Ai LIVE: Johnathan Hayden Designs for “STEM Women” – Fills Overlooked Demographic
In this edition of Ai LIVE, host E. Vincent Martinez speaks with NYC fashion designer, creative consultant, and textbook illustrator Johnathan Hayden. A 2012 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design graduate of The Art Institute of Dallas, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, Hayden has over 10 years of experience working in the fashion industry.
Hayden explains that he discovered his love of fashion during high school—and was mentored by a teacher who shared videos of designers and their work. Through these experiences, Hayden found that he enjoyed the subjective nature of art and fashion. “It wasn’t a foolproof A+ you could get. It was really up to you whether you’re happy with the work,” he says.
Today, Hayden has his own studio in NYC’s garment district—a bustling location where he creates and designs clothing for what he calls “STEM women.” He’s focused on filling what he sees as a gap in clothing for successful, intelligent women. “They were being overlooked in fashion,” Hayden mentions. He imagines new styles for both young women who are beginning their careers and older women who fill roles such as CTOs and lab directors.
He explains that he looks at psychographics more than demographics to reach his clients. Hayden also takes the time to get to know the types of women he’s creating for—he talks to them about subjects from art to relationships as he seeks to understand them better.
Hayden adds that his education at The Art Institute of Dallas helped him to gain the business knowledge he needed to start his own brand. He states that the school placed an emphasis on targeted research that he believes is lacking in many fashion programs. “It was very consumer driven, which is important if you want to run a business.”
He recommends that current students ask themselves if they’re truly committed to the demands of the fashion industry. “You have to really want it—it’s a 90% not-glamorous job,” he mentions, also discussing how to handle the inevitable criticism that comes with the business.
Hayden adds that it’s important to discover what you like to do—and stick to it. Whether it’s working as a patternmaker, tailor, bridal designer, or eveningwear designer, he suggests that those interested in a fashion career stay specialized and not spread themselves thin. He also discusses the personal benefits he gains by working in the industry.
“I knew I wanted to explore my creativity and push boundaries—just to cultivate pure creativity. My brand is a way for me to explore my own identity.
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