Fresh Talk: Jane AldridgeBy Jenna Fain • Nov 24th, 2008 • Category: Editor's Faves, Juicy Story, Trends
Practically every frequenter of virtual style secretly idolizes Jane Aldridge and her site, Sea Of Shoes. Well, Jane and her eclectic, worldly tastes have always intrigued and impressed us. We caught up with the lovely Texas teen for a quick chat, and now we positively adore her! Jane’s most magnetic quality is her old-worldly glamour – her universal tastes transcend age and time. We challenge you to find a person who more fiercely rocks a Kansai Yamamato jacket or Alaïa platforms at school! Jane makes Ann Demuelemeester boots look fierce with anything, scores vintage treasures on eBay better than anyone, and turns heads everywhere. The clincher? She’s only 16!
One of the fashion world’s fastest rising muses, Jane’s style is not limited to her ensembles: creative license, boldness, and grace dictate her life. She has a lot of exciting stuff in the works and her pretty face is bound to pop up all over the place. So we proclaim it first: Jane Aldridge is officially 2009’s It Girl – and thankfully, she’s here to stay!
TSM: You come from such an artistically experimental, imaginative, and vibrant family. What was your childhood like and how did it nurture your love of shoes?
JA: My parents have always stressed the importance of art to my sister and I. I spent a lot of time as a baby in my mom’s office for her clothing line - I started learning about fashion very early! When I was four I was really obsessed with Picasso, so my aunt (who is an artist) painted a mini replica of one of my favorite Picassos on my wall. We also traveled a lot!
How has growing up in Texas affected your evolving style?
Living in a small, conservative, white-bread town, I exist very much in a little isolated bubble. In some ways I kind of like being so far removed from ‘the world of fashion’ because I have to be resourceful and creative to make my own fantasy fashion world. Texas seems to produce a lot of eccentric figures who are just really happy doing their own thing; I find people like this really inspiring.
We hear that your mom, Judy Aldridge, is a designer. Tell us about what you’ve learned from her and about her upcoming revival line, Atlantis Dry Goods.
My mom took time off to raise my sister and I, but she felt that the marketplace was ready to reintroduce a line like Atlantis again. It’s sort of a classic, Victoriana style but it feels very relevant right now. She hopes to launch it soon. In the meantime, I am learning a lot about running a business and production.
You always look like you strutted out of a perfectly styled Vogue editorial! Though you wear a uniform, how do the kids at school react when you sport an avant-garde Comme des Garçons piece?
My friends find my outfits very amusing. When I wore a dramatic transparent Comme des Garçons skirt to school, my friends wanted to try it on. I’m kind of used to people staring at me like I’m from another planet when I go out, it doesn’t faze me at all.
You’ve got pieces hanging in your closet from Japan’s foremost past and contemporary designers like Kansai Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, and Yohji Yamamoto. What aspects of Japanese fashion pique your interest? Have you ever been?
Japanese designers have an aesthetic that is so far removed from fashion anywhere else in the world. A huge part of their aesthetic is deconstruction and decay; I love the juxtaposition against the super-modern background of Tokyo. I Iike how they objectively appreciate Western staples, like Levi’s and cowboy boots. Sometimes Western fashion gets so hung up on being sexy. Japanese fashion is often infantilized, but at the same time it’s so directional. I went to Tokyo three years ago and I would give anything to go back. My mom lived there for two years in the early ‘80s and that must have been the most amazing experience anyone could ask for. I hope I can live in Tokyo too sometime during my life.
Let’s say ten years from now, you’re at the helm of your own shoe line. What styles would headline the brand and what kind of statements would want to make?
I would make shoes that are extremely directional and design shoes for strong women who are confident in their own style. It is a dream of mine to design shoes someday…
We’ve got to ask - any ideas for your prom dress? What’s on and off the drawing board?
The school I go to is so small, I’m not even sure we’ll have a prom! If we do, I’m definitely going to wear vintage. If I find a totally whacky vintage Zandra Rhodes dress then I would totally crash someone else’s prom to wear it.
Three people, dead or alive, to dinner - who would you choose and why?
1) Plato - Duh!
2) Vivienne Westwood - I read a snippet in a magazine of her thoughts on informed consumerism and she said it’s important to decide what you do and do not like. It has stuck with me in a big way.
3) Haruki Murakami - He is one of my favorite authors.
BOOM - you win $10,000. What would be your triumphant purchases at Barneys?
Well, I definitely wouldn’t run to Barneys! I’d probably set it aside and wait for the perfect clothes to come to me - some things are like that; when you find them you have to have them regardless of their price!
Your avant-garde ensembles often have an architectural quality to them. Who are your favorite artists?
Egon Schiele is my favorite artist - de Kooning, Basquiat, and Yoshitomo Nara too. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Zaha Hadid are my favorite architects. I also love American folk art and can’t wait to go to the famous folk art museum in New York next week.
You mentioned that your site gets over 10,000 daily hits. What are some of the coolest opportunities you’ve scored due to Sea of Shoes? Have any major fashion people approached you? What are the perks?
Now it’s more than twice that figure, it’s incredible how my hits shoot up! I have some pretty awesome things in the works but nothing I can talk about just now - you’ll be hearing from me soon! I’ve been in love with Kill City’s jeans and recently, someone in their design department sent me a huge box of their newest washes - the jeans are so awesome and I can’t wait to wear them! I’ve also been lucky enough to receive some beautiful Czarina Villa clothing - she is a very talented young designer from Manila.
Are you on the hunt for any summer internships? Self-promotion, Jane!
I’d definitely be interested in scoring a great internship for the summer, but I want to travel a lot, too. Like I said, I can’t wait to get back to Tokyo.
What’s in the works next for Jane Aldridge?
Studying for a very hard biology test.
Visit Jane’s fabulous site, www.seaofshoes.com