Fashion expert and brand ambassador Jason Jobson visited his alma mater on Monday to speak to students of FIT’s Faces & and Places in Fashion lecture class. Jason began his career as fashion stylist for fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo. He has since worked both in-house and as an independent consultant for French and Italian luxury goods markets based in New York City.
Jason spoke to an engaged student audience about his stints at top fashion houses–and his relative ease in moving from house to house. Ferragamo, Thierry Mugler, Chanel, Valentino, Dior, and Chloe are all on his resume.
Jason’s anecdotes revealed an insatiable interest in fashion history, an understanding of the predilections of designers, fashion writers, entertainers and clientele, of embracing new mediums, and learning where he could make the greatest impact:
“I loved the relationships I had with big brands that had small U.S. based offices. You had a chance to make a point, or to really make a contribution…I was only 24 and able to work directly on a live TV segment for the Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards, (which had chosen Thierry Mugler as an opener). It was all because I worked in an office with five of us.”
“The Internet can be a powerful weapon,” warned Jason. “There’s never been a time that you can reach these companies or they can reach you.”
Yet the Internet can be perilous for its real-time capability as the example of John Galliano shows.
“For a French company to fire someone over night is unheard of,” he said. “ The internet and social media tools are priceless for marketing, but you have to be careful what you put out there.”
Entertainers can reach the masses as well: “Lady Gaga was able to make Thierry Mugler relevant again, to a generation who didn’t know his fashion collection. That she was able to reference it shows her dedication to design– It’s not easy to wear.”
Without Gaga, Jason said, “We probably would not have seen the re-re-launch of a collection receive such fanfare.”
Another Internet-aided transformation has changed the profile of Alexander McQueen. “With one dress (and a royal wedding) Sarah Burton was able to change the House of McQueen’s image. It was dark and interesting and now it’s feminine, sweet and pretty –or at least – now it can be,” said Jason.
In September 2008, Jason launched aLIFEofSTYLE.com, a gossip free website dedicated to “the education and promotion of design related to fashion, film, interior design, and modern art.” The site has readers in over 40 countries.
“Reaction to my website has been amazing…I recently had a meeting with the CFO of a Dubai based hedge fund that is investing in fashion brands. He had been reading my blog for about a year…We are in talks to plan a project together, which is something I could have never planned – all because of the internet”.
Keep your reputation intact, cautioned Jason. “The fashion world might feel huge, but the clientele is one percent or one-half a percent of the population. Usually there is one circle of women in each city.”
Photo of Jason Jobson: Rachel Ellner