A conversation with Jessica Bradford fashion blogger, and jewelry designer. You might know this gal’s work from her website HauteHalifax.com, where she enjoys writing along with her co-pilot Erin about fashion, style, trends, music and inspiration.
As we all know, a true fashionista can never be afraid of taking a risk or embarking on a new challenge. Jewelry designing and owning one’s own business is no exception. Bradford is not just a pretty face you know; she is currently channeling all of her fashion knowledge and eco-friendly attitudes into her up-and-coming jewelry line.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 24-year-old girl living in Halifax. I spend my time doing a lot of things like blog, make jewelry, and work as a marketing / PR professional for a friend’s business (RedRiot Communications), but I would say that at the heart of it all I’m an entrepreneur.
How did the idea for Run Free, Run Wild come about?
This past year, I had some major changes in my life that were very freeing, so that was definitely part of how I came up with the name.
As for the idea itself, I think it had been brewing inside of me for some time now. I’ve been a collector of random things I thought to be beautiful since I was little – rocks, shells, you name it. I’ve also loved crafting for as long as I can remember and playing around with art. I even had a stint in high school where I was obsessed with making my own jewelry.
More recently, I collected a few sea urchins washed ashore on a beach and started experimenting with them. Although I didn’t know it at the time, my experiment led me to create my first Run Free, Run Wild necklace – a gold sea urchin. When I would wear the necklace out, it attracted a lot of attention. A few people started asking if I had an online store, so I thought, “If there’s interest, why not go for it?”
What advice would you give aspiring bloggers?
If you’re really thinking about getting into blogging, just do it. There’s nothing to lose by starting a blog, but a lot to gain. You get to connect with so many people you would have never met otherwise, attend amazing local events, learn how to use the Internet in new ways, and so much more. If you’re open to accepting help from other bloggers and letting them know you’re out there, the blogging community will be so supportive of you too.
Where do you look to, for inspiration?
My inspiration comes from stumbling online, perusing secondhand stores, and my own little experiments.
Explain to our readers the concept of your line.
Simplistically, my concept is about seeing and appreciating the beauty in everything, but there’s a lot more to it.
As some who read my blog already know, I love secondhand shopping and firmly believe the fashion industry needs to become more sustainable by creatively using materials already in existence. There is so much waste out there and the fashion industry exacerbates that with brands, designers, and consumers trying to keep up with the ‘latest’ trends, even though fashion is a constant cycle and those trends from years ago will come back in some form or another. I stick to these beliefs and it spills over into my jewelry line, as I use a lot of secondhand materials, including chains and lace.
This also ensures that each piece is special. Honestly, I couldn’t recreate the same thing if I tried. My materials won’t allow it.
Who is the “Run Free, Run Wild” woman? How would you describe her?
I always say that I won’t let anything go out the door that I wouldn’t be happy to wear myself, so I guess in a sense she is me, but I’m like a lot of girls out there!
She is any female who likes seeing and owning beautiful things, but has so much more to her when you get the chance to dig deeper. Most of all, she cares about the world.
What is your mission and how do you feel the accessories achieve this?
The fashion industry can be incredibly wasteful. Every year, new trends emerge, so factories start pumping out the newest stuff, only for them to be tossed away the next season, then re-ermge as a trend sometime later. Fashion is a cycle. And, as much as I love having a new coat or a new pair of boots, I recognize that this is an unsustainable and unnecessary practice.
I’m using my jewelry to show that things that are already in existence can be reused in creative ways, so that you can avoid the wasteful cycle that is fashion trends.
What does the inside of your closet look like? What could we expect to see?
It’s organized from left to right, starting with dresses and ending with sweaters. You’ll find a lot of dresses and skirts, as I’ve always been better at dressing up than dressing down. You wouldn’t find a lot of brand names, as my budget doesn’t allow for that kind of thing, but definitely some nice pieces and lots of thrifty finds. You would also see a lot of hangers with more than one thing hanging on it.
What are you wearing right now?
As I started writing this interview, I was waiting on friends to get ready for a night on the town, so I was dolled up in a white and navy striped skirt, thrifted black silky crop top, tights, black knee socks, black over the knee boots, and also rocking some burgundy lipstick.
Now, as I finish things off and tidy up my answers, I’m in bed in my pajamas! Haha.
What piece of clothing or accessory in your collection do you most covet?
I would have to say the original sea urchin necklace I made.
Growing up what is your best memory in association with clothing or the concept of your brand?
Being a young girl who loved collecting rocks and shells. I could stare at and study my rock collection for hours on end. To this day, I can close my eyes and picture my favourite rocks in it.
What would a day with Jessica look like?
Haha it depends what day! I work from home most days, so that would consist of me sleeping in, and then sitting at my kitchen table on my laptop and sipping tea. I would definitely hit up a yoga class at some point in the day too. I like to go on little adventures at least once a week too, so it may be a walk down by the waterfront or a trip out to a nearby beach or park. If it was a weekend, that’s a whole other story!
How old where when you realized this is what you wanted to do?
I still don’t know what I want to do! I just do things I like and hope that it will all work out.
What did the people around you say when you told them you wanted to blog and make jewelry?
To be honest, when I first started the blog I didn’t tell anyone that was I planning on doing it. I just did it and then told them! Some people probably still don’t know I blog and are probably surprised to learn that I do.
As for the jewelry, my friends and family were all very supportive and I wouldn’t have decided to start selling any of it without them. And, as always, my mom is my biggest fan.
What is the biggest misconception about fashion?
There are probably a lot of misconceptions about fashion, but I think the biggest would be that it’s superficial. Sure, the fashion industry can dictate ‘what is beautiful’, but fashion is also an extension of your personality and how you want to be viewed by the world. We behave as we want the world to perceive us, right? Well, dressing, or wearing fashion is part of our behaviour, isn’t it?
What advice would you give others who are considering a business like your own?
I’m still learning the ropes myself, so I don’t know if I should be giving advice just yet, but I’ll pass on advice that I have on my Just Us water bottle – people and planet before profit. We probably wouldn’t be in some of the mess we’re in now if corporations didn’t lose sight of that!
Fashion forward AND environmentally conscience; how could you not love her right? Looking forward to reading more about her “little experiments” we wish all the best from Short Presents Jessica.
Thanks so much to Jessica Bradford of Hautehalifax.com you are a doll.
Don’t forget to check out her tumblr for her Run Wild, Run Free pieces at http://runfreerunwild.tumblr.com/