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BTC covers Jamila Mariama

July 5, 2017

BTC got to chat with fashion designer, Jamila Mariama to learn more about her journey in the fashion industry!




Jamila and I have known each other for 8+ years. We attended the same high school in Dayton, Ohio (shout out to Stivers School for the Arts)! Jamila (and her twin sister Maya Jones) have always been fashionistas and it has been awesome to see her style and career transform over the years.


(She's going to kill me for this picture lol at least she looks cute! Me on the other hand...) 




Jamila attended the University of Cincinnati and earned her Bachelors in Science in Fashion Design through their Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) program. Jamila has created a few major collections, her most recent she completed her last year of college. She's currently working on her current collection which she hopes to have complete for New York City Fashion Week this Fall.


Jamila's most recent press cover was a collaboration with Every Stylish Girl, a media publication empowering the next generation of girl bosses. 


Read how Jamila is LIVING LIFE BEYOND THE CLOUDS below!



  • Name?

    • Jamila Mariama Jones 


  • Where are you from?

    • Dayton, OH (Dirty D haha)


(photography by Tobi Ewing)


  • How do you identify?

    • Racially, I identify as black. I identify as African/American as well but for some reason it sounds like such a text book term. I say black because I feel like it ties in not only my ethnicity but my culture as well. Sexually, I identify as straight/heterosexual. I've been attracted to all different types of men lmao and have been told I don't have a "type," but I definitely know my husband is going to be black. Religiously, I identify as Christian. I know and believe God is my creator and I've always been raised and encouraged by words from the Bible. My favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."




  • What are your passions and interests?

    • Fashion all day everyday. I don't even know what else to say haha. I love traveling too I can definitely say that's my biggest passion next to designing and creating. I've been luckily enough to travel to Europe a couple times and live there as well and I love it. I have such a long list of places I want to go. In the next few years I want to go to Hawaii and Africa.


  • How did you find your passions and how did they blossom?

    • I found my love for fashion playing Barbie dolls. At that time, being young, I couldn't pick out my own clothes, but I could dress my barbies in whatever I wanted. Being a twin my sister, Maya and I wore matching outfits for a while, but once we got old enough to dress and shop for ourselves fashion was a way for us to kind of differentiate ourselves and express our individuality. In high school I majored in visual arts which lead to me drawing, which lead to me teaching myself how to sew and it blossomed from starting to draw my sophomore year to presenting my first collection the summer before my freshman year of college.







  • What is the mission with your work?

    • Fashion design really empowers me and gives me so much joy. It helps me grow and I want whoever is wearing my designs to feel that same empowerment and passion when they're wearing it, following their own passions and goals. I want people to chase their dreams and serendipity in my designs.





  • What has been a huge breakthrough in your creative/entrepreneurial journey?

    • I can say the biggest breakthrough would probably be finding a good job in my career in national fashion capital New York Cityyyyy. It kind of proved to me that all my hard work since I began chasing my passions was worth it and other people saw value in my talents and work enough to pay me 😩😭. But in this context I'm designing for a brand that is not my own (International Concepts at Macy's) so with that I have to learn to design for a customer that is not my own. It is challenging and fun and I enjoy it. But the real test is with my own personal collection and the success I can make out of that journey.



(photography by Tobi Ewing)



  • What has been the biggest struggle in your creative/entrepreneurial journey? What has it taught you?

    • It sounds dumb, but patience has been the biggest struggle and struggling from it has taught me how to do it. I'm always so eager to just start my own business and be the bomb at and quit my job and just completely live the life of a fashion designer. But I know if someone gave me all the money to quit my job and start my collection by myself I would fail. I know I have so much learning to do and the older I get the more I'm ok with that. I really believe everything happens for a reason and within the destined timing so I've been being patient and continuing to let God lead the path as he's been doing which has left me blessed and humbled. I have to learn to slow down and be patient with my journey and know that everything will work out the way it's supposed to!




  • How do you practice self love and rejuvenation when you're overwhelmed by your work?

    • I like this question. It's definitely important for me to be able to tackle being overwhelmed. Being in fashion can be a really critical environment and fast pace and so is living in NYC, which can drive your anxiety up the wall. But I try to avoid putting myself in mental positions of putting too much on my plate I can't handle or putting myself down and being too hard on myself. I also try hard not to put myself in a position of comparing myself to others. I've always been the type of person to know my worth and know the things I find special about myself. I always tell people you're in control of your own happiness and emotions and that's how I practice self love by being in control of how I react to situations.


  • What investments have you made for yourself?

    • Moving to NYC is my biggest and most rewarding investment. I moved here exactly a year ago, 3 weeks after graduation with no job and a temporary apartment. I had about a month to find a job or I was going to have to go back to Ohio and wait it out. But by the grace of God I was offered a job just about a month after I was here and everything fell into place. Obviously it was a financial investment, but it was a mental investment as well. I fell in love with NYC a few years ago and ever since then I've mentally prepared myself for that step in my life. Other things I've invested in are books! I have a huge collection of books, 90% fashion and design related, and I really enjoy learning from them and collecting them. 




  • What projects are you working on or have coming up?

    • Now that I'm typing it I'm realizing how long I've actually been saying it, butttt I'm starting on a new collection which I want to have done by fashion week this fall. I've had the sketches about 85% done and the color palette, trims and fabric picked out, but I've been sitting on it. One, because I want to make sure I still am in love with it. I have to kind of sleep on it and come back on it with a fresh eye. Two, I don't have much time or money to move forward. My work and personal life is pretty packed and my bank account is always getting reached into. But I'm hoping some of my designs will be purchased and I can use the profit to produce my new collection! I'm also getting really to work on a small project for a friends photoshoot. My best friend Jared is a photographer and wants a custom made dress for on of his shoots so I'll be making that soon! Ive never made anything for his shoots so I'm really excited because I know it'll be presented beautifully.



  • What advice can you offer to our who are hesitant to dive head first in their dreams or struggling to balance it all?

    • Just do it. For the most part I am pretty impulsive when it comes to making decisions in general, I've always been a fast decision maker and I've always learned to make myself move on from situations. But when it comes to my creativity which is really personal, (I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit), I definitely waste time second guessing myself. So I really try to just follow my gut and work up the confidence to just do whatever I'm passionate about or afraid to make a step towards cause that's the ONLY way you can grow. If you don't push yourself to take a leap of faith with your own self, your growth will always stay static.




  • How do you live beyond the clouds?

    • I really love this question! It's really hard to think about being positive and "live above the clouds" when there's so much scary and discouraging things happening under them. I've always been a really positive person, and I can say most of that comes from just being surrounded by so much love and amazing family and friends. I really am blessed and grateful for the way I've been raised and who I've been raised by. So whenever something "bad" happens to me or something in the world I'm effected and saddened by I really just have to remember all the positives in my life and realize that most things/feelings more than few are not going to last forever. Time heals all and there's always a positive way to look at things and "live beyond the clouds" because everything happens for a reason. God will never put you through anything you can not take. 




  • How can we follow/support your journey?

    • I honestly love when people get excited by my work. To me, other people being enthusiastic about my work is the simplest form of support. I would love for more people to purchase my designs of course or even borrow and outfit for an event; that's what I've currently been working towards now. I have all these designs and I want people to know about them and want them and feel good in them and create experiences in them that are unforgettable. You can follow my Instagram page @jamilamariama to see what I'm up to! And purchase my designs on my website www.jamilamariama.com.


  • What is your favorite genre of movie?

    • Action, crime and mystery! I love solving problems and I have a short attention span when watching tv so I have to be like super interested in knowing something will be come out of watching the show.














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