Style + Life + Fashion had the opportunity to interview the owner and designer of Shalaja Swimwear. Located in Montgomery, Alabama, Shaquoya Jackson decided to stop searching for the ‘sexy, flirty yet sophisticated’ swimwear she desired and create it herself.
1. When did you realize you wanted to become a swimwear designer?
Well I have always loved fashion, modeling, and entertainment, and I always wanted to be a commercial model and be involved in the entertainment industry (Hosting or interviewing.)
I realized I wanted to become a designer in 2011 after I prayed to God to show me my purpose in life. When he showed me my purpose thats when it became my passion!
2. How long does it usually take to construct a swimsuit? And what’s your favorite piece from the collection?
To actually create a sketch design only takes about 5-15 mins depending on if I already have an idea in mind. Sometimes I sketch images that I’ve pictured in my mind and sometimes I sketch and design as I go. To get the swimsuit made takes around 2 1/2 weeks. I have a few favorite pieces from the collection so this will be hard! I guess I would have to say Black Chic Monokini is my favorite because black looks nice on everyone, and the high fashion look/design plus the mesh cut outs makes me feel sexy!
3. What was the first article of clothing you ever designed? What’s your inspiration?
My first article of clothing I ever designed was probably a skirt and top when I was in middle school. My first designed piece that was made was a swimsuit. My inspiration for my designs are everything that I like. If I see a print that I like on anything it may inspire me to use those colors or print. If I see a beautiful piece of clothing item it may inspire me to design a swimsuit a certain way. If I see a funky hairstyle it may inspire me to create a wild and crazy piece that would coordinate with the style. What inspires me in life is the fact that I am surrounded by striving, successful, and supportive people who works to achieve the best out of life and I want to do the same!
4. What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
Actually just making it to the point where I am now is an accomplishment for me. I started a business completely on my own; researching and gaining all of the knowledge that I can to make all of this happen! I was involved in Miami International Fashion Week 2013 as well as Alabama Fashion Week 2013. I will be showcasing new pieces in Hollywood, Ca for Facet Fashion Week 2014. I have been featured in Epok Online Magazine, and Life on The Water Magazine which is sold in barnes and nobles, yachts, etc. I have also had the opportunity to supply my alumni school, ASU, with suits for ballet dancers and their performance.
5. Who are some of your favorite clothing brands?
I don’t have a favorite clothing brand. I wear everything and anything that I like. I mainly shop online at various stores, but I do love Versace and the luxurious prints used for their clothing.
6. What’s in the future for ShaLaJa Swimwear?
In the future ShaLaJa Swimwear will have a men’s line, kids line, exotic wear, beach lounge, and cover ups.
About Shalaja Swimwear:
The collections feature different ranges of pieces in an array of prints, styles, textures, colors and embellishments – from simple to space age, and everything in between. All collection highlights include creative monokinis, twisted two-pieces and one-pieces that cinch your figure into svelte mode. Future plans for ShaLaJa’ include exotic wear, beach wraps, lounge wear, hats, t-shirts and a children’s line.
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