They say that style is a way to say who you are without having to speak, so shouldn’t it be truly authentic?
That statement and ideology rings abundantly true for Jacqueline City, a young fashion designer from South Philly who made a name for herself when she unveiled a unique approach to her own fashion brand.
City’s fashion line, Jacqueline City Apparel, is highly inclusive and has options for women, men, unisex, kids and plus sizes up to a 5X. The inclination for inclusion wasn’t just a long time coming for the fashion world—it was also a very personal triumph for the 24-year-old.
The young designer suffered from a brain injury in 2014, and soon after was diagnosed with dysautonomia—a disorder of the autonomic nervous system—and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or POTS, another element of the disorder. Her obstacle became a vehicle to bring awareness to a new approach to fashion, where everyone is welcomed.
Back in August, Metro sat down with the designer to discuss her brand, her accomplishments at New York Fashion Week and her upcoming Paris Fashion Week appearance set for later this year. Now, the style maven has more to celebrate, with her new inclusive fashion line—dubbed the Authentic Collection—and a virtual runway show/event to show it all off.
“I was beyond thrilled to be featured in Metro Philly last year. I feel blessed to be given a platform to share my story of perseverance. Historically, Philly has always been [an] ‘underdog’ city and I feel that way too, all the time, with my disabilities – but I know the people of Philly always have my back,” says City. “I wanted to capture the underdog spirit of Philadelphia with my new Authentic collection. I was thrilled to showcase the Italian Market the way I see it. As a little girl, I would march up and down that street and give little performances to tourists. I immediately thought of 9th Street as the perfect location to show off what Philadelphia is to me: I picture the iconic Rocky run scenes, setting up my easel and painting in the piazza, keeping warm next to fire cans, my whole family celebrating the Italian Festival every year.
“I feel like Philly can be rough or tough on its exterior but it is the City of Brotherly Love, there is a sense of community when you grow up here,” she continues. “I hope the Authentic collection captures the heart of Philly while projecting our bold self-expression and unapologetic attitudes: Philly is always real and raw and I think the rest of the world could use an East Coast go-getter attitude.”
The campaign surrounding the new line is based on the idea that we should all be proud to showcase our authentic selves. Using Philly as a compass, the gritty and voguish designs are just the start.
“I hope the Authentic collection and campaign inspires people to tell their own stories and embrace the journeys that have brought them here. There is a positive to hitting your rock bottom and it is knowing there is nowhere to go but up. I hope it starts conversations and really opens up a dialogue about physical and mental health. Social media has made us feel like we need to live picture perfect, curated lives and it has skewed our ideas of perfection,” explains City.
The campaign includes viewpoints from many different walks of life like first responders, mothers, veterans, and students who all shared their stories of pandemic-life and how Jacqueline City’s story has inspired them. The photos and stories will grace the pages of Jacqueline City Apparel’s first printed catalog.
“Social media has created unattainable beauty standards and I aim to pull back that curtain. I hope the Authentic campaign can showcase how important authenticity and inclusivity are, not just in fashion, but in all aspects of life. I want to get people to care about embracing their own identities; fashion should be a creative escape, open to everyone, with no rules — just authenticity,” the young designer continues.
The campaign is leading up to the “2 Years of Authenticity” virtual event, which will be held on March 5, from 7 to 10 p.m. According to a release, the event celebrates two years of the Jacqueline City Apparel brand and it will introduce the new collection and campaign as well as reflect on the past 24 months. The event will include a virtual runway show, motivational speeches by multiple speakers, giveaways, and a Q+A with City herself. Each ticket comes with the magazine catalog that will house all of the inspirational stories and materials mentioned through the campaign. City hopes to make JCA much more than a fashion brand, but a movement of inclusivity and authenticity.
“The 2 Years of Authenticity event symbolizes a rebirth for the Jacqueline City Apparel brand. I started out 2 years ago with just the hopes to have a new hobby to share with family and friends, but people were really receptive to my story,” says City. “I think people need to hear stories of triumph – and we all have those, we just don’t talk about our little successes enough. With this anniversary event, I wanted to open up that conversation. I wanted to reflect on what we have overcome and express our ambitious hopes for tomorrow. I hope to reflect on the past two years of the brand but I also hope to showcase that we are a new approach to fashion that stresses inclusivity and authenticity. To me, the Authentic Campaign symbolizes much more than fashion; it symbolizes the start of impactful conversations.”
The event and line paves the way for fashion inclusivity and true authenticity, but it also shows a positive source of inspiration and hope.
“I hope we can inspire people to continue these discussions of inclusivity, authenticity, diversity, sustainability, and advocacy in their own homes. I hope it encourages people to make choices that will positively impact our communities, small businesses, social media use, gen-z, and the future of fashion as a whole,” explains City. “The 2 Years of Authenticity event means hope that the next two years will bring about new solutions to the problems we are faced with – we just have to start talking about those problems.”
For more information on Jacqueline City and to purchase tickets to the event on March 5, visit jacquelinecity.com