A conversation with the electric and award-winning Billie Jacobina
Although Billie Jacobina just graduated from UCA Rochester in 2016, she is no stranger to success. The electric and radiant wunderkind has racked up awards at a blistering pace; Jacobina has been selected to show her work at Graduate Fashion Week, won the British Council GFW Residency Award, and was also selected for Fashion Scout’s ‘Ones to Watch’ award. We got in touch with Billie to find out more about her inspirations, goals, advice to other young designers, and more!
Describe a typical Billie Jacobina woman?
A Billie Jacobina woman is someone who is bold and outgoing, someone is who not afraid to be seen in what they’re wearing, and they also exude a positive energy.
All your collections always radiate a strong sense of positivity. Whereas a lot of designers tend to have a more realistic, pessimistic outlook, why do you design in a more optimistic tone?
It’s part of who I am, don’t like painting in neutral, when I was designing [at UFA Rochester] my patterns would always be very vibrant and bright, it’s just something that’s in me.
You have had an incredibly successful career in fashion, being selected at Graduate Fashion, awarded the British Fashion Council award and Fashion Scout’s One to Watch! What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers who dream of walking in your footsteps?
This is quite difficult! I would say apply to things, I applied to many different awards and it was great to receive feedback from people and see how my work was being received. I searched and applied for those awards, the process of applying was a great experience.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
I did a fashion print degree at university, I didn’t think I would be a fashion designer straightaway. I applied to Fashion Scout and wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in. I got a phone call asking me to come for judging day, I had to work around some travel plans to Indonesia, I got on the train and after the judging day I got the One To Watch award and it all spiraled out of that.
What can we expect from Billie in the next 5 to 10 years?
I don’t know exactly, things that are very bright and colourful, that’s who I am. The Asian market is very well where I could be. I love London, but I also would like to go to Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, and see who enjoys my designs.
You have already accomplished so much at such a young age, how do you manage work-life balance?
I’m constantly working, I don’t think there really is a gap at the moment. Some days are really creative, where I’ll wake up and start creating. Other days are more about updating the site and responding to emails. it’s all about timing, but overall I would say I’m constantly busy.
With your collections taking on experiential themes, for example the latest collection, Billie’s Bakery, how do you decide on which direction you want your sets and collections to take?
Billie’s Bakery was based on old job when I was working at a bakery, I didn’t like the job and I changed it into something that was really positive. I’ve also incorporated Bali, taking my experiences and incorporating what I had seen there and weaved it into my work. It’s long process, I like to base my collections off of things that I’ve experienced. I take how I’m feeling and put that into my collections; overall, I would say they are very personal.