Spring, Summer, and the Seconds In-between

“I am still learning.” Michelangelo

I feel like Spring has flashed by me in a blur. Somewhere between the melting of snow and the flowering of plants, life happened, and I’m not sure where I was or what I was doing.  Ok, I know where I was and what I was doing, but I am having a hard time believing that it is mid-June already.

In case you are wondering what is new with the world of Jessica Swagman (fashion) or what is new in the world of Jessica Swagman (person), here’s a little update. Keep in mind, both worlds (the person and the business) are inseparable and my life is my business.

I rarely admit this and I abhor saying it, but I can’t do it all. Yes, most days I believe I am Superman, but every once in a while I have a moment where I am brought to my knees with the realization that I’m just human. To me, failure is anything that isn’t part of my plan…

Jessica Swagman (fashion) has been plodding along slowly. Building a company is exhausting but building a fashion design company has been arduous.

Juggling two companies has been both exhilarating and tiring. With my event planning company growing exponentially, it means that all of my attention is on keeping up with the growth. This leaves little time to spend on my fashion company, and when I do have a moment, I focus on the lack of growth. Neither productive nor fair.

Lately, I have been trying to look at ways to grow the selection of items without overextending the company, figuring out what is working and what is not, and restructuring some big components (ie: manufacturing).

Sewing the garments takes a lot of time, and during certain months (April – September), I am unable to do it myself. This means having someone else do it, and finding someone who has the talent and efficiency is a lot harder than you’d think.

So, what does this mean for the next collection? Well, the Fall 2016 collection has been designed, but unless I can find the manpower to help with the sewing and manufacturing, it will have to wait. Disappointing, undoubtedly. But success takes time, sometimes years. And that’s ok… I have to keep reminding myself that that’s ok.

Jessica Swagman (person) is doing ok. No, really, I am. Every day brings a new lesson and a new challenge. Education costs money and sometimes that means I learn something by making a mistake. As long as I learn, it’s not a waste. And after 31 years, I am still learning.

Yes, that’s right, another year older. I’m officially in my 30’s, not just flirting on the edge of them. I feel the same, except I think I care even less what people think of me and I’m even more unapologetically, yet tactfully, honest. I actually like getting older, but maybe it’s because I still look like I’m 13 (one of the reasons for the new bangs, it ages me at least 3 years).

So here’s to another year, another day, of learning, growing, and having faith in the journey.

Jessica Swagman

Jessica Swagman

Jessica Swagman 1

Jessica Swagman

Jessica Swagman

Jessica Swagman

Photos: New Years with my mom, February trip to Vancouver, My friend’s cocktail party,  Skiing in Colorado, Holland’s Tulip Time, Mothers Day.

Breeze Blocks + Berries

“As you can see, I am immersing myself in color – I’ve held back from that until now; and I don’t regret it.” Vincent van Gogh

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed that the past few months I have been in a serious love relationship with monochromatic outfits. Now these aren’t your typical monochromatic outfits where I wear the same color from head to toe. Instead, I wear different shades of the color (if you want to be precise, I wear different tints, tones, and shades of the color). Plus, if I can, I add in some prints and patterns.

Before I go on to tell you about that amazing breeze wall I’m standing in front of (because you know me, I like to give you a little history with each location), the skirt I am wearing is from my collection (more on that soon, I swear!). When I designed this skirt, I had no idea that it would end up being one of my favorites. Without going into to much detail about the inspiration behind the entire collection, let me just say this: asymmetry and fabrics. Asymmetrical silhouettes are wonderfully interesting to not only design and make, but to wear. I’ve also been having more fun with fabrics; using 3 or more kinds in one garment, and learning how to hyperbolize their differences yet making a cohesive garment. Now, onto those breeze blocks…

Located on the Southwest side of downtown Grand Rapids is a very unique building. This former gas station is now the commercial home to ad agency Kantorwassink.

The building is unique in that is uses decorative concrete blocks called breeze blocks, or decorative concrete blocks.

These decorative, yet functional, blocks are used as architectural screen walls and fences to separate and define spaces and create an architectural transition from the building to the yard. They also provide excellent partial shading and protection from the sun’s heat and glare, much needed ventilation by allowing breezes to pass through, and partial privacy.

While these blocks are have been around since the 1930s Art Deco period, they rose in popularity during the 50’s and 60’s with Mid-Century Modern residential & commercial buildings.

While they are used most frequently in hot areas to let breezes through, they are also the ideal fencing and screen wall material in coastal regions that are hurricane-prone.

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - Midcentury modern breeze blocks, plaid raspberry pink shirt, pleated sheer raspberry pink skirt

Jessica SKIRT: Jessica Swagman | BLOUSE: Kohls (similar here or here) | SHOES: DSW (similar here) | RINGS: Pandora