objective.

How can our readers contact you?

JagandCo: Follow me via Instagram and Twitter, at @JagandCo. You can also visit the website, www.JaguarandCompany.com, and for all media request, contact my publicist, Mocca, at [email protected]

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