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Five for Friday with Chicago Fashion Designer + Production Mode Founder Jamie Hayes

Five for Friday with Chicago Fashion Designer + Production Mode Founder Jamie Hayes

Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis
1. Where do you tend to find inspiration for your work or passion projects? 
I love collaboration. I'm a very social person, and fashion is an inherently social medium-- even if a designer works in isolation, the pieces ultimately take life on other's bodies. I find so much inspiration in working with other artists and fitting and creating work for clients. The goal is to create pieces that are more than the sum of the parts and find ourselves in creative places we wouldn't necessarily go to on our own.
Photo by Carlos Moore
2. How would you describe your personal style? 
I love color, texture, pattern ... I'm a maximalist without being in your face about it.
3. Who would you say has been your biggest influence- style wise, personally, or professionally? 
I can't point to any one person- I think part of being a maximalist is being open to a variety of influences and tastes. I remember some of my mom's more fabulous and outré outfits as a little girl. A lot of her clothes from the disco era of the 70s made it into my dress-up clothes box in the 80s when I was a little girl. I wish I still had that stuff! I watched a LOT of TV when I was a kid and what sticks out is the costumes of the "Solid Gold" dancers, reruns of "Three's Company" (I thought Mrs. Roper's caftan collection was pretty fabulous), & Endora's outfits on "Bewitched".
As an adult, I've been lucky to travel a lot and to work in China, Peru, and Mexico. Since we all have to wear clothes, every culture everywhere has rich textile traditions. Whenever I travel I try to learn about those traditions. My current work reflects this love of weaving, prints, embellishment, natural dyes ... celebrating anything but crappy poly blends that dominate the fashion landscape and the landfills. My goal is to create work that is imbued with meaning and a quality of craft that transcends time and trends. But there's definitely still a touch of diva/disco flair in my work.
Photo by Carlos Moore
4. What is some professional advice you received that helped you navigate your current artistic projects + career path?
I have to thank my dear friend Damon Locks for his influence on my art practice. He gave me permission to embrace the mess. His advice was: if you're not a detail-oriented person, don't make work that has to be perfect. And beyond that, even if you are, maybe loosen up. Creativity generally doesn't flow well if you're too tight. That advice really freed me up and made the creative process more fun. I think that if you enjoy making your work, that joy is transmitted to those who experience it.
5. What is your favorite piece of jewelry?
How can I pick just one? I have a few pieces by Lindsay Lewis that I wear constantly. I have some statement pieces made of stained glass by Etta Kostick that I adore. And I love copper jewelry. I have some vintage Matisse Renoir pieces that I cherish. I love art jewelry and costume pieces. They are special not because they are made of precious metals or gems, but because of their beautiful designs--it's the hand of the designer that makes them beautiful.
Photo by Marta Sasinowska