Within the fashion world, she’s known as influential, daring, bold and creative. She has worked with big names such as: Dawn Richard, Usher, and Stacey Dash, to name a few. Ja’Niya Walker obtained her Fashion Design degree from the Institute of Seattle where she learned to perfect her craft and pull influences to help mold her high fashion, with an edgy twist, style. This year, she’s been listed as one of LA’s “Top Most 25 Influential Fashion Stylists” and continues to create groundbreaking and breathtaking visual masterpieces. Ja’Niya was kind enough to answer some questions and share some background on her journey thus far. Check out what she has to say:
What or who are some of your biggest influences?
Some of my biggest influences come from fashion history. Every great person of influence to me is from another decade. One of my absolute favorites is Audrey Hepburn.
How did you first break into the fashion industry?
I started in the fashion industry to become a fashion designer. During fashion school, I did a little bit of modeling and through that, I discovered how much I enjoyed putting together the ensembles from various collections rather than making them piece by piece.
What is the best piece of advice you can off other fashionistas?
Follow your heart and feed your passion. You must truly learn and study your craft to find true success, there are no shortcuts. Don’t listen to people’s advice on ‘faking it till you make it’ take the time to learn, and grow – as being a person of integrity is far more important than looking like a person that has it all together and actually doesn’t know a thing about the business.
What are some of the downfalls that you’ve experienced?
As for downfall experienced, I’m not sure I would call them downfalls. However, I would definitely call them lessons. You learn how much you are willing to sacrifice, and you give a lot sometimes to get very little, sometimes that’s the nature of the business. If you are feeding your vision, and reaching your goals that’s all that matters. I don’t believe in judging a circumstance as good or bad, but rather look at it as an opportunity to grow or change some things.
You’ve worked with some big names; how did you create those opportunities for yourself?
As long as you work hard, like truly passionately hard at what you do, eventually the opportunities find you. Yes, you’ve got to put yourself out there and not be afraid to shake hands, and talk about your line of work, but you also have to have the courage to take the risks that may be necessary to brand yourself. Be brave and don’t listen to the criticisms of others, just do what you know best, push yourself to learn new skills, and exercise the ones you have and I promise, things will come together.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next few years?
I always believe the sky’s the limit. In the next few years I would love to style runway shows for New York or London Fashion Week. One of my biggest career goals is to become a contributing fashion editor for a major Conde Nast publication either here in the US or Europe. Eventually, I want to launch an international accessory brand and be a part of some kind of partnership. I’ve learned in launching my jewelry brand VII VICTORY two years ago this fall, that it truly takes a team to build a profitable fashion or jewelry line.
What keeps you driven on the hard days?
When I think about how far I’ve come, that’s the fuel that keeps the fire going. It’s important to evaluate your progress from time to time. In that, I like to reflect on my growth as a whole, and that’s the underlying inspiration that pushes me to work even harder.
What’s one funny/quirky thing people may not know about you?
I am queen at impersonations. This is something I practiced as a kid and became really great at. My sense of humor is very random. Growing up, one of my most favorite past times was watching “In Living Color (The Wayne’s)” and practicing the skits with my sister’s, to nail their voices and impersonations, I had so much fun with it, and love making people laugh, plus I got very good at it, so it’s something that stayed with me.
To all of my fashion forward gents and gals out there, be sure to follow Ja’Niya Walker’s story. As she stresses, be persistent, follow your dreams and learn everything you can about the business. Here are some shots from Ja’Niya’s site that were some of my favorites!