The fashion industry is a funny thing. Simply based on the definition of fashion (popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior) it indicates the temporary and the surface. How does one have a sense of self and longevity in shifting sands? How can you find roots when the ground is moving? In a quiet corner of busy New York City I was able to sit down with the lovely Jacquelyn Jablonski and find out how she’s grown up in the industry, adapted, and managed to still find a way to ground herself.
* This is an interview extract. Find out the full version in the Spring Summer 2019 Issue 2 *
There seems to be something really protected or smart about your career you haven't had any huge financial disasters or scary accidental things that other girls I know have had because your family helped and protected you when you were super young.
I just think, starting at 18 years old full time helped and just trying to be smart about it. To have a normal childhood, go to school, go to prom, be in a soccer team and everything. I really think I was in a better place to be approaching clients at 18 years old than when I was at 16. For travelling the world and with financial things, again my family was always, be smart, invest in a home which was huge for me and that for me was the biggest accomplishment 'wow! I finally I did it!' But I got it because I was smart and I not foolish along the way.
I remember I hardly said no to a job, I just wanted them all and kept going and going. And there were moments like flying back to New York from London and turning on my phone, and getting an email that said, you need to go to London tonight. I started to cry but I was also happy, it was a weird moment but I just wanted all the jobs. When I got home, I ate some food and got back on the plane, I just kept going and I was thankful for every moment. But it's crazy and I feel lucky to have those experiences and to work with some incredible people from all around the world. Even if I didn't go to college, I learnt so much from my travels and from these amazing people that I was working with.
Zip front leather dress by Victoria, Victoria Beckham.
Can you tell us how you got involved with your charitable work for autism?
My brother Tommy was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 on the severe end of the spectrum which is why I wanted to get involved in the autism community. When I first moved to the city, I started to attend events for Autism Speaks. I knew I wanted to help but didn’t know how. Finally, I met a great group of people at the foundation and they encouraged me to put together my first fundraising event. I fostered this relationship and held events with the foundation for 3 years. As I became more involved, I began to notice the lack of attention adults on the autism spectrum received. I started to research programs and job opportunities for when they graduate and was not impressed with what I found. I was watching my brother himself approach adulthood and my parents struggling to figure out what was next for this chapter of his life. Autism does not end at the age of 21; it is a lifelong condition. This is when I decided to launch Autism Tomorrow.
I had help again from my New York family, Mazdack Rassi from Milk Studios who has been a huge support from the beginning. My agency and some great people I have met from the autism community as well helped me to get started. It's great, I am actually excited for the next round as we are starting to support small businesses. Our first one was to support transition programs to help these adults when they graduate from their school and help their transition to adulthood and learn the skills to get a job, maybe meet friends and go out in the community.
Autism Tomorrow strives to make more opportunities available for adults with autism; the opportunity to find a job, the opportunity to achieve independent living, and the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in an inclusive and supportive society.
To talk more about Autism Tomorrow... I feel it is probably one of your proudest achievements. What is the mission and what are you up to next?
Autism Tomorrow strives to make more opportunities available for adults with autism; the opportunity to find a job, the opportunity to achieve independent living, and the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in an inclusive and supportive society. Our first event supported programs that help these adults transition into adulthood. The second event helped raise funds to support small businesses hiring adults with autism which we are currently selecting now.
What is super interesting is the idea of encouraging businesses to actually help the community for a mutual benefit. They can provide jobs for these individuals on the autism spectrum and they also benefit from that experience, and this way having them be a part of the community I think is amazing.
We had the idea to eventually develop a training guide for businesses to follow for hiring and working with someone on the spectrum. Just because they may not give you perfect eye contact in the meeting does not mean they aren’t capable of doing the job. I’ve actually been reading about more companies changing their interviewing approach for this very reason.
Silk dress by Ralph & Russo.
And then with social media. How is your job right now different to when you were young? How do you approach your work and your career?
I am still thankful for every moment. I still wake up and feel so lucky to get to work with such talented people. It is great to have more time now to work on my charity and other future projects.
Support and make your donation to Austism Tomorrow
Read Jacquelyn's Interview at Spring Summer 2019 - Issue 2. Get your copy here.
Makeup by Naomi Nakamura using MAC Cosmetics.
Hair by Cher Savery using Aveda and Cloud 9 Products.
Crystal embellished sleeve dress by David Koma. Earrings by Maria Black.
Puffed sleeve satin and crepe mini dress by David Koma. Shoes by Yuul Yie.
Blazer jacket and trousers by Joseph. Earrings by Maria Black.
White leather coat by Ermanno Scervino. Trousers by David Koma. Top by COS. Shoes by Lanvin.
Leather strapless dress by Lanvin. Leather shirt by Joseph.